New York

Residents of LES and Chinatown sue to stop new towers on two bridges, citing new NY constitutional right to clean air

Use New York’s new constitutional right to clean air, water and a healthy environment to stop construction on three towers in the Two Bridges neighborhood of lower Manhattan legal crimes are on the rise.

On Friday, City Councilman Christopher Marte (D-Manhattan), the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side, and other neighbors gave the New York Supreme Court a nomination for the city and the four buildings responsible for building the Two Bridge Tower. I filed a lawsuit against a real estate developer. , multisite development work.

Bethany Lee, legal director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Foundation, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of community groups, said many people living in the region are medically vulnerable to air pollution, especially after 9/11. said it is.

“Some of the residents we represent as plaintiffs have been there since then and continue to experience real respiratory illnesses and illnesses,” Li said. The impact was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic post-9/11, after which adding these giant 60’s, 80-story towers to the neighborhood would really be a knockout punch to the neighborhood. prize.”

The lawsuit alleges that the construction of three buildings, ranging from 60 to 80 stories, will exacerbate the environmental and health burdens already faced by the neighborhood and will contribute to the clean air and healthy environment mandated by the New York State Constitution. alleging that it violates residents’ newly established rights to ballot proposal The New Yorker approved it last November.

The new constitutional rights created by the Green Amendment have not yet been tested in practice.

Legal Department spokesperson Nicolas Paolucci said: Once served, we will review and respond to your case. ”

Plaintiffs are asking the city to update its environmental impact statement for projects completed in 2018 to take into account the impact of the pandemic.

Such statements are required under state law for major development projects and detail the myriad projected impacts on neighborhood lighting, traffic, school attendance, and more. Opponents of the community often go to court to challenge EIS paperwork as flawed in its attempts to thwart development plans.

Now the new state’s constitutional right is ammunition that local groups can bring into battle.

The new lawsuit is the first time the so-called Green Amendment has been used to try to block a planned New York City development.

2 lawsuits A document filed earlier this year cites a constitutional amendment as New York City argues that the landfills it sends some of its garbage to violates its right to clean air and a healthy environment. .

Marte, a member of the local council, said he was ready to test drive the Green Amendment.

“I’m thrilled to be filing this lawsuit,” he told THE CITY. voted for stronger protections on clean air in the last New York state ballot.

“There is already a lot of climate injustice and racism in the region regarding what is being developed, what is buried and what is rehabilitated.”

“blood cough”

According to the NYU Furman Center neighborhood profile In the Lower East Side/Chinatown, most of Manhattan Community Board 3, 66% of residents are people of color and nearly 28% of households make less than $20,000 a year. The median household income is $43,400, 40% less than the city average of $72,930.

“I think it’s going to take a lot of time to really unwind the years of environmental racism that’s affected our neighbors, and this is part of it,” Lee said.

“I have lung damage that I was coughing with blood after the World Trade Center,” said 61-year-old doorman and local resident Antonio Quay Lin, referring to 9/11. I’ve been plagued by this cough for nearly 20 years and if they dig up all this stuff they’re, you know, they’re supposed to take protective measures, but they don’t take protective measures. There is a lot to be done to prevent throwing stuff into the air and throwing asbestos back into the air.”

“Victims of NIMBYism”

Kate Kurera, deputy director of Environmental Advocates NY, a non-litigation nonprofit, said: [and] I need to test the contours what this means. ”

Stuart Seer, spokesman for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Foundation, said the lawsuit will open new legal channels for NIMBY or “Not in My Back Yard” officials across the city to block new developments. In response to concerns it could create, it said it was a misunderstanding.term.

The spirit of NIMBYism is, “Don’t do this to us, do this to someone else,” Sia said. “The predominantly Asian, Black and Latino communities of LES and Chinatown have fallen victim to NIMBYism. This is where no development takes place. [isn’t] As much as it is about correcting the decades of historical environmental racism that the region has faced, so is NIMBYism. That is the lawsuit. ” Residents of LES and Chinatown sue to stop new towers on two bridges, citing new NY constitutional right to clean air

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