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Besicorp-Empire Development Company, LLC (May 2002)

May 29, 2002

STATE OF NEW YORK
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
ANNOUNCEMENT OF PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD, and
COMBINED NOTICE OF COMPLETE APPLICATION,
PUBLIC HEARING and ISSUES CONFERENCE and
NOTICE OF ACCEPTANCE OF DRAFT EIS

Applicant: Besicorp-Empire Development Company, LLC, 1151 Flatbush Road, Kingston, NY 12401.

Application Number:

DEC # 4-3814-00052/00001 - Part 201 Air State Facility;
DEC#: 4-3814-00052/00002 - State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (SPDES);
DEC#: 4-3814-00052/00003 - Title IV Acid Rain;
DEC#: 4-3814-00052/00004 - Water Quality Certification;
DEC#: 4-3814-00052/00005 - Construction Stormwater SPDES;
DEC#: 4-3814-00052/00006 - Excavation and Fill in Navigable Waters;
DPS Case # 00-F-2057

Project Description: The Empire State Newsprint Project will consist of a recycled newsprint manufacturing plant and a nominal 505 MW combined cycle cogeneration plant.

The recycled newsprint manufacturing plant will be located on the northern portion of the site where the existing BASF manufacturing plant is located. A majority of the existing buildings at the BASF manufacturing plant will be demolished to accommodate construction of the recycling facility. The recycled newsprint manufacturing plant will consist of a de-inking plant, stock preparation and paper mill and finishing and shipping. The recycled newsprint manufacturing plant will process approximately 430,000 metric tonnes/year of waste newspapers and magazines to produce 330,000 metric tonnes/year of 100 percent-recycled newsprint.

The cogeneration plant will supply steam and electricity (approximately 55 MW) to the recycled newsprint manufacturing plant. The remainder of the electricity generated will be offered on the merchant market. The cogeneration plant is configured with two GE Frame 7FA combustion turbines with dry low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) combusters, heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs), a steam turbine and an auxiliary boiler. With all of these components of the facility included, the maximum electrical output will be 670 MW. The cogeneration plant will use natural gas as the primary fuel and low sulfur (0.05%) distillate as the secondary fuel in the combustion turbines and duct burners within the HRSGs. The auxiliary boiler will also fire natural gas and low-sulfur distillate fuel. Distillate fuel use will be limited up to the equivalent of 1,080 hours per year at 100 percent load.

Process water for the facilities will be withdrawn from the Hudson River at a maximum rate of 9.6 millions gallons per day (MGD), including approximately 7.9 MGD for the recycled newspaper manufacturing plant and 1.7 MGD for the cogeneration plant. Non-contact cooling water for the cogeneration plant will be supplied by Albany County Sewer District South Plant at a maximum rate of 6.6 MGD. Wastewater from the facility will be treated on-site and discharged to the Hudson River. The daily flow rate of wastewater is proposed to be 6.25 MGD (average daily) and 8.1 MGD (peak daily).

The water intake structure for process water will consist of two cylindrical 1-mm wedgewire screens and the seasonal deployment of a Marine Life Exclusion System structure. The installation of the intake structure and outfall will require the dredging of 1,100 cubic yards from the Hudson River that will be disposed of off site. Approximately 1,340 cubic yards of clean material will be used for backfill in the Hudson River.

Project Location: The project is located at the former industrial manufacturing site currently owned by BASF in the City of Rensselaer, Rensselaer County. The project site totals 88 acres, with all facilities associated with the project covering 58 acres. The site is bordered by Riverside Avenue and the Hudson River on the west, the Port Access Highway on the east and south, and by another industrial facility on the north.

State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES)

SPDES Permit: Pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) §17-0823, the Applicant has filed an application with the DEC for a SPDES wastewater discharge permit and a request for certification that its discharges will comply with the applicable provisions of §§301, 302, 303, 306 and 307 of the federal Clean Water Act. The application was originally filed on July 10, 2001 and has been determined by DEC Staff to be consistent with the requirements of §402 of the Federal Clean Water Act.

