Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Jesuitical Psuedo Environmentalism - 'Fighting Westway' William Buzbee Georgetown University Law Center

to stop a tunneled highway that would have had portal pollution hot spots highlighting the need for cleaner automobile technoligies

I was one of the lawyers who represented the New York State DOT in this case. Mr. Buzbee reached out to our team a grand total of once while researching and writing this tome. His bias in favor of the plaintiffs is obvious, as is his lack of understanding of all of the issues. In short, the book is neither honest nor accurate, and I reject it as the sort of drivel that only encourages pseudo-environmentalists to litigate in order to block progress. - Bruce Margolius

totally misrepresents the cost issues regarding the relative complexities of the Boston CAT project and Westway.

brushes aside considerations of engineering

feeds the myth of highways vs transit rather than transportation infrastructure versus things as the ruinous and wasteful drug war.

In his new book Fighting Westway: Environmental Law, Citizen Activism and the Regulatory War that Transformed New York City (Cornell University Press, 2014), Georgetown University Law Center Professor William W. Buzbee provides a history of one of environmental law’s most epic and renowned battles.

Buzbee uses archival documents and interviews with stakeholders to dissect the legal, environmental and political battles over Westway, the most expensive federally financed highway of its day and a project that would have involved massive landfilling in the Hudson River. It was a struggle that lasted 14 years, involving direct citizen protests and activism, Congress, presidents, agencies and several court trials. It pitted senators, mayors and the editorial boards of the New York Times and Daily News against scientists, federal agency staff and citizen activists and their lawyers. Buzbee uses the Westway battles to illuminate the strategies and elements of high stakes regulatory wars. Although many books have been written about the law, few illuminate the strategies and choices at play in common but complex high stakes regulatory conflicts that often involve society’s most fundamental political choices.

“Westway’s defeat remains shocking to its champions, especially considering the power of its supporters,” Buzbee writes. Although Westway’s defeat has often been described as an anti-democratic outcome over a mere procedural snafu, or lacking merit under the law, Buzbee reveals that Westway’s battles were over high stakes. The project’s defeat was not due to “some antidemocratic fluke,” he says, but to an effective combination of citizen activism, a highway versus mass transit choice, scientific input by expert regulators, environmentally protective choices in the law and judicial impartiality. While Buzbee surveys the entire history of the project, he focuses most of his attention on the legal and regulatory battles at its endgame, from 1982 to 1985.

“The dramatic story of the battle over Westway serves as a masterful case study of how today’s regulatory wars are waged across the United States,” says Richard Briffault, Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia University Law School.

And John H. Adams, founding director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, says: “Finally! The first thorough, truthful account of one of the great environmental battles of the twentieth century!”

Oh really?

The book spouts anti Westway ideas - doing so with full acceptance and utterly uncricticaly.


cites Lower Manhattan Expressway as precedent, yet disegards major differences between projects namely Westway's absence of the problems that politically plauged LOMAX.

- the former would have displaced numerous buildings
- would have been largely elevated or an open trench

Westway would have displaced non, asides from some piers that would be demolished anyway
Westway was primarily in a tunnel encasing noise and pollution


cites Westway opponents scoffing at Westway benefits regarding development

- ignored reality of greater property values when major road corridor is buried ig 96th street where the rr goes underground

- ignored the extra development of the landfill new development

- ignored added neighborhoods and property taxes- perpetual benefits

- ignored reconnecting Manhattan to waterfront via placing main stream of vehicular traffic in tunnel.

- ignored reality that Westway would replace existing freeway link with antiquated design connecting existing freeway segments


- ignored context of historically expanding landfill and that the concentration owed to a sewer outlet

- thus Westway would merely pushed fish a few hundred feet

- ignored efforts elsewhere to mitigate via providing alternative hatcheries in area.

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