State Wins Water Quality Protection Case

Attorney General Spitzer today hailed a federal court decision that will help ensure the water quality of a well-known trout stream.

A federal appellate court found that the City of New York violates the Clean Water Act when it discharges large quantities of sediment-laden water from the Shandaken Tunnel into the Esopus Creek.

The 18-mile Shandaken Tunnel releases as much as 600 million gallons of water each day
from the Schoharie Reservoir. The court found that the City’s practice of large-scale water discharges must be addressed under the Clean Water Act.

Sediment-laden water harms drinking water quality, damages fish habitat, and impairs the use of the Esopus Creek for fly fishing and other recreational uses.

"This environmental victory should remind everyone of the importance of clean water and the need to be vigilant in protecting it for our health and our communities," said Attorney General Spitzer.

In addition to the Attorney General’s Office, other parties in the case were: Trout Unlimited, Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, Catskill-Delaware Natural Water Alliance, Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of Ulster County and Riverkeeper.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General and Watershed Inspector General James Tierney, Deputy Solicitor General Michelle Aronowitz, Assistant Solicitor General Robert Easton, Environmental Protection Bureau Deputy Chief Gordon Johnson and Environmental Protection Bureau Chief Peter Lehner.