DEC Staff concludes that the application for this permit is complete within the meaning of Title 6 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations (6 NYCRR) §621.1(d) and has tentatively determined to issue this permit. Consequently, DEC Staff has prepared draft permits pursuant to 6 NYCRR §621.5(d)(7).

The Applicant also intends to seek coverage under the SPDES General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Construction Activities (GP-93-06). In accordance with Part I.D.6 of the General Permit the Applicant has submitted the information required by Appendix G and DEC Staff concludes the Applicant may seek coverage under the General Permit.

Air Permit Applications

Air Permits: The Applicant has filed individual applications seeking the issuance of: (1) a preconstruction permit pursuant to 6 NYCRR §201-6.1(b) and Subpart 201-5; (2) a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit pursuant to 40 CFR §52.21 as incorporated by reference at 6 NYCRR §200.10; and (3) a Phase II Title IV acid rain permit pursuant to 40 CFR Part 72 as incorporated by reference at 6 NYCRR §200.10. DEC Staff concludes that the applications for these permits are complete within the meaning of 6 NYCRR §621.1(d) and has tentatively determined to issue the permits. Consequently, DEC Staff has prepared draft permits pursuant to 6 NYCRR §621.5(d)(7).

DEC Staff has determined that the conditions in the draft preconstruction permit authorize the construction and operation of the proposed facility and assure conformance of the facility with all applicable State and federal air pollution control regulations including the requirements of 6 NYCRR Parts 201, 204, 225, 227, 231, and 257, as well as all New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) at 40 CFR Part 60.

The terms and conditions of the draft PSD permit are not subject to public hearing under State administrative procedures. Reference to the PSD permit in this notice is for informational purposes only. The DEC is concurrently issuing for public comment a Notice of Determination to Issue Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Permit pursuant to 40 CFR §52.21 and Part 124.

Protection of Water / Water Quality Certification

Excavation and Fill and Dredging Permits. Pursuant to ECL §15-0501 and the Clean Water Act Part 401 Water Quality Certification, the Applicant has filed an application with the DEC for a permit for excavation and fill in navigable waters and a water quality certification. These permits are for the installation of the water intake and outfall structure. DEC Staff concludes that the applications for these permits are complete within the meaning of 6 NYCRR §621.1(d) and has tentatively determined to issue a permit. Consequently, DEC Staff has prepared a draft permits.

DEC Staff has determined that the conditions in the draft permit authorize the construction and installation of the intake and outfall structures and assure conformance of the facility with the standards for permit issuance set forth in 6 NYCRR §608.8.

Additional Regulatory Provisions

NYS Public Service Law (PSL): This project requires a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (Certificate) to construct and operate an electric generating facility with a capacity of 80 MW or more and is subject to review pursuant to New York State Public Service Law (PSL) Article X (Siting of Major Electric Generating Facilities). The PSL Article X application/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was filed on December 20, 2001 and a supplement was filed on May 9, 2002. The conditions contained in the draft permits identified in this notice will be incorporated into the Article X hearing record for the project.

The DEC public hearings noticed below are being held jointly with the related PSL Article X proceedings concerning the Article X application filed by Besicorp - Empire Development Co., for a Certificate for the construction and operation of the cogeneration plant (DPS Case #00-F-2057). For additional information concerning the PSL Article X application and related hearings, go to the Department of Public Service web page at: http://www.dps.state.ny.us/besicorp.htm.

