Ulster town officials this week revealed that their request to extend the public comment period on a proposed 20-megawatt electric-generating power plant had been denied by the project’s developer, Lincoln Park DG LLC.
The request for an extension by Town Supervisor James E. Quigley III came during a meeting last month after repeated requests from members of the public. Had the developer agreed, the town would have had until June 1 to submit the environmental boundaries to be studied under the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR); instead they’ll have until April 2, with public comment due a week earlier.
In a letter dated March 7, Richard J. Olson, an attorney with Poughkeepsie-based McCabe & Mack LLP, denied the request on behalf of the developer, claiming that the public has had ample time to study the parameters of the proposed project.
“While you write because of a request by the public for an extension of the scoping time frame, I would note that the public has been aware of this project since no later than December 15, 2017,” wrote Olson. “Several regional organizations sent a detailed six-page letter to the Town Board on December 15, 2017 which, among other things, included a detailed listing of no less than 11 specific items for inclusion in the scoping document. As of December 21, 2017 our client had created a public website (www.lincolnparkgridsupportcenter.com) explaining the project and has regularly updated the site with details about the project as well as copies of key project documents and presentations.”
The town board is serving as lead agency on the project and is tasked with assembling the scoping document as well as ensuring the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, proposed by Chicago-based energy concern GlidePath, adheres to local, state and federal laws. Quigley said recently that he didn’t expect the extension request to be granted, and this week he added that he was under the impression that those opposed to the proposed project — many of whom have spoken up at public meetings over the past few months — were working under the same notion.
“From what I’ve seen from the correspondence over the last two weeks, the people who are in opposition to this project are going to do their best to meet the March 22-23 deadline for the submission of comments,” he said. “Just because we have a deadline, I expect 99.999 percent of the issues to be identified during the course of the comment period. We articulated a deadline. If they miss it, shame on them.”
Quigley added that even with the deadline, should new concerns arise during the review process, those queries can also be addressed.
“Should there be an outlier there is a relief valve within SEQR that allows the issue to be brought to the attention of the lead agency in a certain process,” he said. “The biggest concern was, well what happens if something new comes up. There’s a provision in SEQR as long as you follow the rules. And I’m all about following the rules.”
The GlidePath power plant would operate on a small parcel of a 121-acre site currently owned by Kingston Landing LLC off Frank Sottile Boulevard. According to the developer’s plans, a building housing the equipment would stand for between 30-40 feet in height; an exhaust stack would rise above the structure, and though developers were initially determined to keep that below the 100-foot height limit for the area, though developers last month said they’d scaled back the proposed height to around 80 feet, and hoped to get the stack lower than the tree line along the property, which is roughly 70 feet high. The project would include the 20 megawatt lithium-ion battery array, and natural gas-powered reciprocating engine generators which would also use onsite low-sulfur diesel stored in a tank if the gas supply is disrupted.