Several environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Coast Guard and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, challenging the decision by the Coast Guard to issue a permit amendment authorizing the raising the roadbed of the Bayonne Bridge.
, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, challenges the Coast Guard's conclusion that raising the bridge would have only a minimal effect on future cargo volumes, which then enabled the Coast Guard "to disassociate in its environmental analysis the project from adverse environmental and public health impacts that accompany increased port operations."
The Coast Guard issued a permit for the project in May.
Raising the bridge is seen by the port authority and many businesses as essential because many large containership cannot pass beneath the bridge to get to container terminals on Staten Island and in Newark and Elizabeth, N.J., unless the roadbed of the bridge is raised. Those big ships are expected to arrive in greater numbers after the widening of the Panama Canal is completed in 2015.
The suit was filed by several groups includng the Coalition for Healthy Ports, North Shore Waterfront Conservancy of Staten Island, Elm Park Civic Association, and National Resources Defense Council.
The groups want the court to declare that a finding of no significant impact to the environment by the Coast Guard's violates the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and is invalid, and require an environmental impact statement to be prepared. It seeks to stay the effect of the permit amendment until the Coast Guard complies with NEPA. - Chris Dupin