Reading questions gas transfer station detailsREADING—After allowing public comment and questions, the Reading planning board discussed who should be the lead agency for the environmental impact statement for the gas transfer station project, Thursday, Oct. 15.
Board chairman Gordon Wright said that the Department of Environmental Conservation has expressed interest, but is now waffling. He explained a DEC representative wants the agency to take charge, but the lawyers are not sure it is a good idea yet. Wright said if the DEC does not have a good reason, he thinks the town should take the responsibility of lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) part two.
The board approved that if the DEC comes back to Wright with a legal reason why they should be the lead agency, Wright will let the DEC take the position. He added that if the DEC asks for an extension or does not make a decision by Oct. 25, he will grant the extension. Wright also said that the DEC will still be part of the application process because of the permits needed for the Finger Lakes LPG transfer station project.
“I think we’re the most responsible,” said Wright.
Wright explained that at the start of the application process, he alerted the DEC, Department of Transportation, and Schuyler County Industrial Development Agency, about the SEQR. He explained he had to tell all agencies that might be involved and offer them the chance to be lead agency.
The decision was made after what was supposed to be the public hearing for the gas transfer station project. However, Wright explained that Inergy, the company behind the project, had not sent out notices to people around the proposed project by certified mail. The notices were sent out by regular mail. Another public hearing was scheduled for the Nov. 19 meeting, at 7:30 p.m.
The planning board did allow questions from the close to 50 people in attendance. Questions and comments from the public ranged from the impact on traffic, wells, noise, and future business plans. Concerns about traffic included trucks on Routes 14 and 14A. Jessica Skinner, Inergy employee, said the DOT had granted them a temporary driveway access.
Richard Wakeman, a representative with C.T. Male Associates, showed the board an updated schematic of the brine pond. He explained that the project would now use the soil displaced by the pond to create the east side of the pond. It had previously been like a dam on that side. He said all sides are within Inergy’s safety parameters under earthquake simulations. Questions from the public were still asked what would happen if there was heavy rain or snow, causing the brine pond to break.
Kevin Bernstein, attorney for Inergy, said “It’s not going to break.” He added the perimeter of the pond is designed to divert road runoff.