Audio recording of Lafarge DEC hearing last night in Ravena

WGXC’s Sam Sebren made it out to record the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation legislative hearing for renewal and modification of the existing Lafarge Title V Air Permit application last night at 6 p.m. at the Ravena-Coeymans Selkirk High School Auditorium.

Click here to listen to mp3 audio recording of the hearing, or paste the following url into your computer’s media player:

Review the complete LaFarge application documents at this link: http://www.dec.ny.gov/dardata/boss/afs/draft_atv_l.html. The DEC will be accepting written comments until May 21. Please mail or email your comments & include the application number so your comments aren’t lost.
Mail to:
Sarah H. Evans
NYSDEC Region 4 Headquarters
1130 North Westcott Rd.
Schenectady, NY 12306
518-357-2069
r4dep@gw.dec.state.ny.us
Application ID# : 4-0124-00001/00112

30 speak, largely worried about mercury at Lafarge

From Brian Nearing in The Albany Times-Union:

Several hundred people turned out for a hearing Tuesday on the proposed state air pollution permit for the Lafarge cement plant, and nearly all gave the same message — the state must do more to limit the amount of mercury and other toxins coming from the smokestack. “I think we are splitting hairs here over just how much they are poisoning us,” said Leigh Jamison, who lives about seven miles downwind of the Route 9W plant in Stuyvesant, Columbia County. Nearly 30 people spoke during the three-hour hearing held across from the plant at Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Read the entire story in the Times-Union.

WGXC’s Sam Sebren was at the hearing, and made a recording we will upload on Wednesday.

Senate, Assembly approve extender budget

From Casey Seiler at Capitol Confidential:

The Senate approved the one-week extender on a straight party-line vote, 32-29 [which means Columbia County’s representative Steve Saland and Greene County’s James Seward both voted against the measure], while the Assembly vote was slightly more mixed: 82-56.

From Rick Karlin and Jimmy Vielkind at the Albany Times-Union:

Assemblyman Tim Gordon told the protesters he would vote against a budget extender. He had been undecided about the vote; by tying the furlough provision to a measure that funds the government, Paterson has jammed several legislators, particularly Capital Region representatives whose constituencies include large numbers of state workers. “If it’s not legal, it’s very difficult to vote for,” said Gordon, I-Bethlehem. “I’ve been deliberating all weekend, and I’ve come to my conclusion: I’m voting no.”

Final Lafarge public hearing May 11

Hilary Hawke in The Daily Mail reports:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced a legislative hearing for renewal and modification of the existing Lafarge Title V Air Permit application on May 11, 6 p.m. at the Ravena-Coeymans Selkirk High School Auditorium. All New York State contaminant-emitting facilities must have either a Title V Air permit, a state facility permit or a registration certificate. Lafarge’s permit expired in 2006 and it has been running under an extension since then. The company, which manufactures Portland cement and operates a limestone quarry, has extensive plans for modernizing the plant, the kilns and for reducing emissions. Administrative Law Judge Richard A. Sherman will preside over the hearing session and will accept unsworn statements on both the Title V application and the draft permit. Any member of the public potentially affected by the proposed project is invited to attend and provide oral or written comments. DEC originally gave public notice for the project in November 2009 and provided a 30-day comment period, later extended to 68 days, which ended on January 11, 2010. Rick Georgeson, DEC Region 4 spokesman, said the agency scheduled the May 11 hearing based on 44 comments, all in written or e-mail form, received during the public comment period. He also said 32 individuals expressed interest in further hearings. Georgeson said that after the May 11 hearing, “DEC will issue a response to the public comments. Going forward DEC can either issue or deny the Lafarge permit or issue a permit with added conditions.” The final decision can take anywhere from months to years. Read the entire story in The Daily Mail.

Gordon to host Hudson River estuary forum Thursday

From The Columbia Paper:

Assemblyman Tim Gordon (I-108th) will hold a public forum to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 29, at the Castleton Boat Club, 92 Main Street to discuss ideas and future plans for the Hudson River estuary. Castleton is on Route 9J just north of the Columbia County line. Among the guests at “Our Hudson River: A Community Conversation” will be state Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Coordinator Fran Dunwell, who will present the 2010-12 Draft Action Agenda and will field questions from the community about the DEC’s vision for the river. Other presenters and guests include Rene Van Schaak, a member of the Hudson River Management Advisory Board, and representatives from several community groups in the region. Parking is available at the club as are docking facilities for those arriving by boat.

Local newspaper chain buys last independent Greene County weekly

The Hudson-Catskill Newspaper Corp. — the company that runs the only daily newspapers in each county (The Daily Mail and Register-Star) as well as weekly papers in Chatham, Windham, and on the mountaintop — bought Greene County’s only remaining weekly, the Greene County Local Courier, and The Ravena News-Herald, from George McHugh, today’s issue of the Courier reports. The story names frequent contributor Melanie Lekocevic as new editor, and says H-CN plans to continue publishing both weeklies. The story does not say whether the purchased papers will now get web sites. Earlier this year The Greenville Press ceased publication.

Kinderhook’s Gibson to challenge Murphy in U.S. 20th Congressional District


WGXC recorded the nomination speech of Kinderhook Republican Congressional hopeful Chris Gibson today at 3 p.m. at the Desmond Hotel near the Albany airport. Click here to listen to an mp3 recording of Gibson’s short speech plus four questions from the assembled media. WGXC’s Tom Roe asks Gibson what he would do to help struggling dairy farmers in rural Greene and Columbia counties. Gibson said he supported the concept of eating locally grown food, and mentioned a farm workers bill in the state legislature. Gibson will try and unseat Democratic incumbent Scott Murphy in the fall. Gibson was the point guard of the Ichabod Crane High School basketball team, and a Colonel with 24 years in the Army including four combat tours of Iraq and one tour in Kosovo, with an array of medals such as a Purple Heart and two Legions of Merit. He has a Masters in Public Administration and PhD in Government from Cornell University, and served as a Congressional Fellow with U.S. Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA).