Federal Judge Denies Injunction in FI Piping Plover Lawsuit


A federal judge Friday denied Audubon New York's request for a preliminary injunction to block part of a 19-mile flood-protection dune project planned for Fire Island. The decision by U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein of the Eastern District Court of New York came weeks after the nonprofit group sued, claiming the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' $207 million project would harm endangered piping plovers by destroying key beach habitat.

At issue was a three-mile stretch of dunes planned in public parklands. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service signed off on the project after winning improvements from the Army Corps: more nesting grounds to partly replace those that will be lost, enhanced monitoring, predator controls and other safeguards. In her 85-page decision, Feuerstein ruled Audubon New York had not presented a case it probably would win, so she did not need to consider if the plan would cause "irreparable" harm to the birds -- one of the standards required for a preliminary injunction.

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