[Update 12/19: The NJ Sports and Exposition Authority's lawsuit has been thrown out.]
Earlier this year, the Sierra Club, NJ PIRG and NJ Environmental Federation were in court fighting the Xanadu development, which would bring to the environmentally sensitive Meadowlands an enormous Pepsi-symbol Ferris wheel, an indoor skiing hill, skate parks, theaters, and a mall with office space and a hotel plunked on top. The groups lost, which was disappointing but not shocking.
But what the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority did next was shocking. Last month the state filed a motion to recover over $4,000 from the groups to cover “necessary expenses.” The expenses? Printing and copying a 4,297-page appendix that provided only 302 pages of relevant and cited material.
Is New Jersey so in need of funds that environmental nonprofits need to pony up for government toner? The motion serves one purpose, to scare other groups away from suing the state. It represents what is often called SLAPP — strategic litigation against public participation — and can’t be justified.