A Lake Hopatcong business owner filed suit in state Superior Court in Morristown Tuesday in an effort to stop the state Department of Environmental Protection's proposed 5-foot drawdown of the lake, the New Jersey Herald reported.
In a published statement, Bridge Marina owner Ray Fernandez said he saw no other choice but to take legal action. He said that following the 2008 drawdown, a lack of precipitation made it difficult for the the lake to get back to its usual level, 9 feet, and he blamed the drawdown for water issues that negatively impacted access to the lake and boosted the growth of weeds in 2009.
"Unfortunately, the NJ DEP has been unwilling to consider alternatives to the 60-inch drawdown and has ignored all compromise on this issue and other key issues facing the lake's health," he said in the statement.
Among other things, the suit argues that the water lowering permit is illegal because state law says those types of permits are only issued to protect natural resources, the article continued. The DEP allegedly said the drawdown is for "dock repairs." Fernandez said that if his request for injunction is not granted before the DEP's water lowering permit becomes effective Sept. 22, it will result in "irreparable harm to the public and plaintiff."