NYS ECL and Implementing Regulations: In addition to the specific statutes and regulations cited above, the subject SPDES, the preconstruction and Phase II Title IV acid rain air permit applications as well as the excavation and fill permit and the water quality certification are being processed by the DEC pursuant to ECL Article 3, Title 3 (General Functions), ECL Article 17 (Water Pollution Control), ECL Article 19 (Air Pollution Control), ECL Article 15 (Protection of Waters) and 6 NYCRR Subparts 201-6 (Permits and Registrations) and 231-2 (Requirements for Emission Sources Subject to §§172 and 173 of the Clean Air Act , 42 USC §7502 and §7503 on or after November 15, 1992), Part 608 (Protection of Water), Part 621 (Uniform Procedures), Part 624 (Permit Hearing Procedures), Parts 750-758 (State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) and the Clean Water Act Part 401 Water Quality Certification.

SEQRA Status: The DEC Staff has determined that a portion of this proposed project is exempt from SEQRA (6 NYCRR 617.4(c)(35)) and a portion is a Type I action as designated by 6 NYCRR §617.4(b)(6)(iii). A DEIS/Article X application has been prepared and the Department, as lead agency, has determined the DEIS is adequate for public review. Pursuant to 6 NYCRR §617.9(a)(4) the Department has made the determination to hold a public hearing, the details of which are provided below in the legislative hearing section of this notice.

SHPA Status: A cultural resource survey has been completed. Based on the information provided in the survey report, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) has determined the proposed project will have an impact on registered or eligible archaeological sites or historical structures. The Department must consult further with OPRHP before making a final determination on the permits.

Coastal Zone Management: This project is located in a Coastal Management Area and is subject to the Waterfront Revitalization and Coastal Resources Act. A Coastal Assessment Form has been prepared and is on file. The City of Rensselaer has an approved Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

Tentative DEC Staff Position and Document Availability: DEC Staff has reviewed Besicorp - Empire Development Company's application materials and supporting documentation (including the May, 2002 Supplement, Volumes I - III) and has determined that they are complete pursuant to 6 NYCRR Part 621. A tentative determination has been made to approve this application and prepare draft permits. It has been determined that all air program statutory and regulatory criteria can be met through the imposition of special permit conditions. For the 201-6 draft air preconstruction permit, the DEC has incorporated control technologies and emission limits proposed by the Applicant, and has independently developed additional conditions to ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements. The background documentation of this determination is available in the "fact sheets" and the administrative record for the project.

The application materials, fact sheets, the draft air preconstruction permit, draft Phase II Title IV acid rain air permit, the draft SPDES permit and the draft excavation and fill permit/water quality certification are available for review at the following locations during normal business hours between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday:

  • NYS DEC Office of Hearings and Mediation Services, 625 Broadway, First Floor, Albany, NY 12233-1550. Contact: Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) P. Nicholas Garlick;
  • NYS DEC Division of Environmental Permits, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1750. Contact: Christopher M. Hogan, Project Manager, at (518) 402-9151; and
  • NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 4 Headquarters, 1150 North Westcott Road, Schenectady, NY 12136. Contact: Michael Higgins at (518) 357-2453.

The application materials, fact sheets, the draft air preconstruction permit, draft Phase II Title IV acid rain air permit, and the draft SPDES permit are also available for review at the following locations during normal business hours.

  • Rensselaer Public Library, 810 Broadway, Rensselaer, NY 12144, 462-1193
  • Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12210, 449-3380
  • North Greenbush Public Library, 138 Main Avenue, Wynantskill, NY 12198, 283-0303
  • Troy Public Library, 100 Second Street, Troy, NY 12180, 274-7071
  • East Greenbush Community Library, 225 Columbia Turnpike, Rensselaer, NY 12144, 477-7476

Written Comments: All written comments concerning the draft preconstruction permit, draft Phase II Title IV acid rain air permit, and draft SPDES permit must be postmarked by July 19, 2002, and sent to Administrative Law Judge P. Nicholas Garlick, NYS DEC Office of Hearings and Mediation Services, 625 Broadway, First Floor, Albany, New York 12233-1550.

All public comments on these permits will be reviewed by DEC Staff to determine whether they raise substantive and significant issues that warrant further review through adjudication. Specific comments must be supported by full documentation and references should be limited to readily available information. Please note that the draft PSD permit referenced above is not subject to hearings under State administrative procedures.

