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DRBC Publishes Proposed Rulemaking On New York City Delaware Basin Reservoirs Management Plan
Informational Meetings, Public Hearing, and Comment Period Scheduled

For Immediate Release

December 3, 2007

(WEST TRENTON, N.J.) -- Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Executive Director Carol R. Collier announced the schedule for informational meetings and a public hearing to be held on proposed regulations published today to implement a Flexible Flow Management Program (FFMP) for operation of the three New York City Delaware Basin reservoirs.

Informational meetings on the proposed amendments will be held December 18, 2007 at the Best Western Inn at Hunt's Landing, 120 Routes 6 and 209, in Matamoras, Pa. and on January 8, 2008 at the offices of Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen LLP, 1650 Arch Street, 26th Floor Meeting Room, in Philadelphia, Pa. (easily accessible from Suburban Station on SEPTA's regional rail line).  The times for both locations will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.  Each informational meeting will include a presentation followed by a question and answer period.

The public hearing to receive comments on the proposed rulemaking will take place January 16, 2008 at the West Trenton Volunteer Fire Company, 40 West Upper Ferry Road, in West Trenton, N.J., from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (or until all those who wish to testify have had an opportunity to do so).  A brief informational presentation will precede public testimony at both sessions.

"The proposed amendments to the DRBC's Water Code and Comprehensive Plan published today on the commission's web site are consistent with provisions of a September 26 agreement unanimously reached by the parties to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decree that provides a comprehensive framework for addressing multiple flow management objectives," Collier said.

The FFMP is intended to provide a more adaptive means for managing the Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink reservoirs for competing uses including: water supply; drought management; flood mitigation; protection of the tailwaters fishery; a diverse array of habitat needs in the main stem river, estuary, and bay; recreation; and salinity repulsion.  The 1954 decree, which resolved an interstate water dispute centering on the New York City reservoirs, made no provision for spill mitigation, conservation or ecological releases.

The law creating the DRBC gives the commission the power to allocate the waters of the basin, but prohibits it from adversely affecting the New York City reservoir releases or diversions as provided in the 1954 decree without the unanimous consent of the five decree parties.

The parties to the 1954 Supreme Court decree include Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York State, and New York City.  The members of the DRBC are the four basin states and the federal government.

The FFMP agreement reached by the decree parties on September 26 is being implemented on a temporary basis by New York State and New York City, in coordination with the Delaware River Master appointed under the decree, while DRBC conducts its notice and comment rulemaking process.  The previous interim fishery releases program and temporary spill mitigation program both expired on September 30.

"Based on the public comments received during the rulemaking process, the DRBC may modify its proposed regulations and request that the decree parties consent to adoption of the final regulations," Collier said.  "I encourage all interested members of the public to fully participate in the administrative process in order to help obtain the best result that balances the competing demands on water."

The FFMP would largely eliminate the reservoir storage "banks" previously used for habitat protection purposes and instead base releases on storage levels, resulting in larger releases when water is abundant and smaller releases when reservoir storage is at or below normal.

The FFMP agreement's spill mitigation component is intended to reduce the likelihood that the three reservoirs could be full and spilling coincident with a major storm or thaw.  It does not include specified void targets or permanent voids.

Written comments will be accepted through the close of business on January 18, 2008, and should be mailed to: Commission Secretary, DRBC, P.O. Box 7360, 25 State Police Drive, West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360.  Comments also may be faxed to "Attn: Commission Secretary" at (609) 883-9522 or emailed to paula.schmitt@drbc.state.nj.us.   All written comments should include the name, address, and affiliation (if any) of the commenter, along with "FFMP" in the subject line.  Comments on the earlier FFMP agreement that was published in February 2007 but subsequently withdrawn by the decree parties will be included in the administrative record for this action and need not be resubmitted.

The complete public rulemaking notice, including a summary of the proposed amendments, the text of the proposed rule, and directions to the public meetings/hearing, along with additional information, can be found on the commission's web site at www.drbc.net.

The DRBC was formed by compact in 1961 through legislation signed into law by President John F. Kennedy and the governors of the four basin states with land draining to the Delaware River (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania).  The passage of this compact marked the first time in our nation's history that the federal government and a group of states joined together as equal partners in a river basin planning, development, and regulatory agency.


Contact: Clarke Rupert, DRBC, 609-883-9500 ext. 260, clarke.rupert@drbc.state.nj.us