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TransGas Appeals to Albany

The Brooklyn Paper
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Like costumed zombies parading throughout Williamsburg on Halloween, TransGas Energy’s (TGE) power plant proposal may rise from the dead yet again, as attorneys for the energy company filed an appeal this week with the New York Court of Appeals.

The state court will hear the motion on November 9, when attorneys for TGE and the New York State Siting Board will make legal arguments on a case that may determine whether the energy company has a right to build a power plant on a site on the Williamsburg/ Greenpoint waterfront near the future Bushwick Inlet Park (Kent Avenue and North 12th Street).

The arguments are a reprise of an appeal filed in The New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division (45 Monroe Place, Brooklyn Heights) earlier this fall.On September 22, after hearing oral arguments, the court’s justices voted unanimously to dismiss the appeal on the grounds that “the Board’s dismissal of TransGas’ application was not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion.”

The ruling left TGE with few options beyond filing to appeal the case in a higher court, which TGE attorney John Dax indicated he would do.Though Dax was unable to be reached for comment on the new appeal, in an earlier interview with this paper, Dax suggested the reasons behind the TGE’s decision.

“We think the 2nd Department Appellate Division got it wrong,” said Dax. “Maybe the siting board likes not having authority so they don’t have to make tough decisions. They used to think they had that authority, but they decided for the first time that they didn’t have that authority.”

TransGas officials and Williamsburg residents have butted heads since 2002, when the company filed an application with the State Siting Board to construct a electric generating facility on the East River.

That property has since become a park, which celebrated a groundbreaking in July 2009. According to a Parks Department administrator,the legal wrangling has hampered fundraising for new ball fields on the site.

Community activists, including Rolf Carle, said all they could do is wait for the State Court of Appeals’ decision and hope it would reflect the interpretations of the lower courts.

“Let’s see how this final Appeal is decided and if the verdict is in favor of the community acknowledge all those that contributed and how,” said Carle. “Let’s then look at how the four waterfront developers promised to contribute to the communities legal fund and then back out.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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