NH Dept. of Environmental Services sends strict standards to USA Springs, Inc. rep
In a letter dated October 10, 2013, the NH Department of Environmental Services reminds USA Springs, Inc.’s consultants that the company must meet strict standards for renewing their Large Groundwater Withdrawal Permit scheduled to expire July 1, 2014. This includes “demonstrating compliance with the large groundwater withdrawal/new source of bottled water rules and statutes…” AND addressing the following two issues:
1) complying with Administrative Order WD 02-31 concerning the company’s 2001 wetlands violations;
2) complying with the rule for instream flow, which the company declined to comply with in a letter dated January 13, 2010.
To read this letter and more, click here.
NH DES replies to USA Springs, Inc. about permit renewal request 7/19/13
Late Friday, July 19, 2013, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Service, Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau replied to USA Springs, Inc., a Delaware corporation currently in Chapter 7 bankruptcy for liquidation, concerning the company’s request for an extension for renewing their large groundwater withdrawal permit issued in 2004. At question are various changes in the law over the years, including administrative rules which govern how the law is applied. The letter to the corporation’s agent MyKroWaters, Inc. of Concord, MA is public record and can be downloaded here.
Town of Nottingham, NH attorney files letter with NH DES opposing permit renewal 7/18/13
Michael L. Donovan, attorney for the Board of Selectmen of Nottingham, NH, sent a four-page letter July 18, 2013 by mail and email to Brandon Kernen, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES), Large Groundwater Withdrawal Program, opposing the request of USA Springs, Inc. to extend the date to apply for a renewal of its large groundwater withdrawal permit in five main points. The letter is public record and may be downloaded here.
Neighborhood Guardians write to NH DES 7/15/13 stating renewal request should be denied
The Neighborhood Guardians sent a letter via mail and email to the NH Department of Environmental Service (DES) citing four reasons why USA Springs, Inc. should not be granted an extension to renew the large groundwater withdrawal permit. The reasons include:
1) USA Springs, Inc, is still under an Administrative Order from the state for wetlands violations that have not been mitigated;
2) The five-year New Sources of Bottled Water permit expired October 15, 2010;
3) A condition of the 2004 Large Groundwater Withdrawal Permit (LGWP) is that 12 months of monitoring must proceed before commercial pumping operations can commence;
4) There is no record on file with the US Bankruptcy Court that USA Springs, Inc. or its representatives have been given permission to expend funds for an extension of the LGWP.
The letter is public record and can be downloaded here.
USA Springs, Inc. sends permit renewal letter to NH DES 6/28/13
USA Springs, Inc. sent a large groundwater permit renewal request letter through its agent MyKroWaters, Inc. of Concord, MA dated June 28, 2013 to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES). The letter seeks DES’ position on what administrative rules apply for renewal, and also submits an extension request if the deadline was July 1, 2013. The letter is public record and can be downloaded here.
12 month countdown for USA Springs, Inc.’s water withdrawal permit begins July 1, 2013
What a difference twelve years of community activism makes! As of July 1, 2013, USA Springs, Inc., a Delaware corporation, has 12 months left on its state-issued large groundwater withdrawal permit. We can look forward soon to a future of water independence and sustainability. The July 1, 2004 permit issued by the NH Department of Environmental Services would have allowed the company to mine 307,528 gallons/day of groundwater. And, by working together, the people have saved 985,319,712–approaching one billion–gallons of water from being removed from the watershed since the company obtained the permit. USA Springs, Inc. is presently in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and faces legal liquidation of its assets. The corporation’s steel girders outlining the bottled water factory sit rusting in a field that borders highly valued wetlands for the towns of Nottingham and Barrington. Stay tuned, because the twists and turns in this case are notorious. SOG will keep you posted, as we have since 2001– so check back often, either here or on our Facebook page.
Water cycle featured on Google’s Earth Day doodle
Google celebrated Earth Day 2013 with an interactive and animated look at the water cycle in four seasons. You can check it out here: http://www.google.com/doodles/earth-day-2013 Happy Earth Day!
NH Senate Bill 167 killed in committee
NH Senate Bill 167 was killed by a 5-0 vote of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee March 21, 2013. The bill was deemed inexpedient to legislate, exactly what the NH Department of Environmental Services and lobbyists had asked for. The bill is dead for this session. We thank everyone who took the time to go to the public hearing and to submit written comment. Click here to review the bill’s history.
NH House Bill 663-FN would consolidate DES appeals boards
SOG encourages you to follow House Bill 663-FN which proposes to consolidate various Department of Environmental Services (DES) appeals boards into one appeals entity. The bill is assigned to the House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee. In a February 26, 2013 letter, DES asked for the bill to be retained in committee for further study. The committee voted to do this March 5th, 2013. This means that the committee will continue to study the bill and obtain more information before bringing it back for a vote.If nothing happens in this legislative session, it will be carried over into the next one.
For updates about the bill’s status, you can check the bill’s docket, which also provides the bill text.
We are bringing this bill to your attention because it would substantially change the way that appeals of DES decisions are handled. Currently, there is four appeals councils, one for each program area that issues permits. For the DES overview of how the process works now, click here.
NH Senate Bill 167 restores town authority in LGWs
Senate Bill 167 seeks to amend NH’s Groundwater Protection Act (RSA 485-C) by removing the language that excludes municipalities from passing ordinances about large groundwater withdrawals. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a public hearing about the bill March 13, 2013 with written comments due March 19. You can track the bill by entering SB 167 on the Senate’s bill track page. SOG is following this legislation and supported it because we believe it offers communities more water security and might foster more of a partnership approach between the state and towns in the large groundwater permitting process. We encourage you to contact members of the Committee with your written comments by March 19 and to copy your local delegation to the General Court. You may email comments to the committee’s aide Chris Cote at christopher [dot] cote [at] leg [dot] state [dot] nh [dot] us
The bill, sponsored by Senator John Reagan as a constituent request of Nottingham Selectmen Chair Mary Bonser, is trying to address the power relationship between the state and towns when it comes to local water security. Municipalities already have many ways they can act to protect water and think like a watershed such as prime wetlands zoning, aquifer protection zones, shoreland protection and declaring a proposal to be one of regional impact. It just doesn’t make sense to exclude large groundwater withdrawals which could potentially affect a town’s ability to host other businesses, expand residential housing or other land uses. Towns should not have to spend thousands of dollars defending their community water from the state’s decisions.