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Corps Comment period extended by 20 days

HUDSON, N.Y. -- In response to requests from intervenors, the U.S. Corps of Engineers has agreed to extend the public comment period for its review of the coal-fired St. Lawrence Cement project by 20 days.

The extension, which had been rumored for some days, was verified in a call Friday between Friends of Hudson attorney Jeffrey S. Baker with Richard L. Tomer, Chief of the New York District Regulatory Branch. Other intervenors, such as the Hudson Valley Preservation Coalition, had also requested the extension.

A formal notice from the Corps is expected on Monday, but Tomer told Baker that he was free to inform others so that there would not be uncertainty over the weekend. An exact date was not specified in the call, but Friends of Hudson believes the extension runs to 5 pm on Monday, April 21st.

The extension applies to all groups and all members of the public.

“We appreciate the Corps’ willingness to help make sure everyone gets a chance to make their views heard,” said Friends’ executive director Sam Pratt. “From the deluge of comments already received, I think they recognize just how extraordinary the level of public concern about SLC’s plans is.”

Pratt also noted that since the Corps’ review cannot be finalized until certain other agencies have completed their own review (such as the NYS Department of State’s Division of Coastal Resources), it is likely that the configuration of SLC’s proposal may change after the 20-day extension expires. “To the extent that the project’s design changes down the road, we will reserve our right to comment on any changes, even if they occur years from now,” he said.

Friends of Hudson has created an online guide to the Corps public comment period at the address below. The site includes email, fax, and regular addresses for submitting comments, as well as descriptions of the process and issues. Click HERE to go to the guide.