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Colarusso Mining Expansion Permit: DEIS Not Adequate to Protect Public Health and Safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hudson NY
April 5, 2007

Friends of Hudson Files Comments on Colarusso Mining Expansion Permit; Calls for Substantial Revision and Additional Permit Conditions
Expert Review Finds Potential Environmental Impacts Have Not Been Adequately Addressed

Hudson, NY – Late Monday afternoon (April 2) Friends of Hudson (FoH) submitted comments to the NYS DEC on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for A. Colarusso & Son’s Mining Expansion Permit Application.

The SEQRA process under which this application is reviewed relies on public comment as well as on the applicant’s submission and DEC analysis of it to fully understand and address all issues that effect the environment. “It is important that there be an independent review of the Colarusso mining proposal to consider potential impacts to the health and safety of the general community,” said FoH’s president Christopher Reed. “Colarusso is an important contributor to the local economy. A thorough review of this application can ensure that economic benefits would not be offset by environmental impacts. The opportunity afforded by public participation in the review process provides the oversight necessary to ensure that” he said.

Friends of Hudson’s review concentrated primarily on water, air and traffic impacts because these were of most significant concern to the public and the areas in which there would likely be the most impacts. The review concluded that the DEIS as written could allow for significant and potentially preventable harm to the City of Hudson’s back-up reservoir, degrade air quality and increase traffic congestion.

After careful review FoH has concluded that the DEIS cannot be accepted as final by the DEC unless and until the issues raised in FoH’s comments are specifically addressed in a supplemental or substantially revised environmental impact statement. Moreover, FoH asserted that there are special permit conditions that must be included in a draft permit and that their exclusion would raise substantive and significant issues for adjudication.

In calling for these revisions and the special conditions, Friends’ Director Susan Falzon noted, “DEC permits often include conditions but then fail to identify repercussions for violations.” She said that “FoH is therefore calling for the DEC to expressly identify mandatory corrective actions for violations and that any violation of protective conditions for the City of Hudson’s reservoir be the basis for immediate permit revocation.”

In conclusion FoH found that the DEIS needs to be supplemented or substantially revised to include:
• A specific proposed annual production cap
• An expanded fugitive dust plan
• A threshold analysis of PM2.5 impacts
• Detailed information regarding all air emissions
• A detailed, proposed Stormwater Management Plan
• An expanded grading plan
• A detailed assessment of the projected future market demand
• A detailed traffic study that provides an accurate assessment of projected traffic

In addition to the above, if after review and comment on the SEIS is completed and DEC decides to issue a permit to allow for the proposed expansion of mining activities on the City of Hudson property, the following Special Conditions must be included:
• An annual production cap for the existing and expanded mine;
• Specific prohibition against mining below the existing groundwater table elevation of 197 feet above mean sea level (famsl);
• Specific, mandatory dust prevention and dust control measures;
• Requirement that the Colarusso mine is in full compliance with the DEC Commissioner’s Policy on fine particulate emissions;
• Specific, mandatory storm water control measures during the life of the mine, which prevent any surface runoff (contaminated or not) to come in contact with the City Reservoir.
• Conditions regarding blasting at least as stringent as those in the existing permit;
• Conditions limiting truck traffic volume and prescribing designated roadways and specific times for travel, in order to prevent or mitigate impacts to residents in and around the Colarusso mine.

If the DEC adopts FoH’s recommendations the result will be a far better outcome for all concerned. “Careful oversight of implementation is as important as reviewing the plan itself,” Falzon said. “We have identified issues that the DEC and Colarusso, along with the Hudson Department of Public Works, the Mayor, and the Common Council, as well as elected officials in Greenport and Claverack need to monitor in the future to ensure protection of public health and safety, assuming that the DEC issues a permit at the end of this review process.”

Summary of FoH Findings and Recommendations, click here.

Complete text of FoH’s comments to DEC, click here.

Fuss & O’Neill hydrogeology report, click here.

For more information call (518) 822-0334 or email to info@friendsofhudson.org