FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7, 2006
Contact: Frances Tejada, President of SaveOurParks! – 646-260-6713
Joyce Hogi – Media committee – 917-743-0865
Karen Argenti (BCEQ) 646-529-1990
SAVE OUR PARKS GOES TO FEDERAL COURT: NPS DID NOT TAKE REQUIRED HARD LOOK AT ALTERNATIVES
Today Save Our Parks filed a suit in Federal Court to challenge the National Parks Service superficial review and fast approval to use a community park to build a new stadium. Save Our Parks HYPERLINK "http://www.saveourparks.info" www.saveourparks.info is a local community group formed to join together residents who live in and around the Yankee Stadium area of the Bronx in order to protect their inalienable rights to clean air, clean water, as well as appropriate levels of traffic, light and noise,
Even though the plan -- to build a new Yankee Stadium that would destroy two parks, hundreds of trees and Yankee Stadium itself -- was announced on June 15, 2005, the National Park Service staff was involved long before that time. According to the city, all approvals, including the ‘final’ federal approvals were issued by mid-July 2006 in what is described by many as an expedited process. Construction crews took over the site in mid-August before providing the replacement recreational facilities promised. Hidden information is now starting to be revealed as the result of Freedom of Information requests.
“This is not a NIMBY argument. To allow this process to continue unabated casts a threatening precedent which will harm not only our neighborhood, but others throughout the city,” stated J.J. Brennan of Save Our Parks. “This decision was made hastily without adequate public review, did not examine all the alternatives as required by law, and made assumptions that were just ridiculous.”
The National Park Service did not consider practical alternatives, such as reconstructing and enlarging the stadium on the current site; they failed to establish equivalent fair market value of the replacement properties by means of a federal type appraisal; they did not evaluate a reasonably equivalent usefulness and location of the plan that was finally adopted, and that a delay in providing the substituted properties would have no effect on the determination. In the final analysis, the National Park Service failed to explain the eligibility requirements of the Land and Wildlife Conservation Fund program (LWCF) for the properties proposed for substitution. There is no discussion of any of these criterion in the City’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).
Bronx Council for Environmental Quality (BCEQ), a 501c.3 organization founded in 1971, agreed to join as plaintiffs. BCEQ statement of purpose “seeks to establish — as an Inherent Human Right — a sound, forward-looking environmental policy regarding an aesthetic, unpolluted, environment protecting a natural and historic heritage.” BCEQ is a county-wide group of volunteers working for all Bronxites. “The Department of Building permits were not posted adequately, and the Art Commission had not approved the design, but the Yankees saw fit to take away the community’s park in the middle of the summer for some unknown reason,” stated Karen Argenti of BCEQ, “You don’t have to live in the community to feel cheated and be disheartened.”
SAVE OUR PARKS:
saveourparks.blogspot.com and www.saveourparks.info
BRONX COUNCIL for ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY: