November 21, 2002


The United States Magistrate Judge Randolph F. Treece, Federal District Court, Northern District, has ordered a stay and an injunction against proceeding forward with the I-84/Drury Lane highway project.  In response to a motion filed by SPARC and co-plaintiffs Orange County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, and the Sierra Club, Judge Treece has "Ordered that Plaintiffs' [SPARC, et al] motion for a stay of the Court's September 30, 2002 judgment and for an injunction pending an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is GRANTED"

Judge Treece continued, "Defendants [NYS DOT, et al] are enjoined from proceeding with construction, destruction or any further development regarding the I-84 and I-87 interchanges and Stewart Airport pending a decision on the appeal".

The Judge also ruled against the defendants' assertion that a bond must be posted, and their argument that delaying construction could cause the lowest bidder to withdraw his bid, and result in loss of savings to the State of up to $15 million. The judge pointed out that NYS Dept. of Transportation advertised for bids last August 2002 and held the bid opening on September 12, 2002, prior to the Court decision on September 30, 2002.  Judge Treece concluded, "Since Defendants began the bidding process while litigation was ongoing, any injury incurred by the State was at its own doing.  Thus, any injury to Defendants will not result from a stay, but from the State's hastiness."

SPARC President Sandra Kissam, reacting to the court's decision, said, "We are thrilled that Judge Treece has stopped construction pending our appeal, to be handled by Orange County attorney Michael Sussman.  The Interchange project would have serious negative impacts since it would spur the development of countless acres of precious open space enjoyed by thousands of citizens.  SPARC and Co-Plaintiffs want these irreplaceable lands to remain untouched as we go for a 'second opinion'.  We applaud the judge for protecting the land as we do this",

SPARC, a coalition of environmental, sportsmen's and civic organizations, has been working to protect the Stewart Buffer Lands since 1987.  These lands were taken under eminent domain in 1971.  They should be used for public benefit, not for private profit.  To do otherwise would be immoral.

Contact: Sandra Kissam, SPARC   845-564-3018