the Knaust Lake. To prevent the alleged harm, Plaintiffs move to enjoin the Kingston Defendants from any further construction of the business park during the pendency of this action.
A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy for which plaintiffs carry a heavy burden of persuasion. See Borey v. National Union Fire Ins. Co., 934 F.2d 30, 33 (2d Cir. 1991). To succeed on a motion for a preliminary injunction, the movant must demonstrate irreparable harm and either (1) a likelihood of success on the merits or (2) sufficiently serious questions going to the merits to make them a fair ground for litigation and a balance of hardships tipping decidedly toward the party requesting the preliminary relief. International Dairy Foods Ass'n v. Amestoy, 92 F.3d 67, 70 (2d Cir.1996) (quoting Jackson Dairy, Inc. v. H.P. Hood & Sons, Inc., 596 F.2d 70, 72 (2d Cir.1979) (per curiam)).
A showing of "probable irreparable harm is the single most important prerequisite for the issuance of a preliminary injunction." Reuters Ltd. v. United Press Int'l., Inc., 903 F.2d 904, 907 (2d Cir. 1990) (internal quotations and citations omitted). "[A] mere possibility of irreparable harm is insufficient to justify the drastic remedy of a preliminary injunction." Borey 934 F.2d at 34.
Here, Plaintiffs allege that further development of the Kingston Business Park will cause irreparable harm including pollution, degradation, contamination and destruction of the Knaust Lake, as well as the deprivation of all economically viable uses of the Knaust property.
In support of their allegations, Plaintiffs assert that Jonathon Jones's affidavit establishes "beyond dispute" that storm water runoff will contain pollutants and contaminants, and that the affidavit of Mr. Rubin "indisputably establishes" that the storm water runoff will migrate to the Knaust property. As discussed above, Mr. Jones reviewed the storm water management plan on a conceptual level, and based his review on the types of pollutants generally found in storm water runoff and on a report prepared for the KLDC by professional engineers describing the storm water management system. In essence, Mr. Jones questioned the effectiveness of the storm water system to remove pollutants without having actually visited the site.
Also, Mr. Rubin states that the business park is underlain by a karst aquifer system which facilitates the rapid transmission of liquids into the earth. Based on his analysis, Mr. Rubin concluded that storm water runoff from the Kingston Business Park will be discharged to the karst aquifer and "most likely" into the Knaust Lake. (Rubin Aff. P 24.)
The Defendants point to the testimony of Dr. Merguerian which directly refutes Mr. Rubin. After personally visiting the site, Dr. Merguerian emphatically states that the region is not karstic, and that the region experiences normal surface drainage. Dr. Merguerian also states that karstic features occur on a regional level and that he could find no professional geologist who has characterized the Kingston region as karstic. Moreover, the Defendants emphasize that NYDEC and other governmental agencies charged with protecting the environment approved the storm water management plans after carefully reviewing them.
After thoroughly reviewing all of the evidence submitted in this case, the Court finds that, at best, Plaintiffs have demonstrated that there is a "possibility" that storm water runoff from the Kingston Business Park will make its way into the Plaintiffs' lake. However, the speculative nature of the alleged harm in this case is clearly insufficient to justify the drastic remedy of a preliminary injunction.
Therefore, the Court denies Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction.
Therefore, after carefully considering the allegations in the complaint, the papers submitted, and the arguments of counsel, it is hereby
ORDERED that Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment is DENIED with respect to their NEPA claim; and it is further
ORDERED that EDA's cross-motion for summary judgment is GRANTED with respect to all of Plaintiffs' NEPA, CZMA, and common law nuisance claims against the EDA, and therefore all claims against the United States Department of Commerce are DISMISSED; and finally, it is further
ORDERED that Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction is DENIED.
The Plaintiffs are directed to initiate a telephone status conference on November 6, 1997 at 9:00 am.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: October 10, 1997
Syracuse, New York
Frederick J. Scullin, Jr.
United States District Judge