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November 30, 2015

No Review for IBM Application to Take 86 MGD from Hudson River

Yesterday's Poughkeepsie Journal describes how DEC is handling IBM's application to take up to 86.4 million gallons of water a day from the Hudson River for operation of its Town of Poughkeepsie plant. See Millions of gallons taken from river—no state OK needed, John Ferro, Poughkeepsie Journal, November 29, 2015. DEC gave notice of IBM's application on October 28, 2015 and accepted comments through November 12, 2016.

The article addresses DEC's position that New York's new water withdrawal permitting law exempts its staff from conducting even the most basic environmental review of applications by existing users, and notes the concerns some environmental groups have with DEC's handling of such applications.

"This is a significant concern to all of us that there is no hard look being taken at what the impact of these permits is likely to be," Kate Hudson, an attorney with Riverkeeper is quoted as saying.

The article mentions the two lawsuits brought by Sierra Club and the Hudson River Fisherman's Association (HRFA) challenging DEC's position and asserting that the new law gives DEC broad discretion to specify the terms and conditions of water withdrawal permits issued to existing users and that there is consequently no basis for DEC's position that such applications are exempt from review under SEQRA. I am quoted in the article as one of the lawyers representing Sierra Club and HRFA.

The article reviews the legislative history of the law, noting that the law was prompted by the Great Lakes Compact. "The Great Lakes Compact reflects a very forward-looking effort by the governors and the (Canadian) premiers to put protections in place to make sure our waters remain at healthy levels and that water continues to be available for future use," David Naftzger, executive director of the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers, is quoted as saying.

Posted by Rachel Treichler 11/30/15, updated 03/10/16.



Copyright 2016, Rachel Treichler



About NY Water Law

New York Water Law covers legal developments relating to water usage in New York and in jurisdictions that may be influential in New York. The author, Rachel Treichler, practices law in the Finger Lakes region.
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