Action taken to discourage further attempts to raid funds, and ensure due public process for future projects
NEW YORK – October 28, 2014 – Riverkeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance and Environmental Advocates of New York have filed a lawsuit against New York State officials, seeking to ensure that urgently needed federal Clean Water Act funds will not be illegally used to fund the new Tappan Zee Bridge construction project or for other ineligible projects in the future.
The suit was filed in State Supreme Court in Albany County by Pace Law School’s Environmental Litigation Clinic, representing the groups. It names New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Environmental Facilities Corporation, Thruway Authority and Public Authorities Control Board, as well as approximately eighteen individuals in their capacities as board members and executives of these agencies.
The lawsuit seeks to invalidate New York State’s proposal to apply $511 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) for bridge construction projects that include dredging, pile driving and demolition. Governor Cuomo rushed his plan through with virtually no oversight from the public and no green light from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which provides most of this funding to the states in the form of annual capitalization grants. In a September 16, 2014 letter, EPA rejected the vast majority of this loan – $482 million of the total. The legal action seeks a court order that will enforce EPA’s decision and discourage any further attempt to divert clean water funds for improper purposes.