‘Citizens’ Due For Reprise At Oneonta Council

‘Citizens’ Due

For Reprise At

Oneonta Council

Objecters Ignored In Final GEIS,

Email Says. But Mayor Disagrees

At the crowded public hearing in March, Hartwick College undergrad Will May urged Common Council to follow AOC’s “Green New Deal” in planning the city’s future. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Unhappy Concerned Citizens of Oneonta are expected back at tomorrow’s 7 p.m. Common Council meeting.

Common Council is expected to act on the GEIS – generic environmental impact statement – on the D&H railyards redevelopment, and Citizens’ email sent out Sunday says it “dismisses every single comment brought by the public.

“No changes were made at all.  And the city is now trying to plow ahead,” it states.

In the email, Concerned Citizens worried that once “approved,” the final GEIS would establish “a baseline for high impact, energy intensive development…not compatible with our community or the environment” and “could fast track unwanted industrial development in the middle of our city.”

First, Mayor Gary Herzig and Council member Russ Southard, whose Ward 6 includes the railyards, disagreed with the Citizens that council is “approving” the GEIS.  Instead, Council will be “accepting” it.

“The final GEIS does not do anything but identify environmental factors at the railyard.  It doesn’t authorize any project,” said Southard.  “Any future project would have to go through its own environmental impact review and have the state issue an impact statement.”

Herzig agreed, “If an actual project is proposed at any time in the future, it will have to get a full environmental review.”

While no changes were made in the GEIS that went before a stormy public hearing in March, each of the approximately 80 public comments were replied to, as required by law, and “not ignored,” the mayor said.

The City of Oneonta’s Common Council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in Common Council Chambers.

 


2 thoughts on “‘Citizens’ Due For Reprise At Oneonta Council

  1. Maureen M Dill

    Open Letter to the Oneonta Common Council
    Just this week, Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf issued an order for a study of the relationship between hydrofracking and the increasing frequency of cancers in children in Pennsylvania where fracking is taking place. A study in 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences detected the presence of fracking fluid chemicals in the drinking water of Pennsylvania households. Similarly, there was leakage into the atmosphere of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that could negate any climate benefit of shale gas use.

    In 2014 New York had issued its environmental assessment of fracking, detailing a wide range of health and climate concerns that underpinned Governor Cuomo’s decision to impose a statewide ban on the practice. The adverse environmental and public health consequences of fracking have grown worse over time. Cited are air impacts that could affect respiratory health due to increased levels of particulate matter, diesel exhaust or volatile organic chemicals; climate change impacts due to methane and volatile organic chemicals released into the atmosphere; drinking water contamination from underground migration of methane and/or fracturing fluid chemicals; seismic activity; surface water contamination; and negative impacts to community life.

    In the face of these studies, I challenge the members of the City of Oneonta Common Council to view their decision concerning the proposed railyard recompressor station through the lens of what would be considered ethically and morally correct. Any City planner or elected officials who might vote to approve the proposed recompressor site based on the economic benefits of bringing Pemsylvania’s fracked shale gas to Oneonta without first considering the damage being done to our fellow human beings in Pennsylvania would, in my opinion, be morally bankrupt! This is not a matter of economics but more a matter of ethics.

  2. gherzig

    Please be assured that there is NO decompressor station proposed or up for consideration. Good decisions require good information and we owe it to each other to strive to spread accurate information.

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