Oneonta Residents Weigh In On Environmental Impact of Rail Yard Development


Express Concerns

On Railyards Plan

‘Eco Park’ Urged In Scene Setter

For March 5 Public Hearing On Site

Colleen Blacklock urged Common Council to consider including renewable energy sources in any business development plans in D&H yard during public comment at tonight’s meeting. (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – Though the formal public hearing on the Railyards Generic Environmental Statement isn’t until Tuesday, March 5, citizens told Common Council tonight that it doesn’t focus enough on used of renewables.

“I would like to see us explore this idea of an ‘eco park,’ a net-zero eco park with wind and solar and geothermal energies,” said Colleen Blacklock, who is associated with the Concerned Citizens of Oneonta.

OCCA President Vicky Lentz, Garrattsville, criticized the GEIS for focusing only on the D&H yards, which she called a “segmentation” analysis.

She said “interrelated projects,” such as the natural-gas decompressor station proposed for the Pony Farm commerce park, which drew protests from environmentalists, is “explicitly connected to the railyard development.”

“These interrelated projects could have a cumulative impact on the Greater Oneonta area,” she said.

Keith Shue, Cherry Valley, an Otsego 2000 technical adviser, supported a more comprehensive analysis.

Mark Davies, chair of the city’s Environmental Board, said the city needs to stop the advance of climate change.  “Climate change is a reality,” he said. “We will have all kinds of damage to our social, economic, and environmental fabric. It’s time for us to look forward, at renewable and green energies.”

After all public comments were heard, Mary Beth Bianconi, a Delaware Engineering partner, said she valued the feedback and said because there was no specific development plan, the GEIS only provided a generic analysis.

Common Council will hold a public hearing on the GEIS on March 5 and people can submit questions and comments on the project to Delaware Engineering from that date until March 18.

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