LIVINGSTON COUNTY — Local elected officials are uniting in their demands of an open Public Hearing in regards to the potential shut down of the desalination plant that is operating at the site of the 1994 AkzoNobel Salt Mine collapse.Genesee Local Offers
Over two weeks ago, the County requested a response from the New York State Attorney General’s Office to establish a hearing, and have yet to hear a response. Several agencies have submitted FOIL requests to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), requesting all studies relating to the desalination plant. The DEC has yet to respond.
“The desalinization facility in Cuylerville is essential to a safe water supply for the residents and farms in Livingston County, and we cannot do anything to compromise that. Due to the public health implications of possible changes to the facility, any move should be preceded by scientific studies and a full public hearing,” said 133rd District Assemblyman Bill Nojay in a letter to the Governor’s Office, the state Attorney General, and the DEC, inquiring about the status of the AkzoNobel Desalinization Plant in Cuylerville. “The people of Livingston County must agree to any proposed changes. I ask that this process be carried out publicly, rather than behind closed doors.”
According to the Livingston County Administrator, Ian Coyle, repeated attempts to establish a date for a public discussion with the Attorney General’s Office and the DEC regarding the potential shut down have yet to receive a formal response.
“All we have at this point is that they are are considering a public forum,” said Coyle.
In a statement from AkzoNobel, the company admitted its desire to shut down the facility as soon as the State would permit.
“This approach to controlling the brine emerging from the mine is not practical, cost-effective or sustainable for the more than 2,000 years that brine will be exiting the mine. Therefore AkzoNobel will stop the pumping when the Consent Order ends or a settlement is reached with the State. The latest extension of the Consent Order runs out on October 15, but discussions with the State are ongoing so the timing of stopping the pumping has not been determined.” stated Jeroen Pul, Communications Manager for AkzoNobel North America.
The closed-door negotiations in regards to the potential plant shut down, between Zurich Insurance and New York State Attorney Generals Office and without the residents of Livingston County’s knowledge, have been taking place for over two years.
At this point, the matter is not scheduled to be addressed at the next Livingston County Board of Supervisors meeting, which is scheduled for this Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. GeneseeSun.com will be there to stream the meeting live.