On Wednesday, July 30, 2008, Ezra B. Glaser, an attorney with offices in the Bronx appeared before Justice Betty Owen Stinson seeking an Order to Show Cause for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)’s proposal to blast in and around the Jerome Park Reservoir. The Judge granted the TRO on the blasting issue.
“Our arguments were compelling,” stated Mr. Glaser, “The community groups would be harmed greater in the balance of equity then the DEP”. When the City claimed that “we’re not starting blasting August 1st” Justice Stinson replied, “Guess then you would not be harmed.” The FSEIS stated on page 184 of Section 8.2, submitted as one of the Exhibits: “There would be no surface drilling or blasting in relation to work at the Reservoir.”
Various borough wide, local groups and persons joined in: THE BRONX COUNCIL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY (BCEQ) and IRA CHARLES LEVENBERG, both individually and in his official capacity as BCEQ President, THE FORT INDEPENDENCE PARK NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION and PHILIP MCDONNELL, both individually and in his official capacity as President of THE FORT INDEPENDENCE PARK NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, ASSEMBLY MEMBER JEFFREY DINOWITZ, both individually and in his official capacity, COUNCIL MEMBER G. OLIVER KOPPELL, both individually and in his official capacity, MARIO BENITEZ, ANTHONY PEREZ CASSINO, FRANCIS A. CHAPMAN, MICHAEL GARY, FATHER RICHARD GORMAN, SONIA LAPPIN, DAMIAN MCSHANE, MORRIS PALEVSKY, SAUL SCHEINBACH, LYNN SCHWARZ, and CAROLYN SMITH.
Each of these people or groups expressed concerns about the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) blasting at the Jerome Park Reservoir, carting materials in and out of Jerome Park Reservoir in association with such blasting, and other types of relief regarding proposed work at Jerome Park Reservoir without the submission of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or a proper building permit issued by the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB).
The Bronx Council of Environmental Quality is a borough wide environmental organization formed in 1971, and the Fort Independence Park Neighborhood Association is a local neighborhood organization whose membership primarily live in the community that surrounds the Jerome Park Reservoir; both have been engaged in the effort to protect and preserve community life and minimize disruption around the Jerome Park Reservoir for several years. Local Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz petition raises the 15-year struggle with the DEP and their lack of candor to the community. G. Oliver Koppell is the local Council Member, whose involvement with the DEP project at Van Cortlandt Park and Jerome Park Reservoir includes his service as the New York State Attorney General, Council Member and Assembly Member. He comments in detail within his Verified Petition about his involvement with the passage of the SEQRA law, and the intention of the Assembly regarding the submission of an EIS by the involved agency.
Damian McShane and Father Richard Gorman are the Chairpersons of Community Boards 8 and 12 respectively. Each of the Community Boards have passed resolutions requesting the submission of an EIS by the DEP before blasting at Jerome Park Reservoir begins. Anthony Perez Cassino is the former Chairperson of Community Board 8 and Saul Scheinbeck is the Environmental Committee Chairperson of said Community Board.
Frances Al Chapman heads up the Kingsbridge Heights Neighborhood Improvement Association; and Philip McDonnell is President, and Lynn Schwarz is Vice President of the Fort Independence Park Neighborhood Association. Mario Benitez, Michael Gary, and Morris Palevsky live in Amalgamated Houses. Sonia Lappin from Scott Tower and Carolyn Smith from Tracey Towers live just one small block away from the potential site where the DEP plans to blast.
THE BRONX COUNCIL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY (BCEQ), et. al v. THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION (DEP), et. al, (Index # 260287 of 2008) will be heard on September 3, 2008.
Here is the City’s arguments opposing the TRO (Acrobat Reader Required)