Citizens urge the Empire State Development Corporation not to include the proposed Niagara Water Bottling plant into the Start-Up NY program

When you complete this form, the below letter will be emailed (along with your polite comments) to Kenneth Adams, President of Empire State Development and copied to Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of SUNY, NY, and Donald Katt, President of SUNY Ulster. You will receive a copy as well.

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    Kenneth Adams
    Empire State Development

    Dear Mr. Adams:

    Last week, the Mid-Hudson Region Economic Development Council (MHREDC) denied a reported $10.8 million in Consolidated Funding Application grant money after receiving a LETTER from a growing coalition of fifteen organizations. The letter was supported by a PETITION signed by over 1500 citizens requesting that the MHREDC not award funds to the Niagara Bottling Company in this year's round of grants on December 10th. Although the Niagara Water Bottling facility had been ENDORSED by the MHREDC as a “Priority Project” on August 12th, 2014, the project was not selected to receive funding in the final round.

    We do not believe that the Niagara Bottling facility proposal supports or helps foster what is best about our great region. The economic impacts of 10-year tax exemptions offered by the Start Up New York program (including local school and property taxes) may well outweigh the benefits of 40 to 120 below-industry standard jobs, many of which are typically not offered to area residents, according to well-documented economic studies.

    SUNY Ulster President Donald Katt, in today’s Daily Freeman "DECISION ON NIAGARA BOTTLING APPLICATION FOR START-UP NY PROGRAM EXPECTED SOON", said that the company (Niagara) will offer internships to SUNY Ulster students and that “young people in such programs often wind up being hired by the outfit for full-time work.” In contrast, a new, active petition initiated by students at SUNY Ulster, requests that "SUNY ULSTER COMMUNITY COLLEGE RESCIND THEIR PROPOSED PARTNERSHIP WITH NIAGARA WATER BOTTLING COMPANY". Many industry and employment reports (Bureau of Labor Statistics) document that the water bottling industry employees have very high turnover, injury and illness rates. This is not an industry that links to SUNY’s educational mission articulated in The Power of SUNY, including 21st century, sustainability-oriented and environmentally-conscious education and job opportunities.

    The public has not had the benefit of information regarding the potential tax liabilities of the Niagara Bottling operation. The decisions regarding the use of public funds to attract this operation to New York State have been undisclosed. Given the Niagara company’s profits, it is very likely that the public incentives will amount to far more for each job than the employees will earn. Surely there are better uses of such funds in our community and with better outcomes for the public.Furthermore, New York State law specifically prohibits state agencies from funding an action until it has complied with the provisions of a State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR). Before considering the Niagara Bottling proposal for a tax abatement, we urge the Empire State Development Corporation to allow the full environmental review process to occur so that all its related impacts can be evaluated, including the construction and operation of the plant, the sale of the water, the implications for Kingston's overall water supply, the infrastructure required for withdrawals, and the potential impacts to the water bodies from which Kingston draws its water supplies.

    Therefore, we urge the Empire State Development Corporation not to include the proposed Niagara Water Bottling plant into the Start-Up NY program and ask that
    you provide the details of the Start Up New York program request for the Niagara Bottling project so the public has an opportunity to understand the evaluation process you are conducting on our behalf.

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    7 thoughts on “Citizens urge the Empire State Development Corporation not to include the proposed Niagara Water Bottling plant into the Start-Up NY program”

    1. Pingback: Kingston Citizens
    2. I have been privy to some excellent information provided by Kingston Citizens. I have read the information carefully and I think they have done an open and very competent job of informing me and taking some impressive action to allow me to have my voice heard… this work is exceptional and is in stark contrast to the government organizations which have done nothing of the kind…

      This huge huge company must not be paid with public money to sweeten their investment.

    3. The plans for this project have been done in a secretive way, I believe, because the City of Kingston Water Commission knew from the beginning that this project has only one benefit – to them only – to help fund the needed repairs to their crumbling system. Lack of preparation and foresight
      has propelled them into entertaining a deal with Niagara that will by far be more negative than positive to the greater Kingston area,
      and disastrous for the Woodstock area. It must not go forward without a total, complete review of all aspects, including the “hidden” real
      out of pocket costs to Kingston/Ulster, to Woodstock, and to the Hudson/Esopus river. This will prove the enormously deleterious effects of a Niagara Bottling plan to this pristine area – tourist destination and home to people who value a clean, beautiful environment. To proceed would be akin to shooting oneself in the foot. Dumb, narrow-visioned, short-sighted, and evil. PLEASE CONSIDER ALL OF THE ABOVE, AND DENY THIS PROJECT FROM NEW YORK STATE’S START-UP PROGRAM. If it goes ahead, I suggest the Start Up program be re-named – NY DAMNS ITS BEAUTIFICATION, ENVIRONMENTAL & SUCCESS PROGRAM. WE SELL OUT TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER, TO HELL WITH THE RESIDENTS.

    4. I want to be kept current on developments regarding Cooper Lake. I grew up in Woodstock, NY (brush and canvas Woodstock, not electric guitar Woodstock). I feel that the Cooper Lake sell-out is a terrible idea that would jeopardize the water supply for citizens of the Woodstock-Kingston area. Penny-wise, pound-foolish. Don’t do it!
      Meed Barnett

    5. By what right can Kingston sell Woodstock’s water.
      I understood that Kingston had the right to the amount of water required for Kingston.
      By what right do they propose to take more than they need and sell it?
      If they need money, find a better way to raise it.
      Don’t sell out the environment.

      • The City of Kingston owns Cooper Lake that is in the Town of Woodstock. We are working together to start to change the paradigm here, however, in the way our municipalities think about its water source and its neighbors. It is high time! Thank you for your comments.


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