Friday, May 29, 2015

Another First for the Register-Star

Yesterday, on the front page, above the fold, of the print version of the paper, there was a report about an instance of combined sewer overflow: "Heavy rain leaks sewage into North Bay." Today, second from the top on the "front page" of the paper's online version, there is the link to a letter to the editor from Peter Meyer and Timothy O'Connor, representing the South Bay Task Force, responding to an article about the sewer separation project which appeared in the Register-Star on May 21: "Further discussion is indicated."

1 comment:

  1. Some people in power are doing all they can to protect Delaware Engineering. They have no good answer to the firm's obvious conflict of interest, but they can rely on other means to advance its chances.

    For instance, after the public criticized the engineers at the April 13th informal meeting for using outdated figures, the firm re-submitted corrections the very next day, including a typographical correction which revised "10,000" to "100,000."

    The errors were surely honest ones, but the next-day revisions were directed to the Common Council President and not to the aldermen. The public would only learn of the corrections at the May 19th regular meeting, three council meetings later!

    I don't doubt that the City Clerk made the new document available on April 14th, the same day it was received. But why should the politician who received it by email have kept it quiet?

    The council president obviously favors Delaware Engineering and the separation project. He is an old hand at keeping inconvenient items on the low-down. Just recall the burying of a letter Riverkeeper had addressed to him in 2013. Two months were to pass before that correspondence appeared on the agenda for the entire council's acceptance, and only after the crisis had passed for the council president's notoriously anti-environmental plans.

    Looked at from the position of a hardworking public who knew to spot Delaware's errors in the first place, the quiet filing of the engineers' corrected figures was less than kind to those who can only play catch-up to the gimmicks our officials devise behind closed doors.

    If the whole point of SEQR is to arrive at transparent plans which are also enforceable, then another maneuver to circumvent the state's Environmental Conservation Law is the latest assurance that devices will be installed to reduce sediment in the runoff. But those who decided all at once (and quite suddenly) to circulate this scheme know full well that project alternatives considered outside the context of SEQR have no meaning.

    For readers who're catching up themselves, the subject of today's Letter to the Editor is the short Environmental Assessment Form. The short EAF is the simplest acknowledgement in the context of the State Environmental Quality Review Act that an environment exists which may be adversely impacted by a project.

    Kudos to the new editorial staff of the Register Star who know a good story when they see one.