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.

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.

AG: New York settles with Lafarge over emissions

From Casey Seiler in Capitol Confidential:

[A] multistate settlement, just announced by the office of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, includes 11 other states and affects operations at 13 cement plants — including the Ravena facility that’s been the subject of controversy for years.

According to the Attorney General’s press release, the settlement requires LaFarge to take the following steps:

* Eliminate a total of over 9,000 tons of nitrogen oxide and 26,000 tons of sulfur dioxide each year from its plants, including those in upwind states whose pollution impacts New York.
* Either construct a new Ravena plant – as the company has proposed – or retrofit the existing facility with aggressive air pollution reduction technology. In either case, Ravena’s air pollution emissions will be cut by roughly 2,000 tons of nitrogen oxide and 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide each year – equivalent to reductions of more than 30% and 80%, respectively.
* Pay a civil penalty and provide funding for environmental benefit projects totaling $5.07 million, with $3.38 million of that amount going to the federal government and the coalition of states receiving $1.69 million. Of that amount, New York State will receive $490,000 to fund energy efficiency and pollution reduction mitigation projects in communities near the Ravena plant.

Today’s local headlines

Greene Supports Cement
http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2009/07/16/news/doc4a5e963a75857373047517.txt

CATSKILL — Greene County lawmakers on Wednesday roundly endorsed operations of local cement manufacturers to remind state and federal officials that the industry is important to the local economy. The support was given in a unanimous vote, with one absence, during a county Legislature meeting, where officials asked that funding for modernization be considered for Holcim U.S. and Lehigh Northeast Cement Co. in Catskill as well as LaFarge North America in Ravena in Albany County.

Ulster has first swine flu death
http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2009/July09/17/swineflu_UC_fatal-17Jul09.html

KINGSTON – Ulster County Thursday reported its first swine flu associated fatality. The individual was a man from Saugerties who had been hospitalized with underlying medical conditions in addition to the flu.

Hudson Valley Job Losses
http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2009/July09/17/unemp-17Jul09.html

The Hudson Valley lost another 18,300 jobs year over year in June, bringing to 746,400 the number of people who have become unemployed in the last 12 months, the state Labor Department reported Thursday. Putnam is feeling the least relative pain, with a 7 percent jobless rate last month. At the bottom, Sullivan and Greene, close to 9 percent.

DOT: Portions of Route 23 to close
http://www.thedailymail.net/articles/2009/07/16/windham_journal/news/doc4a5e4e126cd25036863359.txt

ASHLAND – The Department of Transportation will be close a section of Route 23 between the towns of Ashland and Prattsville starting July 20 to address long-recognized slope stabilization problems adjacent to the old Catholic church. Both lanes will be shut down to fix the road. This is the first of three jobs, totaling $2.2 million, on Route 23, though the other two will not shut down both lanes. A detour will be set up on Route 296 in Windham and then onto Hensonville and Hunter, where they can connect with Route 23A into Prattsville, more than 20 miles out of the way.

Utility ratepayers could get stuck for millions in unfunded stimulus program
http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2009/July09/17/util_rates-17Jul09.html

ALBANY – The federal stimulus package is going to providefunds for New York utilities – including Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation and Orange and Rockland Utilities – but the money would only pay for half of the cost of the $1 billion program. Smart grid utility projects proposed by the utility companies may qualify for stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. The term smart grid refers to the application of various digital technologies to, among other things, modernize and automate transmission and distribution assets to anticipate and respond to system disturbances, enable greater use of variable energy sources, including renewable energy, and provide the capability for customers to control their energy consumption effectively.

Greene Lawsuit Settled
http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2009/07/17/news/doc4a5fe6fec5bb0085621011.txt

CATSKILL — Greene County lawmakers have agreed to pay an engineering firm $35,000 to settle a lawsuit over disputed bills for services. At a Legislature meeting Wednesday, officials said the county had withheld $24,899 from Crawford and Associates Engineering for services on the county Mental Health building in Cairo and $30,368 from the firm for its alleged failure to include required electrical services in the design of the county Highway Department building in Athens. The firm had sought $95,000 in its lawsuit against the county.

Artist and musician Roger Mason moves studio into Chatham’s clock tower
http://www.registerstar.com/articles/2009/07/16/chatham_courier/news/doc4a5e0592ac5c1176339793.txt

CHATHAM – Musician Roger Mason, who has played with Bob Dylan, Itzhak Perlman, John Denver, members of The Band, the Carradine Brothers and Larry Campbell, who produced Levon Helm, is moving his studio into the third floor of the clocktower in Chatham.