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MVHS SEQR process at heart of New York State Supreme Court battle

After years of battling, the case over MVHS's SEQR process between #nohospitaldowntown and MVHS is now in the hands of New York State Supreme Court Judge Bernadette Romano-Clark.

Posted: Sep 2, 2020 6:33 PM

Utica, N.Y. - The fate of a case against Mohawk Valley Health System by #nohospitaldowntown and others is now in the hands of State Supreme Court Judge Bernadette Romano Clark.

The lawsuit calls into question the SEQR, or State Environmental Quality Review, of the new downtown hospital property.

The issue over the SEQR process has been in the news for the past couple of years and finally on Wednesday, New York State Supreme Court Judge Bernadette Romano-Clark heard the oral arguments on the case from both sides in Utica.

The State Environmental Quality Review requires all state and local government agencies to consider environmental impacts equally with social and economic factors during discretionary decision-making.

The group #nohospitaldowntown believes that the proper process involving SEQR was not done and the lawsuit also claims that The Landmarks Society of Greater Utica and citizens were not given an opportunity to comment on the SEQR process.

The petitioners, which #nohospitaldowntown is one of them, believe MVHS will not get full state funding for the hospital until the SEQR issues are resolved in MVHS'S favor.

The petitioners believe this SEQR process was flawed and they're asking the State Supreme Court for an injunction, basically asking the judge to stop action by MVHS to build the hospital until a valid SEQR process is conducted.

MVHS has said it was allowed to defer the environmental review process because it could not get access to properties that made up the footprint by the property owners in order to do the studies.

Romano-Clark did not give a time table as to when she may announce her decision, but did add these comments after the oral arguments were over arly Wednesday afternoon, "This has been a long process. I have three cartons that I loaded in my car after we had our meeting. In fact, my husband said, are you moving out of your chambers, and I said no no no this is just a case. But listen, I know how much work has gone into this, I can see it, I can see there's a lot of passion on both sides of this table."

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