East Hills resident Richard Brummel filed papers last week with the U.S. Supreme Court claiming the New York court system was “so inhospitable to environmental litigation that it amounted to a Constitutional violation of due process,” he said in a news release.
Since the start of discussions about the project in early 2014, Brummel has been fighting an air stripper facility in Christopher Morley Park, which was a $4.4 million project approved by the North Hempstead Town Board as part of a $20.9 million capital bond.
“What this case means, in combination with my own and a number of others I was able to identify from around the state, is that the courts in New York are stacked, rigged against environmental defenders like us,” Brummel said in a statement. “That should not stand Constitutional scrutiny. Maybe the Supreme Court will agree to hear it.”
The air stripping facility moves air through contaminated water in an above-ground treatment center to remove chemicals known as volatile organic compounds.
Roslyn Water District attorney Peter Fishbein said very few cases are heard by the U.S. Supreme Court and he does not expect Brummel’s petition to be heard.
“I do not believe that his petition to the Supreme Court for them to hear the case has any merit,” Fishbein said. “I’ve interacted with him, and he is passionate. There’s no question he is passionate about what he does. I just think he has to recognize reality.”
In the news release, Brummel said no environmental impact statement was written, but Fishbein said the state, county, town and district did everything necessary to follow environmental laws.
When asked, Fishbein said he was unable to sift through the years of paperwork to confirm or deny Brummel’s claim before Blank Slate Media’s deadline Oct. 4. The Green Party of Nassau County requested an environmental impact statement be completed in the spring of 2014. The county approved the site and the state Senate approved legislation for the construction of the facility that June.
“I can tell you that in all of the papers submitted to the courts, the district demonstrated that all proper procedures and requirements of that act were followed,” Fishbein said.
Brummel’s lawsuit against the air stripper facility made its way through Nassau County Supreme Court, a state Appellate Court in Brooklyn Heights and the New York Court of Appeals where it was repeatedly denied, Fishbein said.
“The Town residents’ interests have been fully protected by the environmental review process, which is why no court has agreed with Mr. Brummel’s argument,” Carole Trottere, a Town of North Hempstead spokeswoman, said.