Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ulster, State Leaders Want NYCDEP to Pay Up

As I've said before, this issue isn't about Democrat or Republican. The water belongs to all of us, and we should work together on this one. And it appears that this is what's happening:
TWENTY-ONE county, municipal and state representatives have signed a letter calling on the state to levy $13.5 million in penalties against the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, claiming it violated environmental laws by sending muddy water from the Ashokan Reservoir into the Lower Esopus Creek.

The letter was sent to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which is considering allowing the city agency to continue the releases that have occurred between October and April over the past two years.

The state agency has threatened the city with a $1.55 million fine for failing to clean up the Kensico Reservoir in Westchester County, where the city Department of Environmental Protection previously used a chemical settling agent to separate solids from water piped downstate from the Ashokan Reservoir in Ulster County. The releases from the Ashokan into the 32-mile Lower Esopus, which empties into the Hudson River at Saugerties, were allowed as an alternative.
And that money could go a long way toward ensuring that the Lower Esopus is proteced:
“Substantial stream improvements across Ulster County should be paid for by the city as part of the civil penalty, and the (state) DEC should stop standing in the way of flood-mitigation efforts,” the letter says. “The DEC should partner with Ulster County’s communities and residents utilizing a more substantial fine to the DEP to implement true flood-control and mitigation measures.”
The letter was actually released from Bonacic's office, an elected official who on more than one occasion has been the subject of criticism on this blog. But this is one he gets right, so kudos to the senator for standing up to the city. We're going to need all the muscle we can get when it comes to fighting the NYCDEP.

Full text of the letter below.

071612 Release Joint Opposition Letter to NY DEC Filed(1)

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