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Butterfly group's appeal tossed

The state Court of Appeals denied an appeal by Save the Pine Bush Inc. in a lawsuit against the Clifton Park Planning Board over the Karner blue butterfly habitat along Wood Road in the town.

The decision handed down Thursday, June 26, also requires Save the Pine Bush Inc. to pay $100 to offset the legal costs incurred by the town.

Once again, the Clifton Park Planning Board's actions have been upheld in a legal challenge; this time by the highest court in the state, said Steve Bulger, planning board chairman. "It is particularly gratifying to note that the Court of Appeals mandated the group pay money to the Town of Clifton Park to help offset the legal costs the town incurred."

Save the Pine Bush Inc. and 11 other individuals named in the suit appealed an April dismissal of the lawsuit by the New York State Appellate Court.

The appeal, filed Friday, May 9, by Peter Henner requests a leave of appeal for a November 2006 ruling, in which the plaintiffs were denied standing in the case.

The group initially challenged a ruling to dismiss the case by Acting State Supreme Court Justice Barry Kramer in November 2006, which said the plaintiffs did not have standing to lodge a lawsuit.

The Planning Board approved a plan to build seven industrial warehouses and hundreds of parking spaces adjacent to the Karner blue butterfly habitat, according to Save the Pine Bush.

After reviewing the site, the Planning Board decided that the project would not have a significant environmental impact and filed a negative declaration with SEQRA.

Save the Pine Bush said that the Planning Board violated the State Environmental Quality Review Act in issuing the warehouse approval during the summer of 2006.

Attempts to reach members of Save the Pine Bush were unsuccessful, but in a press release issued last month after the group filed an appeal, members said the ruling by the state Appellate court, "removed the last remaining teeth from the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act."

Save the Pine Bush is a not-for-profit organization devoted to preserving the Pine Bush and the Karner blue butterfly habitat.

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