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DEC Letter from Mike Gerrard

DEC Letter from Mike Gerrard

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Published by unitedtriangle
NYCEDC has failed to comply with the "enhanced public participation" process that is required by DEC Commissioner Policy 29, for NYCEDC's permit application to dump water from the construction site into the Flushing bay. The failures to comply invalidate steps that NYCEDC has taken thus far to attempt to obtain DEC's approval of the permit. Moreover, DEC may not even be entitled to grant NYCEDC's permit application, because the proposed work enables the Willets Point development -- which involves an adverse environmental impact upon an environmental justice area, which is contrary to the concept of "fair treatment" set forth within DEC Commissoner Policy 29. WPU has sent copies of this letter to State Senator Avella, Council Member Ferreras, and State Assemblyman Peralta.
NYCEDC has failed to comply with the "enhanced public participation" process that is required by DEC Commissioner Policy 29, for NYCEDC's permit application to dump water from the construction site into the Flushing bay. The failures to comply invalidate steps that NYCEDC has taken thus far to attempt to obtain DEC's approval of the permit. Moreover, DEC may not even be entitled to grant NYCEDC's permit application, because the proposed work enables the Willets Point development -- which involves an adverse environmental impact upon an environmental justice area, which is contrary to the concept of "fair treatment" set forth within DEC Commissoner Policy 29. WPU has sent copies of this letter to State Senator Avella, Council Member Ferreras, and State Assemblyman Peralta.

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Published by: unitedtriangle on Dec 01, 2011
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12/01/2011

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ARNOLD
&
PORTER
LLP
MichaelB.GerrardMichael.Gerrard@aporter.com212.715.1190212.715.1399Fax399ParkAvenueNewYork,NY10022-4690
November21,2011Mr.JoeMartensCommissionerNewYorkStateDepartmentofEnvironmentalConservation625BroadwayAlbany,NewYork12233-1011Mr.MelvinNorrisDirector,OfficeofEnvironmentalJusticeNewYorkStateDepartmentofEnvironmentalConservation625Broadway,14thFloorAlbany,NewYork12233-1500
,
Ms.VenetiaLannonDirector,Region2NewYorkStateDepartmentofEnvironmentalConservation1Hunter'sPointPlaza47-4021stStreetLongIslandCity,NewYork11101-5407Re:
FailureofpermitapplicanttocomplywithDECCommissionerPolicy29;disproportionateimpactsandenvironmentaljusticeimplications
Draftpermit-SPDESnumberNY0276626;DECnumber2-6302-00908/00003DearCommissionerMartens,Mr.NorrisandMs.Lannon:OnbehalfofthemembershipofWilletsPointUnitedInc.("WPU"),IamwritingtoinformyouthatalthoughtheNewYorkCityEconomicDevelopmentCorporation("NYCEDC")isobligatedtoimplementanenhancedpublicparticipationplanpertainingtoaparticularNYCEDCStatePollutantDischargeEliminationSystem("SPDES")permitapplication,theplandevisedandimplementedbyNYCEDCfailstocomplywithDECCommissionerPolicy29,whichisdesignedtoprovideenhancedpublicparticipationincertaincircumstanceswhenaproposedactionwouldinvolvepotentialimpactsaffectinganenvironmentaljusticearea.
It
thereforemustbewithdrawn,itsfatalflawscorrected,thenre-implementedfromthebeginning.IrequestthatDECdirectandassistNYCEDCtodoso.
 
