August 14, 2015
No Review for Shuttered Plant's Application to Withdraw 160
MGD from Seneca Lake
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
(DEC) announced this week that Greenidge Generation LLC has applied for a water withdrawal permit for
its shuttered Greenidge Generating Station in Dresden, New York.
of Atlas Holdings, is seeking a permit to take up to 159,897,000
gallons of water a day from Seneca Lake. That is more than is used
by all the other users of the lake combined. Comments on the Greenidge
application are due September 11, 2015.
Although the DEC notice recognizes that the facility was "was placed in protective lay-up status in 2011" and that the Applicant “is now proposing to re-activate Unit 4 of the facility,”
nevertheless, the notice states that the Department has determined
that the facility is eligible for a type of permit—an "initial" permit—that is limited to existing water withdrawals. Categorizing
the Greenidge application as an application for an initial permit
is significant because DEC is granting extremely
expedited permitting procedures for "initial" water withdrawal permit applications, and is not conducting SEQRA reviews or
coastal zone reviews for such applications. DEC claims that "initial" permits are Type II actions under SEQRA and are therefore exempt from review
under SEQRA and the coastal zone laws.
The issue of whether water withdrawal permits issued to existing users can properly
be exempted from the requirements of the water withdrawal permitting
and the coastal zone laws is raised in two cases
filed by the Sierra Club and Hudson River Fishermen's Association, Sierra Club and HRFA v. Martens I
Club and HRFA v. Martens II . I am one of the attorneys working on both cases. The Greenidge application
is the first instance in which DEC has attempted to give existing
user status to a facility that is not in operation.
Posted by Rachel Treichler on 08/14/15. Updated
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.
Search NY Water Law
Enter search terms:
Enter email address to receive notices of new
content delivered by FeedBurner:
Index of Posts
Water Law Links