WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter on Thursday, June 17, 2010, U.S. Rep. Michael Arcuri (NY-24) and U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District Commander LTC Daniel Snead to remove a special condition in the draft wetlands permit that would prevent development of the Marcy Nanotech site until a semiconductor manufacturer has been identified and brought under contract.
“From the beginning, the goal has always been for EDGE to negotiate a permit with the Army Corps that would allow them to begin developing the site in an effort to attract a microchip manufacturer,” said Arcuri. “The draft permit presented by the Army Corps completely ignores that understanding and the tremendous amount of effort and resources that EDGE and the various state agencies have expended over the last four years to move this project forward.”
“We’ve got to end this bureaucratic Catch-22, where we need to have a chip manufacturer before we can develop the site, but we need to develop the site in order to attract a chip manufacturer,” said Schumer. “This project has serious potential for economic development – just look at what is going on 100 miles east, at Global Foundries. To not permit development to go forward at this point would waste a vast amount of resources the community has already spent, and would be a weight around the neck of efforts to creating good paying jobs for residents of the Mohawk Valley.”
“Just last month I visited the future site of the Marcy Nanotech Manufacturing Project and saw firsthand how critical this is to our local economic development in the Mohawk Valley,” Senator Gillibrand said. “To move this project forward, the Army Corp must reconsider the special condition they have placed on Mohawk Valley Edge’s permit to develop this site. This project holds tremendous economic potential for the region and is far to important to squander.”
For more than four years, Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises (EDGE) has been working with the USACE, Buffalo District to advance a wetlands permit application for the Marcy Nanotech site. The draft permit issued by the USACE on May 12, 2010, currently includes a requirement that prohibits EDGE from disturbing the majority of existing wetlands on the site “until a semiconductor manufacturer has committed and been secured by executed written contract to utilize the subject project site for the stated project purpose in this permit.”
This special condition is contrary to the central purpose behind the permit application – to begin development of the site for the express purpose of marketing it to a potential end user. The hope of EDGE has always been to create the most convenient and accessible site as a means of attracting a tenant.
Mohawk Valley EDGE and the USACE have been involved in ongoing negotiations over just how large an area EDGE will need to clear at the Marcy site and the amount of corresponding new wetlands EDGE will be required to create at the Oriskany Flats State Wildlife Management Area in order to offset the impact at the Marcy site. In order for EDGE to clear the site and prepare it for construction, they must first obtain a permit from the USACE because the development will involve removal of stream segments and other federally protected wetlands.
Below is the text of the letter sent by Arcuri, Schumer and Gillibrand to USACE, Buffalo District Commander LTC Snead:
LTC Daniel B. Snead, District Commander United States Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District 1776 Niagara Street Buffalo, NY 14207
Dear LTC Snead:
For more than four years, Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises (EDGE) has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE), Buffalo District to advance a Section 404 permit application for the site in Marcy, NY. Throughout this process, the intent has always been for the issuance of a permit that would allow EDGE to undertake the necessary site preparation in order to attract a semiconductor manufacturer. This initiative is critical to the long term economic development of the Mohawk Valley region. EDGE and the various state agencies have expended tremendous efforts during this time to obtain the necessary funding, waivers and covenants required for this important project to move forward.
It is our understanding that the draft permit issued by USACE on May 12, 2010, currently includes a special condition (#1), which prohibit EDGE from disturbing the majority of existing wetlands on the site “until a semiconductor manufacturer (tenant) has committed and been secured by executed written contract to utilize the subject project site for the stated project purpose in this permit.” In our view, this defeats the central purpose behind the permit application – so that EDGE could develop the site for the express purpose of marketing it to a potential end user. The hope of EDGE has always been to create the most convenient and accessible site as a means of attracting a tenant. This special condition deprives EDGE of that incentive.
Moreover, this special condition is unnecessary to ensure the least possible amount of wetland disturbance. Over the course of the last four years, USACE, EDGE and its consultants and engineers, as well as other federal and state agencies, have painstakingly negotiated the areas detailed in the draft permit to minimize the wetland disturbance at the site and tailor the appropriate amount of off-site mitigation. In addition, as the eventual signatory to the permit, EDGE will remain liable for any disturbances beyond the scope allowed by the permit and for the satisfactory completion of the mitigation plan that USACE has already deemed sufficient to offset impacts at the primary site.
For these reasons, we respectfully request your assistance in removing Special Condition 1 from the permit and allowing EDGE, upon validation of the permit, to immediately commence developing the site, in accordance with the mitigation plan.
As in the past, we appreciate your prompt attention and personal involvement in this important matter. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss this matter.