TO: Batchellerville Bridge Action Committee Members
FROM: Peter VanAvery
DATE: August 6, 2008

The deadline for the public to submit written comments on the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District's proposed new rules for Great Sacandaga Lake's permit holders was July 30.

Those comments will be reviewed by the District's board at a special meeting to be held at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, August 11, at the Northville Central School Auditorium, 131 South Third Street, Northville.

The District says that all submitted forms have been photocopied and distributed to the board. At Monday's meeting, the seven board members may propose revisions of the proposed rules and also introduce alternatives.

The District has not yet announced how many forms were submitted during the 45-day public comment period, which began on June 11. (I personally filled out and sent in 19 of them.)

Please note that no action will be taken at Monday's meeting. That will come no earlier than the September 8 board meeting scheduled for Saratoga Springs (time and location to be announced). The board is not bound by a deadline -- although its original timeline called for the new rules to go into effect on January 1, 2009.

If the board's action results in "substantial changes" to the proposed rules, they must be republished in the New York State Register, followed by an additional comment period, this time 30 days long. The rules cannot go into effect unless and until they are approved by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. DEC can take as much time as it wants.

Not unexpectedly, considering the District's past record of bumbling and incompetence, this seemingly endless rule-revision process -- now in its third year -- has become a political hot potato. It began during the Pataki Administration, and 6 of the 7 board members are still Pataki appointees. Public dissatisfaction with the rules is at a boiling point, with the District justifiably under fire from individual permit holders, lake organizations, and politicians.

As you are aware, my position is that the rule-revision process should be postponed until early next year, when Governor Paterson's appointees will finally take over a board majority (4 to 3). Then the board should go back to the drawing board and start the process from scratch -- re-researching, rethinking, revising, and rewriting the rules. Goal: To assure that the contents of the rule book are clear, concise, logical, legal, fair, and enforceable.

Monday's meeting will include a public comment period, and I urge you to attend and speak out. You will have a maximum of five minutes at the microphone.

One of our members recently complained to Assemblywoman Teresa R. Sayward about the Regulating District and its inane rule-revision process. I thought you’d like to see her response:

"I have spoken repeatedly with the DEC and the Governor's office regarding the tyrannical attitude of the District Board. Just this week I asked a representative of the Governor's and the Commissioner's office to visit the area and speak to the people. It is the DEC who will ultimately approve or disapprove the rules. I have asked them to disapprove them because of the lack of regard for the people. I will continue to try to make both agencies understand what the people who live on the Great Sacandaga are going through."

Assemblywoman Sayward, who represents the 113th District, may be reached at

The lake's level is currently at 765.35 feet above sea level -- almost exactly on target.