The road to reimagining the Kensington Expressway has more bumps than a typical City of Buffalo street.

Just days after more than 60 Buffalo residents filed suit against New York State to stop the Kensington Expressway Tunnel Project, a prominent civil rights organization filed its own lawsuit against the Empire State, alleging the state broke its own rules to force this project on residents of New York's second-largest city.

READ MORE: Buffalo Residents File Lawsuit To Stop Kensington Tunnel Project

On Friday, June 14, 2024, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit with the New York Supreme Court against the New York State Department of Transportation, claiming that the State is moving forward with the project without thoroughly assessing and mitigating the increase in air pollution it will cause in a predominately Black neighborhood already overburdened by air pollution.

In the legal papers they filed with the court clerk, they further claim that New York State purposely did not conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which requires an in-depth environmental analysis, which is something neighborhood residents have complained about since the project began to ramp up since the Kensington Expressway is estimated to contain more than 250,000 square feet of asbestos.

Ed Nice Jackson / Townsquare Media
Ed Nice Jackson / Townsquare Media

Buffalonians who live near the Kensington Expressway have much higher rates of respiratory illness than others all over the region. Those directly impacted by the $1 billion project are worried that the new Kensington Expressway Tunnel will drive up pollution and thus cause even more respiratory issues.

READ MORE: New York State To Hire Hundreds For Kensington Project In Buffalo

The crux of this suit relies on the idea that New York State officials have largely ignored two laws that directly apply to this project: the State Environmental Quality Review Act and the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. If this is true, the state may be required to return to the drawing board for this project.

Kensington Expressway Project Concepts Images

Images courtesy of the New York State Department of Transportation

Gallery Credit: Ed Nice

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