Bloomberg News story by Jim Polson Nov 13, 2014 3:01 PM ET For more, click HERE.
SUEZ/UNITED WATER TOLD TO SHELVE DESAL PLANS!
In November, Rockland grassroots environmental activists accomplished the impossible, stopping Suez, a multi-national corporation with plans for treating Hudson River water for Rockland County’s drinking water. After years of very hard work by citizens, elected officials, and environmental groups, on November 13 a proposal for an exorbitant and environmentally harmful desalination plant was rejected by the New York State Public Service Commission, which declared: UNITED WATER DIRECTED TO DISCONTINUE PURSUIT OF DESALINATION PLANT: Water Company Told to Explore Other Options for Water Sources.
One senior NYS staffer called the decision “an earthquake.”
The Rockland Water Coalition was formed seven years ago to fight this expensive, unsustainable project, which could irreparably harm the rich ecology of Haverstraw Bay, drive NY’s carbon footprint in the wrong direction, and expose residents to water drawn 3.5 miles downstream from Indian Point nuclear power plant, containing trace amounts of radioactive elements.
Thousands of residents packed hearings and submitted written comments opposing the plan. 26,000 citizens signed petitions against it.
On November 13, in a huge victory for the Coalition, the PSC determined that there is no immediate need for a new water supply source and ordered Suez/United Water to stop pursuing desalination.
The order from the Commissioners to Suez/United Water to shelve desalination and instead focus on financially and environmentally sound alternatives was a major turn-around for the state and a major step forward for the environment.
The news was not entirely positive that day. In a much more mixed decision on the same day, the PSC rejected for now the company’s application for a $60.3 million surcharge for pre-construction costs for the proposal, but also ruled that at least $40 million of these costs might be reimbursable in the future.
What we have gained, though, is huge and we would not have won this much without citizen groups in the Rockland Water Coalition and a key group of elected officials. With the newly established Rockland County Water Task Force, the stage is now set for the next phase, with the opportunity to work with nationally renowned experts to create a model water conservation policy. If we succeed, the result could be a model not only for New York State but for the region.