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Energy

Albany, North Country sites get cleaned up

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Gary Soup
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via Flickr
An old GM site in Massena is getting a clean-up, courtesy of "Old GM."

The federal EPA is taking the reins of a PCB clean-up outside Albany, reports Brian Nearing at the Times Union.  The Dewey Loeffel dumb is being added to the Superfund list:

EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck said EPA will be "financially pursuing" three former customers of the private dump, including GE, Bendix Corp. and the former Schenectady Chemicals, now known as SI Group, to pay for the cleanup. There is no cost estimate yet for the work, but Enck warned "this is not going to be cheap." She said federal officials study "best remedies" to clean pollution once and for all, which will take "a considerable amount of time." EPA plans a public meeting on the project 7 p.m. March 24 at St. Mary's Church parish hall, 26 Church St., Nassau.

Meanwhile, a bankruptcy court has given a $154 million dollar clean-up agreement between the federal government and "Old GM" a thumbs up, according to AP:

The multi-state agreement with Motors Liquidation Company, formerly General Motors Corp., includes the Massena factory site near the Canadian border and the Inland Fisher Guide site outside Syracuse. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the funds are meant to restore both hazardous waste sites for future economic development. The 270-acre Massena site will get $121 million and has poly-chlorinated biphenyls, metals and other contamination from aluminum die-casting and manufacturing from 1959 to 2009.

Recycling

Owego has approved a recycling facility despite protests from neighbors, reports Debbie Swartz at the Press & Sun-Bulletin.  The plans for the facility were revised to include a buffer of pine trees:

"It's nice to see a company wanting to be a good neighbor and sit in and listen to the concerns of the neighborhood," said Town of Owego Planning and Zoning Administrator Debra Standinger. At Tuesday's Planning Board meeting, about five people were in attendance, one of whom thanked Taylor Garbage representatives, including co-owner Bob Taylor, for taking their concerns into consideration. Construction of the facility is not yet scheduled. First, the company will need to petition the town board to extend the water and sewer district to the proposed new location, Standinger said.

Finger Lakes conservation

Two families have sold 65 acres on Cayuga Lake to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, to protect it for conservation and recreational use, reports the Ithaca Journal:

The land is on the west side of Cayuga Lake across from Aurora and Wells College and features frontage on both sides of the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway on Route 89 and diverse wildlife habitats, including mature woods, meadows and a gorge, according to the organization. The Land Trust obtained the land from the Van Riper and Moran families, who made it available for what the Land Trust said was significantly less than market value. The Land Trust used gifts from several individuals and a low-interest loan from the Norcross Wildlife Foundation.

Farmland

There are 300 fewer farms in New York than there were in the previous year,reports Julie Sherwood at the Messenger Post.  The data comes from the USDA's New York Field Office, which says that the state lost 100,000 acres between 2009 and 2010:

The numbers are worrisome, said Dean Norton, a dairy farm and president of New York Farm Bureau, the state’s largest agricultural-advocacy organization. “Our family farms not only produce local food for local consumers to enjoy, we contribute to New York’s economy by shipping farm products up and down the East Coast and even to overseas markets,” he said. “Just as important, our family farmers produce the raw materials that help keep thousands of New Yorkers employed in our food and dairy processing plants, trucking industries, agri-business supply stores, as well as contribute to local tourism economies with our consumer friendly farms and wineries.”

Abandoned Albany

For all you abandoned-mid-century-transportation-plans geeks, Carl Johnson at All Over Albany has a look at the highway that never was in Albany:

We came perilously close to seeing this vision of high-speed access to a gutted city come to fruition. Those strangely overbuilt (and misaligned) ramps connecting Northern Boulevard to I-90 were the beginnings of I-687. Those tunnels under the Empire State Plaza that are used for storage were to be the other lanes of the Expressway. That oddly abrupt ending to the Dunn Memorial Bridge was meant to extend out over and through Rensselaer. The interchange that would have led drivers from I-90 to I-687 was completely constructed before local opposition, changes in highway plans, and funding priorities killed I-687 -- which is how Corporate Woods came to have its own highway access.

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