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Owasco Lake Lawsuit Moving to Albany Court


Auburn and Owasco’s lawsuit against the state over watershed rules and regulations will shift to an Albany court.

Auburn Corporation Counsel Nate Garland announced to City Council that Acting Cayuga County Supreme Court Justice Jon Buddelman made the decision to move the case out of his jurisdiction and into the Albany County Supreme Court.

Auburn, Owasco, and the Owasco Watershed Lake Association sued the state in January, alleging the Department of Health violated residents’ constitutional rights and was wrong to deny the city and town’s request for nutrient management regulations.

Auburn and Owasco officials have been pushing for a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and an update to the lake’s current rules and regulations, something that hasn’t seen an update since 1984. The TMDL is aimed at reducing the amount of harmful algal blooms on the lake by creating a maximum number of pollutants allowed to enter the lake.

In April of 2023, both the city and town entered into an agreement with Earthjustice, a law office specializing in environmental law, to help them achieve the changes necessary to protect Owasco Lake. The law office is working for the municipalities on a pro bono basis.

Following the decision to work with Earthjustice, the DOH cancelled two meetings scheduled with city staff to discuss rules and regulations for the lake.


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