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Audio Feature: This week in local environmental news

Oct 01, 2022 2:03 am

Here is a roundup of the biggest environmental stories locally this week from the WGXC Newsroom. Click here to download or play this week's environmental news from WGXC.

Liz Montgomery is reporting for Porcupine Soup that a New York State Supreme Court judge has ordered a tire dump on State Route 81 to be shut down. But as of Sept. 19, six days after the deadline set by the court for all tires to be removed, tires still cover portions of the property. On Aug. 30, Justice Richard Mott signed an order against Green Tire Recycling, permanently prohibiting them from operating a tire dump business at 1113 and 1131 State Route 81 in Climax. The dump contains thousands of tires and according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, does not have a permit to operate despite its ongoing operation since 2020. Mott’s made his ruling after the town of Coxsackie took steps to close the dump, contending the facility is in violation of New York State Property Maintenance Code, New York State Fire Code, Coxsackie Town Code, and Coxsackie Town Zoning Law. Property owners Corey Mergendahl, Sharon Lampman, and Shane Foster had until July 29 to respond to the complaint, but none of them appeared or submitted a response. The trio also failed to respond to notices of violation from the town of Coxsackie that were sent this spring. Their inaction ultimately led to the town taking the matter to state Supreme Court. The town will next seek court-ordered sanctions. Specifically allowing the town of Coxsackie and/or the DEC to remove the tires, refuse, junk and garbage, then adding the cost of that cleanup to the property tax bill owed to Greene County. Read the full story at porcupinesoup [dot] com.

Larry Rulison is reporting for the Times Union that the Port of Albany is saying "no" to $29.5 million in federal funding for the construction of a $350 million wind turbine tower manufacturing facility on the Hudson River. Walking away from the award will speed up the permitting process after falling behind schedule. The grant was allocated to the Port of Albany by the U.S. Department of Transportation and has been in jeopardy since the summer when the port clear-cut more than 80 acres of waterfront land in the town of Bethlehem without federal permits. In early 2022, a group of more than 20 Glenmont residents sued the port and the town of Bethlehem for clearing 80 acres of land on the Hudson River for the project allegedly without providing proper notification to local homeowners. At its monthly meeting on September 28, port officials said they were withdrawing the grant application with the DOT, thereby allowing the project to move forward more quickly, which must be completed by the end of next year. It is unclear how the port will replace the funding, which was supposed to pay for infrastructure at the Hudson River site, known as Beacon Island. The port bought Beacon Island several years ago in anticipation of constructing the facility, which is being built for Equinor and its equipment manufacturing partners, Marmen and Welcon. The Norwegian energy company Equinor is building several wind farms off the coast of Long Island. Port officials said by dropping the grant request, the DOT's Maritime Administration, will no longer hold back the federal permitting process that will now be led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Read the full story at TimesUnion [dot] com.

Sharon Udasin is reporting for The Hill that the state of New York will require all new vehicles purchased beginning in 2035 to be zero-emission models, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced September 29. “We’re really putting our foot down on the accelerator and revving up our efforts to make sure we have this transition — not someday in the future, but on a specific date, a specific year — by the year 2035,” Hochul said at a press conference in Westchester County. Hochul announced a series of new electric vehicle initiatives for the state, and said that 35 percent of new cars will need to be zero-emission by 2026, and 68 percent by 2030. All new school buses purchased must be zero-emission by 2027, with the entire fleet meeting those standards by 2035, the governor said. The state Department of Environmental Conservation will be expediting its regulatory process to implement related legislation signed by Hochul last year, which would allow the state to realize those goals. Under the state’s Drive Clean Rebate program, residents can qualify for an up to $2,000 rebate in all 62 counties. The state has already issued more than 78,000 rebates and spent more than $90 million on the programs, according to the governor. Hochul also announced that the New York Power Authority just installed its 100th high-speed electric vehicle charger, as part of the state’s EVolve NY statewide charging network. Any battery-powered EV can charge at these stations in as little as 20 minutes. New York state will receive $175 million from the bipartisan infrastructure law’s $5 billion allocation for EV charging networks. Read more at TheHill [dot] com.

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