Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs — more will be added later

Question: Why is it still critically important to prevent further encroachment on the irreplaceable open water habitat in the lower Hudson River off Manhattan today?

Answer: Over 100 species use the marine and estuarine habitat in the River’s open nearshore waters today, and preserving the physical integrity of this habitat may be essential for the survival of some of those species, including but not limited to the migratory striped bass that range from Canada to the Carolinas up and down the Atlantic Coast.

Two 1998 letters from federal natural resource agencies opposed Army Corps permits for building in the stretch of the Hudson River that became the so-called Hudson River Park (HRP) project area. These NMFS and FWS letters discuss the particular species that each agency had a special legal responsibility for protecting as of 1998. While NMFS and FWS later succumbed to political pressure to drop their objections to similar permits for the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT, a State public authority), the 1998 comment letters illustrate how “extraordinarily important” this rich and productive habitat was–and still is today–and how essential it is for sustaining coastal fisheries.

  • NMFS_072798, from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and
  • FWS_072798, from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS).

Question: What did U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa say in his Opinions following lengthy trials in the Westway case, Sierra Club et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers et al.?

Answer:

  • Sierra885, Judge Griesa’s August 7, 1985 Opinion, 614 F.Supp. 1475 (S.D.NY.Y. 1985) is the best one to read for the most complete overview of legal aspects of the Westway fight.
  • Sierra382 combines Opinions in two separate actions. One is 536 F.Supp. 1225 (S.D.N.Y. 1982), Action for Rational Transit, et al., v. West Side Highway Project, et al., which was dismissed. The other one is 541 F.Supp. 1367 (S.D.N.Y. 1982). This 3/31/82 Opinion in the Sierra Club et al. case includes the most extensive description of the regulatory framework which is supposed to protect the physical integrity of aquatic habitats and the fisheries they sustain, as well as discussions about striped bass and the many other species that depend on the marine and estuarine habitat in the lower Hudson River. The Opinion also shows how fraudulant environmental impact statements were used to justify issuing Corps permits for a non-water-dependent project (Westway) that violated the substantive requirements of the Clean Water Act and other federal laws.
  • Sierra682 discusses how fisheries information was misrepresented in order to downplay the significance of the Westway habitat in the Hudson River; and why most federal payments for acquiring permits for Westway construction in the River were temporarily enjoined.

THE FIGHT TO PRESERVE THE HUDSON RIVER AS A RIVER, rather than as a site for non-water-dependent development, is ongoing. For more information on how you can help, please contact Clean Air Campaign, Friends of the Earth, or NYPIRG with the contact form on this site, or through the phone numbers above.