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April 19, 2007

What's a "reasonable worst-case scenario"? ESDC considered terrorism, just not in EIS

Atlantic Yards Report

Critics of the Atlantic Yards environmental review had previously been told by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) that post-9/11 terrorism was beyond the scope of the law. ...
Now there's a response from Forest City Ratner in the ligitation challenging the environmental review and seeking a temporary restraining order to block demolitions. In it, FCR attorney Jeffrey Braun points out that no regulation requires terrorist attacks to be analyzed.

Further, he points to a series of actions that suggests that the ESDC and the developer have taken the terrorist issue quite seriously:

In this case, the submissions in opposition to the petition will show that ESDC made the eminently sensible determination that the risk of a terrorist attack was not appropriate for inclusion in the SEQRA process, which would have entailed the publication, including availability on the Internet, of information about risk assessment and security measures. The submissions also will show that FCRC retained preeminent security consultants and, working with those consultants, participated in extensive confidential reviews of the Project with the New York City Police Department’s Counter-Terrorism Task Force, to assess the risk of a terrorist attack and to address that risk in an appropriate manner. Given the nature of the threat, however, it would not be appropriate—indeed, it would be foolish—to expose the risk assessment materials to public scrutiny.

That may be so, but in other projects there has been at least some acknowledgement of security issues.

And the question remains: what's the difference between "a reasonable worst-case scenario" under the scope of state law and "a reasonable worst-case scenario" under a common-sense understanding?

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Posted by lumi at April 19, 2007 9:30 AM