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Legislature Considers Pushing for Full Environmental Impact Process for Cargill Mine Shaft Project

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Legislature Considers Pushing for Full Environmental Impact Process for Cargill Mine Shaft Project

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Responding to a measure advanced by Legislator Carol Chock, the Legislature, in 40 minutes of thoughtful discussion, considered whether the Legislature should urge the New York State of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to require Cargill to prepare a full Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed construction of a new mine shaft, as has been recommended by the County’s Environmental Management Council. A half-dozen residents addressed the Legislature, some members of the EMC, saying the higher level of review is needed to fully explore environmental concerns.

Former Legislator Mike Koplinka-Loehr, who lives near the project site, spoke in support of Cargill’s evaluation and efforts to date. The DEC has issued a negative declaration of environmental impact, and Legislator Chock said she sought through the resolution to bring transparency and have the DEC engage in a full public process should there be questions about potential impact. It was reported that the DEC has now increased the public comment period on the project by 30 days.

Mine Manager Shawn Wilczynski told Legislators, “We all have the same goals in mind: safety of the workers and sustainability of the mine,” and many who spoke, as well as Legislators, stressed they did not want an adversarial relationship. Legislator Dan Klein said the Legislature would be asking the DEC to apply the strictest level of environmental scrutiny to the project. In the end, the measure failed by a vote of 6-8, Legislators Dave McKenna, Glenn Morey, Martha Robertson, Mike Sigler, Peter Stein, Jim Dennis, Rich John, and Chair Michael Lane voting no.