This morning, November 14, the Court heard oral argument on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYSDEC)s, Town of Ellery’s, and Chautauqua Lake Partnership’s (Partnership) motions to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Chautauqua Institution (Institution). Recall that the Institution instituted the suit seeking invalidation of the 2018 SEIS and requesting a Court order that the SEIS cannot be relied upon to support herbicide permitting in any part of Chautauqua Lake in the future.
Unfortunately, the motions were not decided at the hearing. The Court scheduled a subsequent hearing on November 26, 2018, to allow the Court time to consider this matter further. From a practical standpoint, with the last three responses not filed until Monday, a holiday, the Court had inadequate time (only one day) to review the case law cited in each parties’ motions. The Court also granted the Institution’s request to submit even further written papers with an opportunity for the DEC, Town and Partnership to respond (third such cycle) on the legal issues associated with dismissal.
After arguments were completed, the Institution’s attorney again requested that all parties to the lawsuit agree to discuss the Institution’s (unfounded) concerns with the SEIS. Recall that the Institution has made accusations about the SEIS’s deficiencies but has failed to provide any scientific studies supporting a need for further scientific study and review. Town and Partnership attorneys made clear that it would be inappropriate for the parties to enter these discussions under the threat of litigation. They stressed that the proper forum for such discussion was in the context of future herbicide permit applications and the associated environmental review process.
The next hearing will be November 26, 2018, in Buffalo, while the weeds accumulate, the fish die and the birds have a feast. See the video from Burtis Bay with photos taken over the last few weeks…a disheartening and unnecessary scene.
Your all volunteer board of the Chautauqua Lake Partnership