Independent consultant deems application ‘insufficient’
By Megan Plete Postol
The DEC is holding an online public hearing via Webex at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2.
Those wanting to deliver public comments at the online meeting must register by 10 a.m. Thursday Aug. 26. To register, visit http://www.webex.com, click “Join a Meeting,” input the event number 179 384 8725, click “Register,” and fill in the requested information. The password is Sep2-4PM. You don’t have to make a public comment in order to register, and registering will give you access to the meeting link.
To register by phone, call the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services at 518-402-9003 and reference the White Lake Granite Quarry public comment hearing. Any one may listen in without delivering public comment on Sept 2 by phone without pre-registering.
An independent consultant has determined that the application for the White Lake Granite Quarry project is insufficient.
The consultant, the LA Group Landscape Architecture and Engineering P.C., concluded after extensive study that the application lacks adequate scientific studies needed to guarantee that White Lake and the surrounding community will not be adversely affected.
Based in Saratoga Springs, the LA Group was contracted by the Adirondack White Lake Association to investigate the application submitted by Tom Sunderlin, of Barneveld, to develop and operate a pink granite quarry on Stone Quarry Road near White Lake in the town of Forestport.
“Our suspicions were confirmed,” said Louanne Cossa, president of the Adirondack White Lake Association. “The application was incomplete and especially lacked concrete scientific testing to ensure that our lake and underground aquifer would not be seriously damaged. There was also no assessment regarding potential damage to homes and wells less than 300 feet from the quarry. Noise and traffic assessments were also significantly understated or misrepresented. It also documented that deficiencies noted by the APA in the applicant’s previous permit request (in 2000) had not been adequately addressed; in many instances they were totally ignored. The independent expert’s findings are numerous and well documented with facts and photos. This application offers no safe guards for our community.”
The Adirondack White Lake Association is made up of a group of property owners and citizens that strive to protect the natural resources of White Lake. They have been in operation since 1981.
The LA Group’s study of Sunderlin’s application found that it “lacks sufficient information needed to make a determination of whether or not the proposed action would have undue adverse impacts to the resources of the park, including the White Lake and the Forestport community.”
According to the LA Group, the following considerations have not been adequately addressed in Sunderlin’s application: natural resource considerations, including water quality, existing drainage and runoff patterns, existing flow characteristics, water table and rates of recharge, air quality, noise; and site developmental considerations, such as soil characteristics, depth to ground water and other hydrological factors, adjoining and nearby land uses, adequacy of site facilities, and governmental considerations.
A major concern for local stakeholders has been preserving the water quality of White Lake. The LA Group has determined that a deeper dive into the hydrogeology, meaning the study of groundwater, is needed to validate that the proposed mine would not disturb the quality of White Lake and also nearby wells.
Cossa and the AWLA hope that on the basis of these findings, the application will be denied or at least require the applicant to supply all the missing scientific tests before any further consideration. Absent that, the AWLA would expect the DEC to call for an adjudicatory hearing to present complaints before a judge, Cossa said.