Ulster County Officials Comment On The Draft Scope Of The Environmental Impact Statement For NYC DEP

Posted August 29, 2014

County Executive Calls On New York State DEC To Hold NYC DEP Accountable

Kingston, NY- Ulster County officials have completed a review of the Draft Scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) submitted by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection concerning its CatAlum SPDES permit. County officials found the Draft Scope to be inadequate by failing to appropriately consider and protect the Lower Esopus and the residents of Ulster County. The County Executive has been at the forefront in the efforts to hold the NYC DEP accountable for the releases of turbid water into the Lower Esopus and has worked diligently with the NYS DEC, environmental groups, local governments and residents affected by the releases.

County Executive Hein’s Administration has highlighted three major inadequacies in the NYC DEP Draft Scope:

  • The DEP is attempting to remove viable alternatives by not examining other ways to address turbid water except by releasing into the Lower Esopus.
  • The studies and data collection that are proposed in the Draft Scope are inadequate to answer critical environmental and public impact questions that the County has consistently raised in the past.
  • The Draft scope fails to sufficiently address major issues that are important to the residents of Ulster County, including: impacts to public health; economic impacts; failure to follow-up on site visits along the Lower Esopus; and ignoring the EPA designation of the Lower Esopus as an impaired waterway.

“It is clear that the Draft Scope from the NYC DEP is inadequate as it does not address many of the flooding issues and concerns Ulster County has voiced since the beginning of turbid releases into the Lower Esopus,” said County Executive Hein. “It appears that the NYC DEP desires continued unencumbered, environmentally irresponsible releases into the Lower Esopus, and it is imperative that the NYS DEC requires the NYC DEP to consider, engineer, fund and implement available alternatives rather than allowing the continued use of the Lower Esopus as their waste channel. Ulster County is simply asking that the NYC DEP value and respect the residents and the environment of Ulster County as much as it values clean inexpensive water for New York City.”

“After a thorough review of the draft scope, we were truly surprised at the lack of data collection and the limited studies that DEP was proposing for the Lower Esopus,” said Amanda Lavalle, Coordinator of the Ulster County Department of the Environment. “There are many questions that we have been asking for years regarding releases and their relationship to impacting or potentially improving the ecological health of the creek, flooding, and sediment deposition. The Draft Scope, as it currently stands, is inadequate to answer these questions. We hope the NYS DEC substantially revises the scope and requires NYC DEP to do the studies and assessments that are needed.”

Ulster County residents are encouraged to contact their State representatives and officials to urge them to support the County’s comments and call for changes that will better serve the residents of Ulster County and level the playing field.