County Executive Speaks Out on Request By Global Partners to Diminish Role of DEC in Permit Process

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy today urged the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to issue a “positive declaration”  that the application submitted by Global Partners for a Title V permit modification to its facility at the Port of Albany will have a significant environmental impact. Last month the DEC rescinded the Negative Declaration and the Notice of Complete Application it previously issued on Global’s application in 2013. The positive declaration would require an Environmental Impact Statement be completed before the permit application is considered. 

“On behalf of Albany County residents, I believe that issuing a ‘positive declaration’ is the right course of action,” said McCoy. “Given what we’ve heard from DEC, the county’s Expert Advisory Committee and the public, the issues raised during the comment period would be more fully vetted in the EIS, which I have been calling for since last year. I don’t want to see a roll back on this and given that Global has requested cutting the DEC out of the process altogether, this is a prudent course of action.”

The latest development in Global’s permit application came last week. In a letter from the company to the DEC, Global claimed that the DEC had delayed the decision on the Title V permit and demanded that the agency reconsider its decision to rescind the Negative Declaration issued on May 21, 2015. Global’s legal counsel also stated that the DEC’s decision was based on politics, not the law.

In its ruling in May, DEC stated that Global had proposed project changes after submission of the modification application and that new information in regard to air quality issues had come to light during the comment period. 

“During the public comment process, Albany County Department of Health, Earthjustice and others expressed concerns about potential emissions of sulfur compounds such as H2S and mercaptans, which are found in crude oil and cause potential adverse health impacts, odors and corrosion. These comments and related materials provided the Department information concerning odor and other problems at a crude oil refinery and transfer station in New Brunswick, Canada, that processes thicker crude oils. That information was not considered when the Department issued its initial Negative Declaration.”     

“It’s troubling to me that Global’s strategy seems to overlook the very serious concerns raised during the public comment period regarding the very real health and safety risks to the community and the environment that this project poses. It’s time that we take the next step and require a full EIS so that we may have a complete picture of the impact this facility will have on our community and the environment,” said McCoy.