Thursday, July 9, 2009

Text of Colts Neck Suit vs. the Navy and Laurelwood

For those interested in reading the full text (24 pages) of the Colts Neck Township suit vs. the Navy and Laurelwood Homes, LLC, we have posted it to our primary website as well.

In short, and as noted in area newspapers, the suit seeks to a) prevent the U.S. Navy from implementing the Record of Decision (ROD) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Laurelwood housing, b) prevent the construction of the proposed unimpeded access road, c) send what is considered a non-compliant (i.e., with NEPA guidelines) EIS back to the drawing board, d) prohibit the conversion of the Laurelwood homes to civilian housing, owing to violations of the townships ordinances, and e) declare the Navy's actions as "unlawful."

The lawsuit, while understandably more technical and nuanced than our lay grassroots position (and more authoritative on true "environmental" issues such as violation of the Clean Water Act), not only echoes NOPE's rallying cry since its formation in early 2008 (and our services are provided for free...), but fortifies NOPE's view that the Navy will have no other choice but to reverse course on its ROD once the "No Action Alternative" is given its proper due.

As our own Fulton Wilcox has shared with NOPE as well as elected officials for some time, this alternative (i.e. the option to not build the road) is the only one that avoids adverse impacts for the Navy itself and the surrounding base communities. The CN lawsuit verifies that the EIS clearly made short shrift of this "fifth option" (to not turn the homes "private" and instead pursue a void or buyout of the out-lease of the 52-year Laurelwood contract).

NOPE, considering some kind of action of its own and hopeful that Tinton Falls Borough and perhaps Monmouth County at large will pursue their own legal actions against the Navy plan, would encourage any of its supporters, particularly with legal backgrounds, to attend one of our upcoming meetings (July 20 at Colts Neck Library and August 3 in Tinton Falls, site TBD) and offer to volunteer their time to a potential legal challenge or other efforts. We need your help, particularly considering the cash constraints of grassroots organization.

Bill Holobowski, NOPE Chairman

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