Saratoga County

Water lawsuit dismissed

The second of three lawsuits the owner of a private water company filed to stop the Saratoga Coun

PHOTOGRAPHER:

The second of three lawsuits the owner of a private water company filed to stop the Saratoga County water project has been dismissed.

The decision released Tuesday threw out a case brought by Saratoga Water Services and its president, Alexander Mackay, against the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the county Water Authority, and the county.

Mackay’s lawsuit challenged DEC’s December 2006 decision to issue a water supply permit the authority needed before construction work could start.

State Supreme Court Justice Thomas C. Lynch found Mackay and his company lacked standing to bring the lawsuit.

Lynch said Saratoga Water Services, a private water company in Malta, can’t argue it will suffer economic harm because the DEC review concerned only environmental matters.

Lynch also noted Mackay didn’t file objections during DEC’s permit review before filing the lawsuit, and that’s another ground for dismissal.

But issues of standing aside, Lynch said the case against issuing the permit wasn’t strong enough to succeed in court.

“A review of the merits would result in a dismissal of the petition,” Lynch wrote.

The authority chairman said he was pleased with the decision.

“It’s another in a long series of obstacles the water authority has had to overcome,” said Chairman John E. Lawler, R-Waterford.

Mackay declined comment on Wednesday, as did officials at the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Another Mackay lawsuit, charging the county’s environmental impact review was flawed, was dismissed last year.

Still pending is a lawsuit by Mackay that charges the Water Authority and state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation violated the state constitution by allowing part of the county water line to run through Moreau State Park. All parties have said there are settlement discussions concerning that lawsuit.

The $67 million county water project will pump up to 14 million gallons of public water from the upper Hudson River in Moreau to the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta, where the proposed Advanced Micro Devices computer chip factory would be a major customer.

The treatment plant and 28-mile water line are currently under construction. Courts hearing the lawsuits have refused to issue injunctions to stop construction.

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