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Not water under the bridge

Saratoga Lake Association President Wilma Koss said the organization will appeal a recent state Court of Appeals decision that ruled the city properly completed its environmental review during its study of the lake as an alternate water supply.

Our attorney is feeling, after reading the decision, that we should appeal, Koss said. "We are in unanimous agreement that the decision of the Appellate Court was wrong and that Justice Nolen's decision was correct in the matter of the watershed issue. We are therefore filing a motion seeking leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals."

The Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court ruling from Thursday, Dec. 6, stated, "We conclude that the (city's) assessment and ultimate determination regarding the environmental impact of the project should have been upheld."

The court's decision was unanimous.

Commissioner of Public Works Thomas McTygue, a longtime proponent of using Saratoga Lake as a backup water source to Loughberry Lake, held a press conference announcing the decision.

"This City Council was unanimous in the support of the Saratoga Lake project, and here is a document that vindicates every single person that went out and supported it," said McTygue. He has long said Saratoga Lake is a better and cheaper option than the $67 million Saratoga County plan to pipe water from the Hudson River in Moreau.

The application process should have cost $300,000 to $400,000, McTygue said, but legal fees drove its price to more than $1 million.

The city can now finalize its Department of Environmental Conservation application to draw water from Saratoga Lake. McTygue said the city will complete its permit application and submit it to the DEC by the end of the year.

At a recent Saratoga Springs City Council meeting, McTygue stumped for the city to have a DEC permit "in its back pocket" to use just in case of emergency. He noted that obtaining the permit does not guarantee the city will begin construction at Saratoga Lake.

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