Restraining Orders Lifted on Plant Legal Action Continues
By JORDAN MOSS
Call it musical restraining orders.
At different points over the last six weeks, two different lawsuits fighting the cityís plan to build a water filtration plant in Van Cortlandt Park succeeded in stays being issued to prevent work on the project.
And while the groups filing the suits still have some cards to play, right now there is nothing to prevent the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from doing preliminary archeological evaluation work at the site.
On Oct. 18, a panel of Brooklyn appellate judges lifted a temporary restraining order obtained by the Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition (CWCWC) in an earlier ruling by one of the judges from the panel. The CWCWC has filed papers seeking a preliminary injunction in Queens Supreme Court. The court may consider that action as early as next week.
The Friends also succeeded in getting a restraining order by a Manhattan judge only to have it lifted later.
But the group is now seeking a preliminary injunction from the same judge, William Wetzel, who will make a decision on the matter on Nov. 4.
The Friends believe the city has not followed proper zoning procedures in siting an industrial facility in public parkland. And the CWCWC maintains that the city has not explored more modern filtration technology that could make the plant much smaller. The group also argues that several documents referenced in the DEPís environmental study on the project have not been made available to the public.
Two more lawsuits may still be filed. A group of local residents working with the Environmental Law Clinic at Columbia University may file an action based on environmental justice statutes. And the town of Eastchester has said it will sue the city because building the plant in the Bronx will mean it will have to build an expensive filtration facility for its relatively small population.