SARATOGA COUNTY: Lawsuit muddies county water

"We've had the experts putting this together for us, and I'm very comfortable that we adequately addressed all the issues Mr. Mackay is concerned with," said Callanan.

Callanan pointed out that the county's environmental impact statement contends that growth pressure exists in the county regardless of water availability and controlling growth is the local responsibility of towns and cities.

The environmental impact statement was prepared by the Malcolm Pirnie engineering firm at a cost of about $810,000.

Lemery Greisler, a Saratoga Springs law firm, advised the county on environmental review law compliance.

The county water plan calls for tapping the Hudson in Moreau Lake State Park and piping water along a 28-mile route through the Northway corridor that will in part follow the Zim Smith Trail right-of-way. Towns and private buyers along the route will be able to purchase water.

There are currently no customers for the county project, and county officials are trying to figure out how to finance the water system until it has guaranteed future revenues. Initially, the $67 million county project's primary customer is expected to be Advanced Micro Devices at the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta. The state and AMD last week signed an agreement that would see a $3.2 billion plant constructed between 2007 and 2009, but the company hasn't signed a water purchase contract.

On Dec. 29, the state Department of Environmental Conservation issued two water supply permits the project will require, said Wes Carr, the county water project coordinator.

The lawsuit will be heard in state Supreme Court in Ballston Spa. A tentative court date of Feb. 14 has been set.""

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