Not in My (Liberal) Backyard: Green protest just plain old Nimbyism

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(Elena (Lena) Babaeva Coradini is an associate with Waller Lansden in Nashville, TN,  focusing on regulatory, energy, government relations and environmental law, including project development, compliance and permitting issues. This post is reprinted from the Waller Blog with her permission)

By Lena Babaever Coradini,

For every good headline for sustainability, there is one like this: Green Development? Not in My (Liberal) Backyard.

Last week, two groups of New Yorkers who live “on or near” Prospect Park West, a prestigious address in Park Slope, filed a suit against the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to remove a nine-month-old bike lane that has commandeered a lane previously used by cars.

In Massachusetts, the formidable opponents of Cape Wind, a proposed offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound, include members of the Kennedy family, whose compound looks out over the body of water. In Berkeley last year, the objections of store owners and residents forced the city to shelve plans for a full bus rapid transit system (B.R.T.), a form of green mass transit in which lanes that formerly served cars are blocked off and usurped by high-capacity buses that resemble above-ground subways.

Critics in New York contend the new Prospect Park bike lane is badly designed, endangering pedestrians and snarling traffic. Cape Wind opponents argue the turbines will defile a pristine body of water. And in Berkeley, store owners worried that reduced traffic flow and parking could hurt their business.

But some supporters of high-profile green projects like these say the problem is just plain old Nimbyism — the opposition by residents to a local development of the sort that they otherwise tend to support.

Click here for Lena’s full post.

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