Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Richard Hanna today announced that the Commander for the Buffalo District Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will meet with Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises (EDGE) and relevant state and local officials to discuss advancing the development of the Nanotech site and addressing the permitting process that is required for bringing a semiconductor manufacturer to the region. Senator Gillibrand and Representative Hanna each spoke to the Commander yesterday, urging assistance to keep the project moving forward.
In their discussions with Buffalo District Commander LTC Stephen H. Bales, Senator Gillibrand and Representative Hanna continued to emphasize the need for a permitting process that allows EDGE to market the site to a semiconductor manufacturer and undertake significant site and infrastructure improvements that would have a minimal impact on the wetlands. As a result of these efforts, Commander Bales agreed to meet with EDGE in Utica to discuss possible solutions to the problem.
“This is a productive step to keep moving this project forward,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This is the kind of development we need to bring to the Mohawk Valley to create more good-paying, high-tech jobs right here in New York. I’ve visited the future site of Marcy Nanotech Manufacturing, and I know it’s potential to be a real economic engine in the region.
“Helping to foster job creation in Upstate New York is my top priority in Congress,” Rep. Hanna said. “Successful construction of the Nanotech site in Marcy would be a tremendous boon for our community. I am happy to help jumpstart this process after so many years and am hopeful that by gathering all the stakeholders to discuss the impediments to development we can find a way to resolve this issue once and for all so that construction can begin on this important project.”
For more than four years, EDGE has worked diligently with the USACE Buffalo District Office to advance a wetlands permit application for the Marcy Nanotech site. The draft permit issued by the USACE on May 12, 2010, included 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.”
In a previous letter sent on June 17, 2010, Senators Gillibrand and Schumer requested that then-Buffalo District Commander LTC Daniel Snead remove the special condition because it is contrary to the central purpose behind EDGE’s permit application—to begin development of the site for the expressed purpose of marketing it to a potential end user. LTC Snead replied that the limitation in the special condition is required by current regulations that protect wetlands, but that EDGE was entitled to formally appeal that determination. Mohawk Valley EDGE has since been issued a new permit, but concerns still remain on the permitting process and the development of the site.
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.