ACTION: Request Positive Declaration Determination in SEQR for the Proposed Niagara Bottling Company project.

By Rebecca Martin

ACTIONContact those listed below to alert them that the ACTION in the current Environment Assessment Form (EAF) for SEQR (drafted by Niagara/The Chazen Companies) is too narrow in scope and might jeopardize a positive declaration determination which would allow for a full Environmental Impact Statement  and further public Comment.

Please write a letter (you can use the text below, although it’s always better to include your own thoughts on the matter, too)  to the following:

Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley (Lead Agency)

ulstersupervisor@townofulster.org

Town of Ulster Clerk Jason Cosenza (request that the letter be submitted and read to Town Board at their next meeting)

townclerk@townofulster.org

Peter Romano, The Chazen Companies (Niagara’s Consultant)

promano@chazencompanies.com

 

Date: xxx
To: Contact
From: Your Name
Re: Proposed Niagara Bottling Company SEQR Action and Positive Declaration Determination

Dear xxx

I am writing regarding the proposed Niagara Bottling Company SEQR process that will shortly get underway.  In the current Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) for SEQR that was drafted by the Chazen Companies on behalf of the Niagara Bottling Company, the Action is too narrow in scope. It does not include the sale of water from its supply sources in Woodstock to Niagara and is a critical part of the entire project that needs to be environmentally reviewed by SEQR under one Lead Agency before any decisions can be made or actions taken by any involved agency, including the City of Kingston Water Department.

Known as segmentation which is illegal in SEQR, the impression might be that the  facility build and the Water for bottling/purchase and delivery are two separate Actions.  Without the Action including both together, a fair SEQR Determination may be jeopardized.

As things currently stand, as of November 16th, 2014 “Lead Agency” for SEQR will be determined. Shortly after which, a positive or negative declaration by said Lead Agency will be determined.  A SEQR Determination helps to decide whether or not a proposed project will have any significant adverse impact on the environment.  

A SEQR Determination is one of the following:   ‘Positive’ (when an action is determined to have potentially significant adverse environmental impacts and requires an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) where the public’s input will become a part of the process);   ‘Negative’ (the action is determined not to have significant adverse environmental impacts) or ‘Conditioned’ (a non-significant action through enforceable terms).

I urge the Lead Agency to declare a Positive Declaration for this SEQR Action for the following reasons:

1)  The Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) filed on XXXX, 2014, contained inaccuracies, including not identifying the Lower Esopus Creek as a “Designated Inland Waterway,” which would trigger a coastal “consistency review.”  According to the DEC, “ If an activity is determined to be inconsistent with State coastal policies, the federal agency is not allowed to proceed to authorize or undertake the action.”  

2) The Action, as described in the EAF, does not include the sale of water from its supply sources in Woodstock to Niagara and is a critical part of the entire project that needs to be environmentally reviewed by SEQR as part of the “Whole Action”; and

3)  The impacts upon the Cooper Lake watershed, the Lower Esopus Creek, and the six communities that depend upon the water supply in emergencies may be significant and may not be adequately determined by the Water Department’s current safe yield study, unless that analysis takes the full range of hydrology, ecosystem services, erosion and sediment trends, and a number of other factors into account.

Thank you for your consideration.

Name
Municipality

###

Now that two memoralizing resolutions have passed through Kingston’s Common Council on Tuesday of last week (we have yet to receive copies but will post when we do) supporting both the DEC as Lead Agency and the City of Kingston as Involved Agency in SEQR,  KingstonCitizens.org is looking at the next critical step the public can take.

November 16th is the deadline for determining Lead Agency. The ony remaining Involved Agency left to approve the Town of Ulster to take that role was the DEP.  we understand that as of yesterday, a letter was submitted approving the TOU to do so.

Whichever way it goes, what will be critical next is for a POSITIVE DECLARATION to be the determination for the proposed Niagara Bottling project in SEQR.  All that is required is ONE single significant environmental concern for this to occur.

Read the LETTER submitted to the Town of Ulster by the DEC sharing just some of the implications of Niagara Bottling Companies proposal.

The text in the draft letter above is also written step by step below. Familiarize yourself with SEQR and send your letters out today!

Thank you for being a strong citizen advocate for your community.

– Rebecca Martin

SEQR Determination 

1. The SEQR EAF (Environmental Assessment Form) written by the Chazen Companies on behalf of Niagara is too narrow, only proposing the ‘construction of a water bottling facility’.

2. The Kingston Water Board is an ‘involved ‘agency in the EAF and water is necessary for a Water bottling facility. The ACTION does not include the sale of water from its supply sources in Woodstock to Niagara and is a critical part of the entire project that needs to be environmentally reviewed by SEQR under ONE Lead Agency (that being the DEC) before any decisions can be made or actions taken by any involved agency, including the City of Kingston Water Department.

3. Therefore, the impression is perhaps that the facility build and the Water for bottling purchase/delivery are two separate ACTIONS.  Without the ACTION including both together, a fair SEQR Determination may be jeopardized.

A SEQR Determination helps to decide whether or not a proposed project will have any significant adverse impact on the environment.  A SEQR Determination is one of the following:

‘Positive’
when an action is determined to have potentially significant adverse environmental impacts and requires and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) where the public’s input will become a part of the process.

 

 ‘Negative’
the action is determined not to have significant adverse environmental impacts.

 

‘Conditioned’
a non-significant action through enforceable terms.

2 thoughts on “ACTION: Request Positive Declaration Determination in SEQR for the Proposed Niagara Bottling Company project.

  1. Frack Free Catskills is part of NEPipeline.org and we received information from an activist leader about pipeline corporate procedure which may be relevant for the Kingston Water sale issue RE: importance of close monitoring of Planning Board input, request all records, etc. I copy below.
    JW

    On Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 6:55 AM, rnied wrote:
    The pipeline company (or its agents) approach the Planning Boards to gain an understanding of the literal landscape (Planning Boards being the supposed Subject Matter Experts on local features including the location of wetlands, topology, historical/sensitive districts, etc.). They also do it to get a feel of the figurative landscape. They are attempting to see how cooperative each Town will be. By supplying this information the Planning Boards are helping the pipeline company check their necessary boxes and move closer to approval. It would be great if the local Planning Boards were less then helpful but that is not likely to happen. (It is helpful if local Town Boards pass resolutions opposing the pipeline.)

    There is something that should be watched for very carefully – the pipeline company will try and leverage the Planning Board to provide information favorable to the pipeline that they can use in an attempt to influence the EIS. We have had at least one case in which the family of the Planning Board Chair (impacted landowners) was given very lucrative easement deals (much higher than adjacent landowners) by the pipeline company and in response the PB Chair bent over backwards to help the pipeline company, including attempting to fast track local zoning approval of a proposed contractor yard (pipeline staging area). It is very important to keep a close eye on the local processes and detect and act on potential conflicts of interest. The pipeline company knows all the tricks and AECOM, as their agent, has been doing this for very long time.

    It is also important to request copies of everything the Planning Board is providing to AECOM/Kinder-Morgan by filing Freedom of Information requests. (I would be happy to assist with those filings if folks are unfamiliar with the process).

  2. I am in support of protecting the natural environment (NON industrializtion), protection of our water supply, keeping it free and clean, AND moving always forward in the direction of alternative energy and carbon free development.

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