The National Grid case has been very active over the past six months and we expect this activity to continue through 2014. The attorneys are currently conducting in-depth depositions of many people - experts and other participants. The SPC attorney's actively participate in these depositions. For those who are not familiar with the National Grid case, the following is from our last newsletter and remains relevant:
National Grid claims they have been overcharged for the assessments it pays for benefits that it receives for the property they own along the Hudson River and the benefits they receive from the dam and reservoir that the District operates. National Grid seeks a decrease in their payments and an increase for everyone else.
Most concerning to us as permit holders is that National Grid also challenges the very existence of the HRBRRD's permit system. They claim that the HRBRRD does not have the authority to issue permits under Federal and State law, and that the permit system should be abolished. Should National Grid prevail on this issue we would lose the permit system as it currently exists.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (NYSDEC) current position is that the buffer strip of land around the lake should be open to the public. At this point in time the permit system is our only means of maintaining exclusive use of these lands. Without the permit system the NYSDEC would have their way opening these lands to the public.
It is for this reason that the SPC feels that we have no choice but to stay involved and that we cannot rely on the HRBRRD to best represent the interests of the permit holders in these lawsuits. While each of these suits is expected to cost us over $40,000 each, we feel this is a small amount to spend in comparison with what we permit holders have at stake. Property values around the lake would be significantly reduced if National Grid was to prevail.
The SPC has been fighting the Federal Lawsuit since 2009; we need the support of all permit holders to continue this legal battle.