Thursday, January 19, 2017

EPA water rule revived by U.S. appeals court in NYC case

Schoharie Reservoir in NY State

Jonathan Stempel reports for Reuters

A divided U.S. appeals court on Wednesday revived an Environmental Protection Agency rule permitting government agencies to transfer water between different bodies, such as rivers and lakes, without needing to safeguard for pollution.

Reversing a lower court ruling in the widely followed case, a 2-1 panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the EPA acted reasonably in 2008 in adopting its "Water Transfers" rule, over the objections of environmental groups.

The decision is a victory for New York City, and will help it provide its 8.5 million residents with "a reliable supply of clean and safe drinking water," said Hilary Meltzer, deputy chief of the New York City Law Department's environmental law division.

At issue was whether the EPA, citing Congressional intent, properly exempted the city from needing a Clean Water Act permit to draw water from the upstate Schoharie Reservoir, through an 18-mile tunnel discharging sediment-laden water into the Esopus Creek popular with trout fishers, and later to city faucets.

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