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State will be in charge of environmental impact study

READING—The Reading planning board announced at the Thursday, Feb. 18 meeting that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) would be in charge of the environmental impact statement for the proposed Finger Lakes LPG gas transfer station project.
The planning board received a six-page letter earlier in the month from the commissioner, with the DEC’s final decision on who should be the lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR). In a letter to the board, the absent chairperson Gordon Wright said it would probably be a couple of months before the town heard anything else from the DEC. Until the SEQR is completed by the lead agency, construction on the Finger Lakes LPG facility cannot begin.
In the DEC’s letter, Commissioner Alexander B. Grannis said the decision “is based on my finding that it has a broader jurisdictional responsibilities over this project and a stronger capacity to conduct the review than the Planning Board.”
Grannis added that the planning board did not respond with additional information concerning site plan review and special permit jurisdiction when it was requested. The commissioner also cited the DEC having the breadth of authority and capability to assess the environmental impact better than the planning board can.
In Wright’s letter he added he would be asking the applicant, Inergy, for an extension concerning a SEQR decision. Bill Newel, who was in charge of the Feb. 18 meeting, explained a decision is needed 60 days after a public hearing is held. The planning board held a public hearing Nov. 19.

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