Saturday, April 13, 2013

Not to Be Missed

On his blog, Sam Pratt turns a gimlet eye on the track record of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Crystal Apple awards: "Bruised Apples."


  1. We can be quite sure that in the coming years the Crystal Apple will be awarded to the "Trans-Rail" scam out in Greenport. In case anyone isn't familiar with that doozie, the Cuomo administration recently handed out a $2 million dollar economic development grant for the purpose of funding a gravel-loading station east of Hudson, on the site of the old Lone Star Cement plant. Those who stand to benefit from this deal are perfectly capable of funding the project themselves-- Colarusso, Holcim, O & G Industries, and Dick Koskey. What we have here is taxpayer money going as a handout to support private business entities that plan to run gravel right through the middle of our community. This is the good 'ol boy notion of "economic development."

  2. Good work Columbiacat, but is there any way you can provide footnotes or links to news stories about the plan or the grant.

    I'm not doubting you in the least! but just hoping you'll help with the enormous load of research that's required if we're all to move this mountain together.

    Specifically, I'd like to know when this plan was first floated, then next - and we'll most likely only be able to surmise this part - who knew about it.

    In 2011, attorney Cheryl Roberts, author of the official Responses to the public comments on the city's GEIS, ducked a specific question about this very alternative which might have by-passed the waterfront.

    The GEIS "Responder" pretended not to understand the Comment 3.1.24:

    "While the transportation of gravel and salt is by their use, water dependent, they are not exclusively water dependent. There are feasible alternatives such as mainline rail, using rail track from source, which should be investigated in an in-depth transportation study. All the negative impacts of transporting gravel to the dock and the presence of O&G at the dock could thus be obviated."

    Key word: "obviated."

    Ms. Roberts' official Response at 3.1.24:

    ".... The DGEIS examined the railroad alternative (Alternative 2B) and found that it was not feasible due to the number of intermodal transfers required. See DGEIS, pgs. 5-26 – 5-27."

    But alternative 2B was an analysis of gravel transfers en route to the waterfront, whereas the public comment spoke of "obviating" the need for the waterfront altogether.

    Which hat was Ms. Roberts wearing when she committed the city's meaningless Response to the excellent comment at 3.1.24? Was it her characteristic slyness or was it her customary obtuseness?

    In other words, who knew what, and when did they know it?

    1. Unheimlich: There have been a couple of posts about this project--often called a transloading facility--on Gossips, with references to other news sources:;

  3. Heavens, I even commented after one of those posts! Chalk it up to the burden of finding wrongdoing in nearly every direction one looks.

    So it was announced in December, but when would the grant application have been submitted? And again, who knew about it?

    That's the kind of bankable research we need our fellow citizens to help pursue (not that Gossips itself doesn't already carry too much of the burden!).

  4. It looks like no one's gonna ask, but the last changes made to the GEIS were on September 26, 2011.

    If the plans for this "transloading facility" were known by city officials at that time, then they had an obligation under SEQRA to have the GEIS reflect those circumstances.

    But if anyone in the public knew the plans and then attempted to alert the GEIS author(s), they'd have been ignored.

    (The same thing happened last week when I tried to get the Common Council to look at the century-old Standard Oil deed for the 10 waterfront acres. No one wanted to touch it! For the selfsame attorney who oversaw the GEIS, the title agency's word was evidently sufficient for her purposes, and the council was visibly relieved. Well, they all have a little surprise in store.)

    Where the LWRP or GEIS were concerned, keeping the public in the dark was the method of the "LWRP elite" since the days of the Waterfront Steering Committee (ca. 2006). In the great tradition of reaping and sewing, now comes the bill.