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New York Consolidated Laws, Environmental Conservation Law - ENV § 15-0103. Legislative findings

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Article 15 shall be construed and administered in the light of the following findings of fact:

1. The sovereign power to regulate and control the water resources of this state ever since its establishment has been and now is vested exclusively in the state of New York, except to the extent of any delegation of power to the United States;

2. New York State has been generously endowed with water resources which have contributed and continued to contribute greatly to the position of preeminence attained by New York in population, agriculture, commerce, trade, industry and outdoor recreation;

3. Adequate and suitable water for water supply, domestic, municipal, industrial, agricultural and commercial uses, power, irrigation, transportation, fire protection, sewage and waste assimilation, the growth of forests, maintenance of fish and wildlife, recreational enjoyment and other uses is essential to the health, safety and welfare of the people and economic growth and prosperity of the state;

4. In recent years our population growth and the development and use of new technology and processes have resulted in demands for more water and the equitable use thereof for these purposes;

5. In recent years recreational activities are making new and greater demands on lakes and streams of the state for boating, fishing, bathing and water sports, and the lands adjacent thereto for campsites, access areas and public beaches;

6. The growth of cities and urban areas and their expansion into formerly rural areas has in many cases resulted in the filling in, diversion and destruction of water courses, necessarily destroying aquatic habitat and lessening supplies of water for multiple use purposes;

7. Increased motorized highway travel and public safety are requiring the construction of new, better and larger public highways which may alter the water ways of the state and encroach upon water courses and affect their uses;

8. All fish, game, wildlife, shellfish, crustacea and protected insects in the state, except those legally acquired and held in private ownership, are owned by the state and held for the use and enjoyment of the people of the state, and the state has a responsibility to preserve, protect and conserve such terrestrial and aquatic resources from destruction and damage and to promote their natural propagation;

9. The unreasonable, uncontrolled and unnecessary interference with or defilement and disturbance of water courses create hazards to the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state causing great economic loss by erosion of soil, increased costs of water purification and treatment, the loss of crop lands and forests by flooding, the destruction and failure of natural propagation of fish and aquatic resources and the loss of water for domestic, industrial, navigational, municipal, agricultural, recreational and other beneficial uses and purposes;

10. The unreasonable and unregulated (a) interference with the channels and beds of lakes and streams by construction of dams, roads and other structures, (b) alteration of water courses and gradients, (c) impounding of water, (d) dredging and filling in of stream beds, and the unreasonable removal of sand, gravel or other materials from streams, and by other action, have resulted in pollution of such waters, increase in turbidity and the deposit of silt and debris, irregular variations of velocity, temperature and levels of water, erosion of banks and uplands and the flooding of valuable lands;

11. The department, and two of its predecessors, the Water Resources Commission and the Water Pollution Control Board, has classified substantially all of the waters of the state;

12. The department, pursuant to title 11 of article 15 of the Environmental Conservation Law, is continuing the work of its predecessor, the Water Resources Commission in undertaking comprehensive planning for the protection, conservation and development of the water resources of the state;

13. It is in the best interest of the state that provision be made for the regulation and supervision of activities that deplete, defile, damage or otherwise adversely affect the waters of the state and land resources associated therewith.

Cite this article: - New York Consolidated Laws, Environmental Conservation Law - ENV § 15-0103. Legislative findings - last updated January 01, 2021 |

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