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The Fight Against the Mega-Resort: Latest Developments

A Business Blueprint for the Blue Line

THE FIGHT AGAINST THE MEGA-RESORT: THE LATEST

The environmental review of the resort proposal proceeds apace. Here are the latest developments:

Summer, 2004: Administrative Law Judge Richard Wissler of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, lead agency for the state-mandated environmental review process, holds hearings to determine which issues, if any, raised by the Catskill Preservation Coalition should be adjudicated in public, trial-like hearings. The CPC comprises 11 organizations, including the Catskill Heritage Alliance, which have come together to oppose the proposed megs-resort.

September 7, 2005: Judge Wissler issues a ruling calling for adjudication of 12 issues. The ruling [LINK] is a stunning moral and public relations victory for resort opponents. The developer and his local allies announce their intention to appeal the Wissler ruling.

October 12, 2005: Congressman Maurice Hinchey proposes an alternative to the mega-resort proposal in keeping with the Wissler ruling. Hinchey’s formula would lock up the eastern portion as public land to be “forever wild” while allowing some form of smaller-scale, environmentally sound development on the west subject to full-scale scrutiny… Read the Congressman’s proposal here:[LINK]

January 17, 2006: All Appeals of Judge Wissler’s ruling are officially filed with the DEC. A deputy commissioner’s ruling—the Commissioner has recused herself on the issue—may be expected at any time…

August 5, 2006 THE U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, echoing the stance of U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, has taken the position that the proposed Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park should not include any construction on the eastern portion of the 1,900-acre site on which the developer wants to build.

August 11, 2006 A report issued on Thursday by Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi says developer Crossroads Ventures "understates the potential environmental impacts and economic risks of the project" because of "faulty assumptions regarding profitability and comparable developments in other areas."


CATSKILL HERITAGE WRITING PRIZE:
WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN!

The jury worked hard to select winners among a number of imaginative and well written entries. Winners were announced first at the graduation ceremonies of the respective schools—Andes, Margaretville, Onteora, and Roxbury. Read all four >>>


The nearly empty Scoharie Reservoir and Gilboa dam under construction in background on August 25, 2006

Owned by City of New York Department of Environmental Protection, the Scoharie Reservoir holds 20 billion gallons of water. In October, 2005 the dam was found to be at risk of failure. 8,639 people live in the four towns within 20 miles downstream. The city now has an emergency repair in progress. Also, an improved portal intake is planned that should reduce turbidity in the water released into the Esopus Creek. SEE MORE PHOTOS>>> --- Visit DEP website and www.GilboaDamInfo.com for more information.

WE WIN ONE! What You Can Do Now...

A view of the Gilboa dam showing structural damage

Construction under way

 




JUDGE’S RULING IS A VICTORY FOR OPPONENTS OF THE PROPOSED MEGA-RESORT

Administrative Law Judge Richard R. Wissler of New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) ruled September 7 that 12 issues—virtually every issue we and our fellow members of the Catskill Preservation Coalition raised—should and must be adjudicated in a trial-like administrative proceeding. This is an unquestioned and resounding victory, and it represents a clear message from the judge that the environmental review of the proposed project must be careful, deliberate, and very thorough.

Specifically, the judge found that the following issues required adjudication: “(1)Water Supply and Groundwater and Surface Water Impacts; (2) Aquatic Habitat Impacts; (3) Stormwater Impacts; (4) Impacts to the Catskill Forest Preserve; (5) Impacts to Wildlife; (6) Noise Impacts; (7) Traffic Impacts; (8) Visual Impacts; (9) Impacts to Community Character; (10)Secondary and Induced Growth Impacts; (11) Cumulative Impacts; and (12) Alternatives (to the current proposal).”

It means that the proposed resort's potential impact in all these areas--plus, in #12, the developer's failure to offer alternatives as required--will be aired and addressed in a proceeding in which witnesses will offer sworn testimony and may be cross-examined. In a sense, today we got the chance to make our case loud and clear in a place and manner that will put it on the public record.

We owe this victory to a lot of hard work by a lot of people, to the CPC's exceptional Albany-based legal team of Marc Gerstman and Cheryl Roberts, to the rightness of our cause, and to the support, financial and otherwise, from all of you. Thanks.

Now let's dig in hard and drive our point home. We have a chance to go all the way...

Please send your contributions, needed now more than ever, to: CHA Treasurer PO Box 88 Shandaken, NY 12480

See the complete ruling by Judge Wissler…

What You Can Do Now...

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Business Blueprint for the Blue Line

As business owners who live, work, and are planning our futures within the blue line of the Catskill Park and Forest Preserve, America’s first wilderness, we wish to promote development while we protect quality of life.

We favor commercial development that capitalizes on the unique cultural, historic, scenic, and recreational resources our communities offer.

We believe that such development must be of appropriate scale, environmentally as well as economically sustainable, and in harmony with the special considerations of the watershed in which we live and work.

We seek to empower our communities with upgraded infrastructure and telecommunication services that are integrated into the environment rather than imposed upon it.

We wish to promote development within existing population centers.

We want to protect from development the delicate web of ridgelines and mountainsides inside the blue line, recognizing that to alter these fragile treasures would be to compound destructive flooding, potentially harm our own water supply, and undermine the wilderness environment that is our region’s economic anchor.

We believe that these values offer a balance between development and protection of our quality of life that can bring prosperity to all in the years to come.

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