02 May 2016: State Agrees to AQF Request for Stay of Proceedings

[dropcap]Back[/dropcap] on April 20th I posted about how Aquafortis Associates LLC (“AQF”) filed yet another Request for Stay of Proceedings in the matter of the ongoing appeal of the Clary Lake Water Level Order (see: “Lawyers for Kelley, Smith file Yet Another Motion For Stay of WLO Appeal“). That latest Request for Stay was dated April 14th and requested a stay of proceedings until June 1st to give the parties additional time to try and arrive at a settlement. When I reported on this matter, the State had not yet responded to the Motion though I anticipated that they would not object to the stay request. On April 22nd they did respond, and as expected, they did not object.

That the State agreed to another Request for Stay of Proceedings wouldn’t be particularly newsworthy except that, much as the AQF request for stay was unusually revealing, so to is the State’s response revealing: while AQF’s request gave us a glimpse into what’s been going on behind the scenes from the dam and mill owner’s point of view, the State’s response gives us a glimpse into what’s been going on behind the scenes from DEP’s point of view. Between these two differing and carefully worded perspectives, we can get a pretty clear sense of what’s been going on for the last 3 months. I strongly recommend everyone with a vested interest in the outcome of these proceedings take the time to read the State’s response. I’m sure you’ll find it heartening:

Likewise, you might want to read (or re-read) AQF’s Request for Stay: 

One thing the State response makes perfectly clear is that DEP is pretty tired of being promised a settlement proposal, agreeing to stays of proceedings, and then not getting anything in return. It is pretty clear that this is the last Stay of Proceedings that DEP intends to agree to. They see June 1st as “the last possible date by which AQF may provide DEP with the information that AQF previously promised to provide and that DEP needs to meaningfully evaluate any settlement proposal for Clary Lake this summer.

Back on April 13th, the State requested a Status Conference. I understand one has been scheduled for June 7th. Obviously if an acceptable settlement is reached with DEP by June 1st, that status conference will be cancelled.

Keep your fingers crossed everyone; a month really isn’t that long to wait.