A state appeals court has ruled in favor of environmentalists in a lawsuit, declaring that discredited Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy’s 2011 raid of $30 million from the county’s Drinking Water Protection Program without voter approval was illegal. The money was taken to plug holes in the Suffolk County budget.
The Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court, ruled unanimously today (November 12) to overturn a lower court decision that rejected the claims of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society and Long Island Environmental Voters Forum which argued that provisions of the water protection program required a new referendum by voters to alter the program.
Jennifer Juengst, Appellate Counsel for the environmentalists said, “I think that this decision is so big as to be threshold on the matter of what government can do and what it can’t. The people said that their money was to be used to protect water and the court said nobody but the people can change that. That’s huge!”
Amper said, “The public policy implications of this ruling are enormous because it increases the power of the electorate to get the kind of government they want and deserve.”