Sun June 19, 2011
State legislators approve water resources bill
By Mark Scott
Buffalo, NY – A bill protecting water resources in New York has passed the State Senate and Assembly and is awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature.
Until now, industries and agricultural interests across the state which used large amounts of water were able to do so without consequences. That's about to change. Brian Smith of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment says the State Legislature has passed a bill that creates a permitting program for those who use 100,000 gallons of water a day or more.
"When they get this permit, they're going to have to show that they're not going to cause an adverse impact on the environment," Smith said.
Smith says the new law would apply to water from the Great Lakes as well as to smaller bodies of water such as the Finger Lakes or local streams and rivers. He says passage of the law was needed after the state agreed to be a part of the Great Lakes Compact three years ago that prohibits water diversion from the lakes and their watersheds.
Smith says even the farmers and industry which use lots of water supported this effort.
"They need water to sustain their business," Smith said. "This legislation will insure that we have water for farming now and into the future. So, everybody came to the table and we ended up with a very good bill."
Buffalo area Senator Mark Grisanti, who chairs the Senate's Environmental Conservation committee, was the bill's primary sponsor in his house. It's expected that Governor Cuomo will sign it.