Vol. 18, No. 2 Jan. 27 - Feb. 9, 2005


Judge Halts Filter Plant Work in Park


Queens Supreme Court Justice Marguerite Grays ordered the city Tuesday to stop construction work on the filtration plant in Van Cortlandt Park until she made a final decision in the matter of whether the filtration plant could go forward.
Bronx Environmental Health and Justice (BEHJ) brought the suit, charging the city failed to conduct the proper environmental reviews before choosing the park site. The organization, which is being represented by the Columbia University Environmental Law Clinic, argues that the city’s study minimized the impact in the largely minority community of Norwood in order to avoid building the plant in the more remote, industrial Eastview site that the city owns in Westchester.
“We want her to rule that the EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] was inadequate, that the construction should be stopped and [that the city] has to do an adequate EIS,” said Edward Lloyd, who directs the Columbia clinic.
Grays had originally issued a temporary restraining order on Jan. 12, but city officials said they could go ahead with the work while they appealed. But a week later the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division ruled in BEHJ’s favor and told the city to stop work until the case was decided by Grays.
“The wheels of justice will turn and we’ll await the outcome,” said Charles Sturcken, a DEP spokesman.
Lloyd said the judge said she would try to rule on the case as soon as possible.

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