Thursday, January 13, 2011

Halt the Salt!

Good news in today's Register-Star for everyone who hates that unsightly salt pile on the waterfront and worries about salt leaching into the river: "Transport, storage of salt to halt after deal." 

Back in August, Gossips reported that First Ward Alderman Sarah Sterling had investigated the terms of the conditional use permit granted to SLC and Cargill in 1996 and discovered that it allowed salt that had been brought in by barge to be stored there. For the past few years, salt has been trucked to and from the dock--a practice not at all water dependent and in violation of the conditional use permit. The settlement that's been reached between Cargill and the City of Hudson, which dictates that no more salt can be brought to the dock and the salt that's there already--on the dock and in the stock house--must be removed by May 2012, is the happy outcome of that discovery. 

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks to Sarah Sterling for her work on the salt issue, and other matters as well. Perhaps someday we can erect a Pillar of Salt in her likeness on the waterfront !

    As the risk of being cast as a terminal curmudgeon, I'd like to point out that while it may be wonderful to get rid of the salt pile on our waterfront, we are still facing a draft LWRP document wherein the City of Hudson endorses an ongoing parade of heavy dump trucks directly through the important and sensitive wetland South Bay, and the passage of those trucks within 100 ft. or less of Basilica, the Henry Hudson Waterfront Park, and the newly proposed restaurant in the Dunn Warehouse structure. In addition, the O & G gravel hauling scheme would require some sort of loading apparatus at the dock, which sits immediately adjacent to the waterfront park. This arrangement would also require two new intersections with traffic lights to accommodate truck crossings (one on Rte. 9, and another on Rte. 9G.) There would also be a steady flow of heavy trucks over the dangerous Broad St. rail crossing, where there has already been one accident involving a train and truck. 28 trains pass through Hudson daily, so there will likely be instances where heavy trucks are stuck idling on both east and west sides of the rails, as they line up waiting for the tracks to clear.

    I'd love to celebrate the removal of the salt operation from the dock, but apparently it will be replaced by an ambitious rock & gravel terminal whose waterfront impacts would be worse in every respect. It looks to me as though Holcim and O & G are interested in getting rid of the salt so as to give them more room to conduct their own operations, which will be vastly more active and noxious than the modest and quiet Cargill presence. So it's not clear that there is much in the way of good news here-- we lose the salt, but are then confronted with a long-term plan to site an even more problematic industrial operation on the waterfront. And all of this doesn't include whatever future expansions and modifications that Holcim and O & G might desire in the coming years. And further, once an industrial corridor is established through South Bay that connects the Holcim quarry and the waterfront dock, we are very likely to see a renewed cement plant proposition, a nightmare that many had assumed was behind us. LaFarge Cement in Ravena has just invested $500 million in an upgrade of their cement-making facilities, and it is extremely unlikely that Holcim will be content to stand by and watch their principal competitor take a significant chunk of market share.

    Enclosed below is video of exactly the type of vehicles that O & G plans to run through South Bay and into the dock area. Does anyone believe that this sort of activity is somehow compatible with our vision for a new and improved waterfront zone? The City of Hudson and the NY Department. of State held a series of planning / vision sessions in 2005-2006, and they also invited citizens to comment on the LWRP. What they got in response was a deluge of opinion that specifically expressed near unanimous opposition to any industrialization of the waterfront or South Bay. Yet by some mysterious process, we are now looking at a draft LWRP document which is blatantly dismissive of all that citizen input, and in flagrant violation of the fundamental principle of the LWRP program, which is supposed to be rooted in the notion of "community consensus." Here's the video-- I cannot imagine that any of our civic officials will be proud to leave this mess as their legacy.