CWCWC helps obtain favorable ruling in Painted Post water withdrawal case

In May, 2012, Sierra Club attorney, Richard Lippes, filed suit against the Village Board of Painted Post, Steuben County, NY for the Board's action in allowing the withdrawal of potentially 1.5 mgd from the Painted Post public water supply by rail, through the village center, to Pennsylvania for use in hydrofracturing for natural gas. The petitioners based their argument on the belief that these actions were taken in violation of SEQRA, and sought injunctive relief until there is full compliance with the law.

In February, 2013, Sierra Club attorney, Rachel Treichler, asked CWCWC to file a supporting amicus brief. CWCWC's attorney, James B. Bacon, filed an amicus on 2-14-13. The case was heard in Rochester, NY, Supreme Court on 3-1-13 before Judge Kenneth R. Fisher.

Judge Fisher ruled in favor of the petitioners, but not surprisingly, he dismissed the amicus on the grounds of its having been filed too late. However, in spite of this dismissal, it was clear that the Judge had read the amicus since an important part of his argument in favor of Sierra Club was based on the brief. To quote from attorney Bacon’s analysis: "[w]ere it not for the amicus, the Judge would not have known that Hodgman’s Park was adjacent to the transloading facility and that the significance of that proximity was to lower the Type 1 threshold to cover water withdrawals of 500,000 gpd instead of 2 mgd – We were the ones to discover and brief that issue which was a major point in the Judge’s ruling."

CWCWC is pleased that, despite the dismissal of the amicus brief, we were still able to be of significant help.

3-26-13

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