Piping Plover Lawsuit Stalls Fire Island Dune Rebuilding

by Timothy Bolger on September 15, 2014  www.longislandpress.com

Officials are lashing out at an environmental group whose lawsuit stalled a plan to rebuild Sandy-flattened Fire Island dunes after activists argued that the $207-million federally funded project could harm endangered birds.

Judge Sandra Feuerstein granted Friday the Audubon New York’s request for a temporary restraining order in the nonprofit group’s federal lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, two agencies involved in the plan, effectively barring the project’s managers from starting the work—for now.

“They are asserting that habitat protection trumps the safety and security of the residents living in Mastic Beach and other low-lying South Shore communities,” Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), who has been pushing for the project, said in a statement. “This is a position I simply cannot support. I believe the action of Audubon New York in this instance, particularly as the dredging contract was about to be awarded, is indefensible.”

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