The New York Power Authority can move ahead with construction on a Long Island City power plant until late June or early July, a Brooklyn appellate court has ruled, meaning the two generators might begin operating by NYPAs self-imposed June 1 deadline.
The decision reverses a stop-work order issued by Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph Golia last week, which was to have forced construction to immediately cease at the Vernon Boulevard site.
The panel of Brooklyn judges, which plans to hear NYPAs appeal of Golias decision on June 28, issued a stay on Golias order until they reach a decision on the case.
NYPA insists the two Long Island City generators and eight others around the city must be on-line by June 1 to stave off a power crisis this summer, and representatives of the state agency said the Brooklyn decision makes it likely they will reach that goal.
The ruling ensures that the urgently needed capacity, meaning electricity, will be there for all New Yorkers by June, said NYPA spokesman Joe Leary.
Golia ruled against NYPA on April 4 in a suit brought by Silvercup Studios and a coalition of public officials who claimed the Power Authority failed to involve the community and conduct an adequate environmental review in its rush to put the generators on-line by June 1.
Silvercup Studios also contends the generators would impede its efforts to expand its studios onto property adjacent to the power plant. Studio officials have threatened to move out of the state if a compromise is not reached.
We fully expected the court to allow them to continue construction, said Silvercup President Stuart Suna. However, were very confident the appellate court will uphold Judge Golias decision and the legal and right decision that NYPA broke the law.
According to Golias April 4 decision, NYPA would have to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and conduct its environmental review process in an open and deliberate manner before moving forward with construction. In its haste to put the generators in place by June 1, Golia found, the Power Authority failed to take a hard look at the possible environmental impact of the two generators.
NYPA and Silvercup officials have spent nearly two months trying to reach a settlement in the case, which would likely result in the generators being moved from their current site after about three years.
Keyspan Chief Executive Officer Robert Catell made the possibility of a negotiation more likely last month when he offered to purchase the generators from NYPA and move them a few blocks north to the Ravenswood generating station.
Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2001 Community News Group
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