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Protest beneficiary plan for Sacandaga

Protest beneficiary plan for Sacandaga

Peter Van Avery, Edinburg

 

A bill passed by the state Legislature requires the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District, which governs Great Sacandaga Lake, to seek additional “beneficiaries” to pay for this flood-control reservoir’s operation. It’s obviously aimed at the wallets of the lake’s access permit holders and property owners in surrounding communities.

How can you be considered a “beneficiary” of a flood-control reservoir if you live above its dam? People are urged to join a protest rally sponsored by the Sacandaga Protection Committee. It’s scheduled for 9 a.m. today (July 10) outside the Bradt Building in Northville. The district’s board will be holding its July meeting inside, beginning at 10 a.m.

Great Sacandaga Lake was created in 1930 to prevent floods that ravaged downstream communities like Albany and Troy. It has allowed construction of property worth $3.2 billion on the upper Hudson’s 100-year floodplain. The district assesses downstream “beneficiaries” for this flood protection: five counties (Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Warren and Washington), the state, and hydro-power companies.

The counties pay the district a total of just $3 million annually. But they want to pay less. The legislators, none of whom voted against the bill, ignored the fact that two-thirds of Great Sacandaga (the southern section) falls within Fulton County, one of the state’s poorest. The remainder (the northern section) is in Saratoga County, which already pays an assessment as a downstream “beneficiary.” Are property owners in this section going to be double billed?

Peter Van Avery

Edinburg

 

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