Orange County Legislature Panel Urges Suit Over KJ Pipeline


lawsuit.jpgAn Orange County Legislature committee voted Thursday to urge County Executive Ed Diana to sue Kiryas Joel for a second time over the village’s proposed pipeline to the Catskill Aqueduct.

The matter now goes to the full Legislature on July 1.

The 6-3 vote came after lawmakers met behind closed doors for more than an hour with a lawyer who represented the county in a lawsuit it filed against Kiryas Joel in 2004, challenging the environmental review for the water project.

Two courts sided with the county in that case, forcing Kiryas Joel to elaborate on how the 13-mile pipeline would affect wastewater treatment and other issues.

The question before the county now is whether to contest the responses the village submitted this year, which would require another lawsuit.

Officials and activists from towns and villages around Kiryas Joel argue the amended review is flawed and have given the county papers detailing their arguments.

Many of them attended the intergovernmental relations committee meeting Thursday.

Most of the discussion that took place in open session involved the timing of the committee vote. Two lawmakers argued that it was premature to decide before a public hearing – tentatively scheduled for June 29 at Central Valley Elementary School.

Also, Diana and County Attorney David Darwin have not weighed in on the merits of another suit, which would have to be filed before July 31.

“I want to hear from those parties before I go ahead and make that decision,” said Tony Marino, D-Gardnertown.

The “yes” votes came from Republicans Frank Fornario, Dan Depew and Alan Seidman and Democrats Roxanne Donnery, Jim Kulisek and Noel Spencer. The “no” votes were cast by Republican Michael Pillmeier and Democrats Marino and Jeff Berkman.