I spoke with Kathy Howatt this morning, she’s the DEP staff person in charge of the Pleasant Pond Mill LLC Petition for release from dam ownership. She said the petition was filed yesterday. This appears to conflict with state law which states that public notice of the intent to file a petition must be published in a paper (and provided to various people including lake shore owners) not more than 30 days before filing the petition. Such notice of intent has not be provided. So much for procedure.
Ms. Howatt said the Department has 15 days to determine if the petition is complete. She also said that the petition for release from dam ownership is completely separate and distinct from the water level petition and that at least for the time being both petitions would both be processed concurrently. However, she said the Department may at some point stay the water level petition proceedings for some specific period of time to provide the Department time to address the petition for release from dam ownership, and for the dam owner to find potential new owners of the dam. She did stress the fact that ultimately the outcome of the water level petition is independent of the outcome of the petition for release from dam ownership. For example, if Pleasant Pond Mill LLC were to find a new owner and transfer the dam to them, they would be off the hook but the new owner would be facing a pending water level order.