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Let’s Start a Water Task Force in NYC

It is time to start a Task Force on Water in NYC!

As you know the Sierra Club has started monitoring the implementation of a new state law that gives more regulatory oversight to theNYS DEC over large water users such as farming, industrial and mining corporations, as well as some towns that export water.

The first applicant under the new regulations is the Queens Ravenswood Energy Plant owned by TransCanada that uses mostly gas. The application requests 1.5 billion gallons of water a day from the East River to cool the plant. The DEC has interpreted this law to allow it to issue this particular permit as of right, without any scrutiny or review of the environmental impact on the river.

Weknow that the process of withdrawing water from the river kills an enormous number of fish.  Gil Hawkins, the President of the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association points out that “New York’s new water permitting requirements must be implemented responsibly or great harm may be done..” His organization has worked for many years to protect the Hudson River watershed, of which the East River is an integral part, from pollution and fish kills.

A task force would coordinate our work to monitor water withdrawals in the City watersheds and work with other groups and elected officials to address problems. The task force would support the Club’s efforts to assure responsible implementation of a new state law requiring water withdrawal permits by large non-public water users.

We have written a letter to state elected officials about these issues and are looking for members to help us follow up with their representatives – see link to letter..

The Sierra Club and the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association filed suit on December 9, 2013 to require the DEC to perform an Environmental Review before issuing a permit to withdraw the 1.5 billion gallons per day from the Hudson River.

If you are interested in joining the task force contact Irene Van Slyke at irene.vanslyke@verizon.net.

You might also want to read the following posts and documents.

Sierra Club Challenges Ravenswood over Water Withdrawal Application

Ravenswood’s Water Withdrawal Application Needs More Work

The Ravenswood letter