For Immediate Release:
Trout Unlimited Applauds N.Y. State Assembly for Passing Water Resource Protection Bill
Arlington, Va. -- Trout Unlimited (TU) praises the N.Y. S tate Assembly for taking action today to protect the state's water resources and for filling a major gap in its water management program.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), Bill A.5318A requires any user seeking to withdraw 100,000 gallons or more per day from the state's waters to obtain a permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Notably, this bill recognizes that water withdrawals for agricultural uses often vary depending upon the season and thus exempts those agricultural users, as long as the withdrawal amounts are reported to the DEC.
"Without the authority granted in this bill, the DEC lacks the ability to deny or approve a water withdrawal for gas drilling or any other major use," said Katy Dunlap, Eastern Water Project Director for Trout Unlimited. "Today, New York made a critical decision to protect and properly manage its streams and rivers," Dunlap said. "This allows DEC to establish protections for all current and future uses, including streamflow standards to protect trout and other aquatic life."
Currently, the DEC lacks the authority to regulate water withdrawals on a statewide basis—leaving nearly 70% of the state's waters unmanaged for water withdrawals. According to reports submitted to the DEC, in 2010, a significant number of water withdrawals in excess of the 100,000 gallons per day were reported for industrial use, golf course irrigation, mine dewatering, public water supplies and other uses. Given the significant volume of additional water that will be needed for drilling in the Marcellus Shale, it is imperative that the DEC has the authority to manage the state's water resources based upon sound science using a watershed approach.
Bill A.5318A was passed 121-1 yesterday as part of the N.Y. Assembly's Earth Day legislative package. TU calls on the N.Y. Senate to pass a companion bill, S.3798, introduced by N.Y. State Sen. Mark Grisanti, and ensure that the state’s water resources are protected for generations to come.
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s largest coldwater conservation organization, with 140,000 membersdedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.