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Dear Friends, Members, Supporters of SPARC:
The following two articles appeared as a result of our press conference yesterday.  There is also a very nice article in the business section of the Middletown 'Times Herald Record. 
    We were so pleased that Ann Botshon, noted environmental activist and executive board member of Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club, as well as Rudy Vallet, Vice President of SPARC and Secretary of the Orange County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, both spoke at the press conference. 
    We were very fortunate that attorney Michael Sussman (who successfully represented the organization Orange Environment, in their suit to prevent the O.C. Landfill expansion) was present at the press conference and spoke about the legal issues.  We also were very proud to read a supporting comment from David Gordon, senior attorney with the organization Riverkeeper.
    We were covered on Cable 6 news as well, last night (Friday).
For your information, Sandra Kissam and possibly others, will be interviewed on the Vassar College radio station this Monday evening, October 28th.  Chris Ruhe's program 'Planet Blue' runs from 5:30 to 7:00 PM Mondays.  The call letters are WVKR at 91.3 FM.
Sincere thanks to Ann Botshon, Rudy Vallet, David Gordon, Michael Sussman, and all the media and supporters of SPARC and the Lands, that came to Friday morning's press conference.  Sincere thanks, of course, to our attorney John Caffry and his associate Antigone Anderson, who have labored so hard to fight for the right!

Saturday, October 26, 2002

Groups: Halt road at Stewart

Coalition seeks court injunction
By Craig Wolf
Poughkeepsie Journal

NEW WINDSOR -- An environmental coalition has asked for a court stay and injunction to stop the state from building a $42 million road into Stewart International Airport.

Stewart Park and Reserve Coalition, joined by the Sierra Club and the Orange County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, said Friday that their attorney had also given notice of appeal to the federal District Court in Albany that ruled against them Sept. 30.

SPARC sought the injunction because such a motion can get a court hearing far faster than an appeal process will. But it could not be learned Friday when such a date might fall.

Meanwhile, the state Thruway Authority and Department of Transportation, victorious in the court's ruling, are on the verge of awarding a contract to build the project. It will create an intersection on Interstate 84 west of the airport and a four-lane highway down Drury Lane, swinging back east into the airport.

'Ready to move forward'

DOT spokeswoman Melissa Carlson said she had not heard of the moves to overturn the ruling. ''We were pleased with the decision and we're ready to move forward,'' she said.

SPARC President Sandra Kissam rejected the decision and told supporters and reporters, ''This morning we wish to mount an effort to right this wrong.''

Disagreements with U.S. Magistrate Judge Randolph Treece's ruling include his finding that there was no segmentation of the environmental review the state conducted and which the federal Department of Transportation approved.

Kissam said the ruling did not take fully into account the cumulative impacts of various Stewart development projects.

State and federal laws require such reviews. State officials have said they were proper and Treece agreed.

Kissam said the ''argument we consider most significant'' is the existing use of the ''buffer lands'' west of Stewart for recreation and natural habitat. She cited federal law that allows roads to impact publicly owned land that is a park or recreation area only if there is no prudent alternative.

Treece ruled the buffer lands were not ''designated'' for those purposes, even though managed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

''And this is the crux of the matter: Is a formal designation required?'' Kissam said.

James Wright, chairman of the Stewart Airport Commission, said, ''The people that are going to be hurt by this are the traveling public.''

Copyright © 2002, Poughkeepsie Journal.
Saturday, October 26, 2002

Mid-Hudson News Network

Drury lane opponents back in court
The Stewart Park and Reserve Coalition and its co-plaintiffs Orange County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and Sierra Club, Friday announced that it was appealing a federal court’s decision, which paved the way for construction of the Drury Lane/I-84 interchange into Stewart Airport.

In a lawsuit filed by the groups in U.S. Appellate Court in Manhattan, they are challenging the lower court’s September 30, 2002 dismissal of their lawsuit, contending the defendants violated federal transportation law for the determination that the Stewart Properties and Crestview Lake were not entitled to protection under the law. “This morning, we wish to mount an effort to right this wrong,” said SPARC President Sandra Kissam.

The filing quotes from transportation law, “The Secretary (of Transportation) may approve a transportation… project … requiring the use of publicly owned land of a public park, recreation area, or wildlife and waterfowl refuge of national, State or local significance … only if… there is no prudent and feasible alternative to using that land; and the… project includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the park, recreation area, wildlife and waterfowl refuge…”

The court papers state the issue is “whether any or all of the Stewart Buffer Lands or the Crestview Lake Property were designated or administered as a public park, recreational area or wildlife and waterfowl refuge.” The state owns the land in question.

Kissam yesterday said their argument is that “there is widespread and important recreational use of this natural resource in rapidly-growing Orange County and the mid Hudson region, that this is a free and publicly-owned facility, providing critical wildlife habitat as well as a noise and safety buffer for a growing airport.”

SPARC’s attorney, who has handled the case until now, John Caffry of Glens Falls, filed the new court papers; however, Kissam said that Goshen attorney Michael Sussman will take over the appeal case, preparing and filing the papers in the federal Appellate Court in New York City.

Bill Gorton of Region 8 of the state Department of Transportation had no comment on t he new case. “We haven’t seen anything yet.”

The suit will be against Rodney Slater, U.S. Secretary of Transportation; U.S. Department of Transportation; Kenneth Wykle as administrator of the Federal Highway Administration; Harold Brown as New York Division administrator of the Federal Highway Administration; Louis Tomson as chairman of the New York State Thruway Authority; Joseph Boardman as commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation; and the New York State Department of Transportation.

Local News Story
Copyright © 2002 Mid-Hudson News Network.
This story may not be reproduced in any form without express written consent

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