PRESS RELEASE--June 5, 2020

Proposed Industrial Plant Could Drain Pickerel Pond and Harm Bluestone Wild Forest--Noise Impact Analysis Flawed and Inadequate

Concrete and steel fabrication plant adjacent to gateway to the Catskill Park puts 150 year old cultural and historic artifacts at risk

Town of Kingston, NY—Today Catskill Mountainkeeper and Woodstock Land Conservancy submitted new information to the Town of Kingston Planning Board outlining potential harmful impacts from a proposed industrial steel and concrete fabrication plant project at 850 Route 28 and calling on the Planning Board to require a full and comprehensive environmental review. The proposed industrial facility is surrounded by the Bluestone Wild Forest, which contains Onteora Lake, Pickerel Pond, and hundreds of miles of multi-use hiking and mountain biking trails.

The new studies highlight unique glacial features in the Bluestone Wild Forest and outline the possibility of severe water impacts on Pickerel Pond from the project’s proposed construction activities and operations. According to the studies, if the project is permitted to move forward as proposed, both surface and groundwater supplies to the pond may be threatened, harming wildlife and adversely impacting recreational opportunities, such as fishing and hiking.

The studies also detail important archaeological and historical findings related to 150-200 year-old “Hemlock Quarry” in the Bluestone Wild Forest which extends onto the proposed project site, present important information regarding Native American history centered in and near the proposed project site, and identify harmful noise impacts and inadequacies in the noise analysis and proposed mitigations offered to the Planning Board by the applicant.

“The Bluestone Wild Forest and Pickerel Pond are important natural assets for the Town of Kingston and the Catskill Park. As proposed, the steel and concrete fabrication plant puts these lands and waters at risk, and the expert reports submitted to the Town Planning Board explain in great detail why the project should not proceed as proposed. The Planning Board must issue a Positive Declaration and require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement, so that additional information and the views of the public can be considered--it is inadequate and unacceptable for the Board to make a decision based solely on information submitted by the applicant,” said Kathy Nolan, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Senior Research Director.

The Town of Kingston Planning Board will meet remotely on June 15th, after not holding meetings in February, March, April, and May.

Since last year, Catskill Mountainkeeper and Woodstock Land Conservancy have repeatedly called on the Planning Board to require the applicant to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement and comply with the requirements of New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). SEQRA requires the Planning Board to exercise fair process. This is especially true for such a large project, which is almost completely surrounded by 3,000 acres of protected forest preserve lands. The Bluestone Wild Forest, Onteora Lake, and Pickerel Pond are beloved sites of recreation and renewal, and it’s critical that the Planning Board consider these factors in its analysis of the project.

“There is enormous public interest in this project and concern about the review process, as evidenced by several petitions, signed both by Town Residents and by people who use the forest preserve, along with hundreds of people who have attended prior meetings of the Planning Board. All of this demonstrates strong opposition to the degradation of the Bluestone Wild Forest and the public’s quiet enjoyment of these outdoor recreational resources,” said Maxanne Resnick, Executive Director of the Woodstock Land Conservancy.

Neighboring residents, along with those visiting Onteora Lake or hiking on nearby trails, have raised concerns about noise pollution from activities already occurring at the proposed project site. Last summer, the Kingston Freeman documented on-site storage by the applicant of large, heavy machinery—easily seen on satellite photographs—despite the fact that the applicant has never applied for or received a permit for such storage. Last month, an adjacent neighbor filed a formal complaint regarding this unregulated usage, which in addition to disturbing neighbors may pose environmental hazards to onsite water bodies and nearby wetlands. Several organizations—including Catskill Mountainkeeper, Woodstock Land Conservancy, and the Mid-Hudson Group of the Atlantic Chapter of Sierra Club—have also voiced their concerns to local elected officials.

To take action, click here to sign the petition to protect the Bluestone Wild Forest!

For more information, including copies of the reports submitted to the Town of Kingston Planning Board, please contact Kathy Nolan, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Senior Research Director at Kathy@catskillmountainkeeper.org or 845-417-6489, or Maxanne Resnick, Woodstock Land Conservancy’s Executive Director, at maxanne.wlc@gmail.com or 914-466-9263.

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