Legal Challenges to Lake Source Cooling
The Cayuga Lake Defense Fund is currently involved in a legal effort
over Lake Source Cooling
CLDF recently published A Citizen's
Guide to Water Quality Hazards Posed by Cornell University's Lake Source
Cooling Project. This guide details possible violations of federal
environmental law involving LSC, in addition to concerns already published
The Cayuga Lake Defense Fund and a top Albany-based environmental law
firm are also continuing to assist 10 local citizens with a lawsuit which
seeks to reverse a variety of approvals for the Cornell Lake Source
Cooling project (LSC). The lawsuit challenges the actions of Cornell
University, the Town of Ithaca, and the Ithaca City School District. An
appeal was filed in April 1999 and is still pending.
Overall Basis of Cayuga Lake Defense Fund's legal action
CLDF believes that the Town of Ithaca and the Ithaca City School District
have violated a number of required legal procedures in their approvals of
Lake Source Cooling.
The Legal Basis
- The rezoning by the Town of Ithaca
- We believe that the rezoning for the site of the proposed heat-exchange
facility was granted illegally, as approval was conditioned on Cornell
granting the Town's request for long-term access to Cornell-owned lake
property. In addition, four of the seven voting members of the Town of
Ithaca Board have ties directly or through marriage to Cornell University.
We believe that Cornell did not abide by its legal obligation to disclose
these affiliations when applications for LSC were filed.
- The subdivision approvals and
the site-plan approvals by the Town of Ithaca Planning Board
- We believe that the subdivision and site-plan approvals for the project
were granted illegally because a Planning Board is not allowed to require a
park (as it did in this case) for any subdivision other than a residential
subdivision. The proposed site is non-residential.
- The Ithaca City School District's Infrastructure and Easement
- We believe that the Ithaca City School District acted illegally by
approving a permanent easement across District property without a required
voter referendum. 1996 Education Law prohibits the sale or conveyance of
real-property and the expenditure of tax money without voter approval.
Will there be a challenge based upon environmental aspects of Lake Source
In addition to its ongoing lobbying and awareness efforts, the Cayuga Lake
Defense Fund is investigating all potential avenues for legal challenges to
Lake Source Cooling. On December 15, 1998 CLDF released its
Citizen's Guide to Water Quality Hazards Posed by Cornell University's Lake Source Cooling Project which details possible violations of federal environmental laws by the LSC project.
The goal of the Citizen's Guide and the current lawsuit is to
overturn all illegal or invalid approvals of Lake Source Cooling. It is our
belief that in view of the mounting information against the project,
our local, state or federal public officials will reject Lake Source Cooling.
Prepared by the
Cayuga Lake Defense Fund (CLDF)
For more information, Call: (607) 275-9054 or 272-7914