ARNOLD
&
PORTER
LLP
Mr.JoeMartensMr.MelvinNorrisMs.VenetiaLannonNovember21,2011Page2Inaddition,IwritetoinformyouthattheactionproposedbyNYCEDCtowhichitsSPDESpermitapplicationpertainsiscontrarytotheconceptof"fairtreatment"asdefinedbyDECCommissionerPolicy29,andwouldresultinsignificant,permanent,unmitigableandirreversibleadverseimpactsaffectinganenvironmentaljusticearea,andotherareas.IrespectfullysuggestthatDECisobligatedtoconsiderthepossibilitythattheonlyavailableremedyistodenyNYCEDC'sSPDESpermitapplicationonthosebases.
THEPROPOSEDACTION,SPDESPERMIT,AND
REQUIREMENTFOR
ENHANCEDPUBLICPARTICIPATION:
NYCEDCproposestoconstructanewsanitarysewerlineandimproveexistingundersizedstormsewers,specificallytoserveNYCEDC'sproposedre-developmentofWilletsPoint,a62-acreindustrialarealocatedinQueens,NewYork.Thesewerworkisnotproposedforthepurposeofservinganyoftheapproximately250existingWilletsPointbusinesses,butrathertoserveafuturedevelopmenttobebuiltoncetheexistingbusinessesareevictedanddemolishedandthepropertyisconveyedtoaprivatedeveloper.Tofacilitateexcavationandconstructionworkforthesewerproject,NYCEDCproposestocontinuallyremovegroundwaterandstormwaterfromtheworksite,andtodischargeitintoFlushingBay.Accordingly,NYCEDChassubmittedaSPDESpermitapplicationtoDECforthisdischarge.Significantly,theworksitefromwhichthewateristoberemovedadjoinsWilletsPoint-propertythatNYCEDCclaimsisafflictedby"widespreadcontamination"
1;
thatU.S.RepresentativeJosephCrowleyhascharacterizedasa"toxicandcontaminated
area'";
wheregroundwatersamplingpurportedlyhasfoundarangeofcontaminants,includingpetroleum-relatedVOCs,chlorinatedVOCs,SVOCs(includingexceedancesofDECGroundwaterClassGADrinkingWaterStandardsupto14timesthestandard),andmetalsattotalconcentrationsexceedingAWQV
S3;
andwheresoilsamplingpurportedlyhasfoundleadinanamountsixtimes
1
"Therehasbeenwidespreadcontamination,includingopenpetroleumspills.Oneofthefactsofthissiteisweareonahighwatertable,soanykindoffloodthatcomesinhastheeffectofspreadingcontaminationthroughoutthesite."-TestimonyofRobertLieber,President,NYCEDC,beforetheNewYorkCityCouncilEconomicDevelopmentandLandUseCommittees;November29,2007.
2
TestimonyofU.S.RepresentativeJosephCrowleybeforetheNewYorkCityCouncilLandUseCommittee;October17,2008.
3
SeeFinalGenericEnvironmentalImpactStatementpertainingtotheproposedWilletsPointdevelopment,Chapter12.
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ARNOLD
&
PORTER
LLP
Mr.JoeMartensMr.MelvinNorrisMs.VenetiaLannonNovember21,2011Page3thelimitrecommendedbyDECandtheEnvironmentalProtectionAgency".Givensuchclaims,thereisheightenedpublicinterestinNYCEDC'sSPDESpermitapplication.NYCEDC'spermitapplicationnowisundergoingwhatissupposedtobeanenhancedpublicparticipationprocesspursuanttoDECCommissionerPolicy29.EnhancedpublicparticipationistriggeredwhenDEChasidentifiedpotentialadverseenvironmentalimpactsassociatedwithaproposedaction",andwhensuchpotentialadverseenvironmentalimpactsarelikelytoaffectapotentialenvironmentaljusticearea'.However,NYCEDChasfailedtoimplementalegitimateenhancedpublicparticipationplanthatcomplieswithprovisionsofDECCommissionerPolicy29.
MULTIPLEFAILURESTOCOMPLYWITHDECCOMMISSIONERPOLICY29:
(1.)
NYCEDChasconcealeditsSPDESpermitapplicationdocumentfromthepublic,therebyfundamentallycircumventingtheenhancedpublicparticipationrequiredbyDECandinvalidatingthepublicinformationmeetingthatwasheldwithnodisclosureofthesubjectdocument.DECCommissionerPolicy29wasintendedinparttoaddress"theunavailabilityorinaccessibilityofcertaininformationtothepublicearlyinthepermitprocess".
8
NYCEDC'sconcealmentoffundamentaldocumentsfromthepublicthwartstheplainintentofDECCommissionerPolicy29,andistheantithesisoffacilitatingthe"enhancedpublicparticipation"contemplatedbyDECCommissionerPolicy29.ViawrittennoticedatedOctober19,2011,NYCEDCinvitedthepublictoattendapublicinformationmeetingonNovember9,2011.Itsstatedpurposeswereto"discussthepermitapplication"andforthepublicto"providecommentsontheapplication".Remarkably,however,
4
"Thereisoneparticularcontaminantthatisknowntobelinkedtomanyautoimmunediseasesandthat'slead.Thenumberofleadfromsampleboringon38thAvenue,B-44,isat3,000.TheDECandtheEPArecommend500andbelow."-TestimonyofDr.JamesCervino,WoodsHoleOceanographicInstitute,beforetheNewYorkCityCouncilLandUseCommittee;October17,2008.
5
WPUdoesnotagreewithorendorseanyoftheforegoingclaimspertainingtocontaminationofWilletsPointproperty.
6
DECCommissionerPolicy29,SectionV.(B)(1)
7
DECCommissionerPolicy29,SectionV.(B)(2)
8
DECCommissionerPolicy29,SectionII.
54804974vl

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