Public Hearings Sessions and Issues Conference

Legislative Public Hearing: Legislative hearing sessions to receive unsworn statements from the public on the applications and the draft permits, described above, will be held before Administrative Law Judge P. Nicholas Garlick, on July 9, 2002 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at the Rensselaer High School, 555 Broadway, Rensselaer, NY, 12144. As stated above, this hearing is being held on a joint record with the related PSL Article X proceedings. All persons, organizations, corporations, or government agencies which may be affected by the proposed project are invited to attend the public hearing and to submit oral or written comments. It is not necessary to file in advance to speak at the legislative hearing. Lengthy statements should be in writing and summarized for oral presentation. Reasonable time limits may be set for each speaker to afford everyone an opportunity to be heard. Equal weight will be given to both oral and written statements. The hearing location is fully accessible to persons with a mobility impairment. Interpreter services shall be made available to deaf persons at no charge upon written request to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at least 10 days prior to the hearing, pursuant to the State Administrative Procedures Act.

Issues Conference: A pre-adjudicatory hearing Issues Conference is scheduled to be held at 10:00 a.m. on July 10, 2002 at the NYS Department of Public Service, Hearing Room, 3 Empire Plaza, Albany, NY 12233. The Issues Conference will continue day to day, as necessary. At the Issues Conference, the ALJ will determine what issues, if any, require adjudication, and will define the scope of such issues. Participation at the Issues Conference will be limited to the DEC Staff, the Applicant and those persons requesting party status pursuant to 6 NYCRR §§624.4 and 624.5. The draft PSD permit conditions referred to above are not subject to an adjudicatory or evidentiary hearing.

Filing for Party Status and Proposed Issues: To participate at the DEC Issues Conference concerning the draft permits identified in this Notice (except the PSD permit), parties must file a written petition requesting party status including the facts intended for presentation pursuant to 6 NYCRR §§624.4(c) and 624.5(b). In addition, any petition must fully identify the proposed party and the name(s) of the person(s) who will act as the party's representative(s), the party's environmental interests, the statutory considerations relevant to the project, whether the request is for full party status or amicus status, and the precise grounds for opposing or supporting the project. Mere opposition to the project is not a sufficient basis to be granted party status. A grant of party status in the parallel Article X proceeding does not automatically grant party status in the DEC hearing process.

If seeking full party status, the petitioner must propose issues that could result in permit denial, major modification of the proposed project, or the imposition of significant permit conditions. The petition must identify all statutory and regulatory requirements which may not be met, and explain why. If a party intends to rely upon expert testimony, the petition must also include an offer of proof that specifies the witness(es), the nature of the arguments, any documentary evidence that the party intends to present at the hearing, and the grounds upon which the assertions are based regarding the proposed issues.

For amicus status, the filing must identify the nature of the legal or policy issues to be briefed, and provide a statement explaining why the proposed amicus is in a special position with respect to those issues.

All petitions must be received by 4:00 p.m. on July 3, 2002. One copy of any petition requesting either full party status or amicus status must be served upon the following individuals:

  • Administrative Law Judge P. Nicholas Garlick, NYSDEC Office of Hearings and Mediation Services, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1550.
  • Administrative Law Judge Jaclyn A. Brilling, NYSDPS, Office of Hearings and Alternative Dispute Resolution, 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350.
  • Mark D. Sanza, Esq., Associate Counsel, Office of General Counsel, Division of Legal Affairs, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, 14th Floor, Albany, New York 12233-1500.
  • Paul Agresta, Esq., NYSDPS, 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350.
  • Kevin M. Bernstein, Esq., Bond, Schoeneck and King, LLP, One Lincoln Center, Syracuse, NY 13202-1355.

Service by fax is NOT authorized.

Daniel E. Louis
Chief Administrative Law Judge

May 29, 2002
Albany, New York

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