A local activist group dedicated to combating harmful algal blooms is renewing its campaign asking for state assistance in protecting water quality on Owasco Lake.
Urged on by the approaching end of a public comment period on proposed changes to a state permitting process for farms and the continued presence of HABs on the lake, Save Owasco Now! is asking members and residents to participate in a letter writing campaign to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
In response to a lawsuit, the state Department of Environmental Conservation in September posted the first draft of a revised permit governing Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) farms under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The publication of the draft triggered a public comment period, which is set to conclude Oct. 11.
At an emergency meeting Monday at the Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES, Auburn City Councilors and Save Owasco Now members Terry Cuddy and Jimmy Giannettino asked for members and the public to join a letter-writing campaign urging the DEC to apply the new permit requirements to all CAFOs, not just those under the CWA.
According to the DEC, 21 CAFOs in the state, none of which are in Cayuga County, are permitted under the CWA permit, while 477 CAFOs are governed by the state’s Environmental Conservation Law permits.