Orange Environment, Inc.

Kiryas Joel Pipeline 20040701

Kiryas Joel Pipeline 20040701

Kiryas Joel Pipeline 20040701

July 1, 2004

Christpher O. Ward, Commissioner
465 Columbus Ave.,
Valhalla, N.Y. 10595-1336 Re: The Kiryas Joel Pipeline Tap Project

Dear Commissioner Ward:

Orange Environment, Inc. Is a non-profit, tax exempt organization based in Goshen, N.Y. We wish to raise several points pertinent to your current review of the application of Kiryas Joel for a tap of the New York City Aqueduct. We additionally wish you to register us as an interested party in this matter and a potential intervener in any adjudication required for this application. We believe that there are three principle flaws in the application that auger for its denial.

  1. Much as did your agency, we realized that there is a discrepancy between publicly stated interest in Kiryas Joel’s operation of a regional water system based upon its successful tap of the NYC water system and the language of the application itself, which speaks only of meeting the needs of Kiryas Joel itself (DEIS 1.1.2). Given the prospect that the water will be used as the basis for a regional water supply, then this application should be denied and a new application, which fully discloses potential use and then properly assesses the impacts, should be required.
  2. The matter of induced growth is not addressed. In fact, a novel argument is put forth that cannot be accepted as realistic (6.1). We are told that growth in KJ will occur regardless of whether water is provided; therefore, the water project will not induce growth. While we recognize the cultural context of this argument, without disrespecting this context, the argument must be rejected. Exponential growth cannot occur in a finite environment. Unless requisite resources are provided, it cannot be sustained. Therefore, providing the water is inducing growth. And, in recent months, it has become clear that Kiryas Joel is addressing its growth needs be expanding the village outward into surrounding communities. The lands of the Village are actively subdivided. Besides the primary impacts of more people and a larger village expanding onto former farm land, there are the secondary impacts to schools, roads, congestion, etc. And water use! To grant this application given the refusal of the applicant to understand and recognize the induced growth issues is inappropriate. There has not been a full and fair explanation of what the cumulative impacts are of this project.
  3. Finally, of the many other issues ignored in the project DEIS, the matter of waste water is distorted totally. Increased water coming to Kiryas Joel to meet “inevitable growth” must result in increased waste water. Either KJ will have to seek an expansion of its STP, it will have to send water to the Orange County Sewer District Number one in Harriman, or it will have to dislodge rental users of its plant who then will go to the Harriman plant. All of these eventualities promise additional pollution to the already over taxed Ramapo River, further interbasin water transfers out of Orange County, and major capital projects. We calculate that, even with a pending expansion, the Harriman plant is already past capacity given growth in the region. The KJ plant is at capacity as well. The DEIS does not disclose the true state of the wastewater crisis in southern Orange County. It will be irresponsible to approve a water permit for a community lacking waste water options and not willing to admit the issue.
  4. We add as a note that cumulative impacts are not addressed correctly. There is a need to look at water supply, growth, wastewater and other secondary effects cumulatively.

In sum, the Kiryas Joel application is fraught with major issues where a combination of likely impact and a lack of forthrightness causes there to be no confidence that New York City Catskill Aqueduct waters will be used in accord with the application and that significant unmitigated resulting impacts will not occur.

Therefore, please deny this permit.


Michael R. Edelstein, Ph.D.