Completed Applications
Consolidated SPDES Renewals

Notice To Extend Final


Applicant: Besicorp-Empire Newsprint and Besicorp-Empire Power Company
36 Riverside Avenue
Rensselaer, NY 12144

DEC Permit ID: 4-3814-00061/00001 and 4-3814-00052-00001

Project Description and Location: Besicorp-Empire Company, LLC obtaining a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) pre-construction permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on September 24, 2004 pursuant to the federal requirements at 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 52.21. The permit allowed the construction and operation of a facility consisting of a newsprint recycling plant and a nominal 505 MW combined cycle power production plant. The recycling plant will process approximately 430,000 tons/year of waste newspaper and magazines and have a auxiliary boiler to supply steam using natural gas and a limited quantity of low sulfur fuel oil. The power plant is configured with two GE Frame 7FA combustion turbines, heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs) and a steam turbine. With all of these components the maximum electrical output of the facility will be approximately 670 MW. It will use natural gas as the primary fuel and low sulfur (0.5%) distillate as the backup fuel in the combustion turbines and duct burners within the HRSGs.

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.

Prior Public Notices and Permit Status: The Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC" or "the Department") published a Notice of Intent to Issue Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permit Conditions in the May 29, 2002 edition of the Environmental Notice Bulletin and in local newspapers. The notice stated that DEC had made a tentative determination that the proposed construction and operation of the combined Besicorp newsprint recycling and power generation facility was subject to and satisfied federal requirements for PSD contained in 40 §52.21 and §124. The public comment period was open through July 19, 2002. The Department responded to public comment on the PSD notice and made a determination to issue a final PSD permit. The final permit became effective September 24, 2004.

The Department determined that the project will control emissions of PSD-affected air pollutants with the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for the following PSD-affected air pollutants: sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM & PM10), Carbon Monoxide (CO), and sulfuric acid mist (H2SO4). The DEC staff verified that emissions of these PSD-affected air pollutants will not cause or significantly contribute to an exceedance of any national primary or secondary ambient air quality standards, and consume less than the allowable PSD air quality increments.

Subsequently, at Besicorp’s request, DEC separated the PSD and State Facility permits for the newsprint recycling and power production facilities in June, 2005 based on financing requirements for the two projects. However, each of the separated PSD permits retained all of the applicable requirements and recognized that the plants were formerly permitted under a single facility for PSD purposes. Furthermore, based on reductions in volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions at the newsprint recycling facility and the relocation of the auxiliary boiler (with a smaller size) at the power plant to the newsprint facility, DEC issued revised State Facility permits in December, 2005 along with a PSD permit for the recycling plant reflecting these changes. Besicorp’s consultants had demonstrated to DEC’s satisfaction that none of the control technology or air quality impact analysis reviews were negatively effected by these changes.

Purpose of Current Notice: Pursuant to 40 CFR 52.21(r)(2) and condition F.5 of the initial PSD permit for the combined facilities, the permit granted to Besicorp-Empire, LLC would become invalid after 18 months of the final determination if the project has not commenced construction or is not granted an extension of the permit prior to March, 23, 2006. Besicorp-Empire Newsprint (BEN) and Besicorp-Empire Power Company (BEPC) submitted, through their consultant Epsilon Associates, requests to NYSDEC on January 10, 2006 for an 18 month extension of the two facilities’ PSD permits. Further information in support of the extension requests were submitted by the companies on January 27, 2006 to address a NYSDEC staff information request. This information provided more details on ongoing discussion with financial institutions, a construction schedule and the status of the remediation activities at the site. Additional details were further provided on February 24, 2006 in response to a request from EPA Region II of February 17, 2006 on pending permits and their association with the construction schedule.

Based on the information provided by BEN and BEPC, DEC staff, in consultation with EPA Region II staff, have made a tentative determination that an extension of the PSD permits for the two facilities is justified in accord with 40 CFR 52.21(r)(2). To assure that the PSD permit will remain in force while financial negotiations are finalized and the Army Corp of Engineers and NYS Office of General Services permits are granted, DEC staff have made a tentative decision to grant the PSD permit extension. However, the extension of the PSD permit will be limited to one year (i.e. till March 23, 2007) instead of the requested 18 months. Until a final decision is made by NYSDEC on this extension request the, current PSD permits for the two facilities shall remain valid and in force.

Tentative DEC Staff Determination: DEC staff, in consultation with EPA Region II staff, have reviewed the information submitted by Besicorp-Empire Newsprint and Besicorp-Empire Power Company to support it’s request for an extension. Staff’s tentative approval to grant the extension is based, in part, on a review of the following factors provided in EPA policy guidance: 1) BACT Review: An extension is justified if the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) determination(s) for the facility covered by the PSD permit remains appropriate. The previous BACT determination for the two facilities’ particulate/PM10, NOx, SO2, CO, and sulfuric acid emissions were acceptable at the time of the original permit and have not changed with the revised auxiliary boiler at the Newsprint facility. The Department concurs with Epsilon Associates conclusion that a review of the EPA BACT/LAER Clearinghouse reveals that the BACT determination remains current for the turbines at the power plant. 2) Air Quality Assessment: The modifications to the configuration and emissions of the separated facilities were modeled by the Epsilon Associated in June, 2005 to demonstrate that the resultant impacts were still within the applicable standards and PSD increments. DEC staff reviewed that analysis and found it acceptable. No significant change in controlling impacts were identified compared to the original analysis. 3) Additional PSD Requirements: As provided in EPA guidance, any new applicable requirement which has been promulgated since the original PSD permit date must be reviewed to assure compliance by the facility. Two such requirements which have occurred are the EPA’s policy of April 5, 2005 on implementing the PM2.5 standards and a revision of the PSD regulations on November 29, 2005 to treat NOx as a ozone precursor in attainment areas. With respect to the implementation of the PM2.5 standards, EPA policy continued reliance on the demonstration of PM10 standards in attainment areas until the final implementation rule is promulgated. However, based on DEC policy CP-33, a detailed assessment of PM2.5 impacts were previously performed and found acceptable. With respect to NOx emissions for ozone PSD purposes, it is noted that the facility’s original permit was reviewed under the more restrictive non-attainment provisions in 6 NYCRR Subpart 231-2 whereby the limits on NOx were defined by LAER requirements and NOx emission offsets were obtained for ozone purposes. Thus, no further analysis is deemed necessary.

Public Comments: DEC invites public comment regarding this tentative determination. DEC’s final determination will be made only after full consideration of all public comment. Statements are to be limited to the specific issue of the PSD permit extension and must be in writing, must be accompanied with adequate supporting information, and must be received by the Department at the below address no later than April 24, 2006.

Department Contact: Comments or requests for file documents or other information should be sent to:

Kevin Kispert, Project Manager
Division of Environmental Permits
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1750

Comment Period

Comment Period for Five Rivers UMP Scoping Open Through March 28th, 2006

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation welcomes public comments on the scope of the unit management plan for the Five Rivers Environmental Education Center. The principal goals of the Draft Plan are to study new capital initiatives at the Center, and to articulate a shared vision for the long term management and operation of the popular facility.

The purposes of the comment period are to provide ample opportunity for citizen participation at the earliest stage of the planning process, and to ensure that the Draft Plan addresses issues relevant to the public and faithfully reflects community needs and interests. Those wishing to contribute to the planning discussion may submit written comments to Five Rivers Center, 56 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054 through close of business, Tuesday, March 28.

Publication of the proposed Draft Plan is targeted for September 2006. Those wishing to receive the list of suggested discussion topics or to request "interested party" status for the unit management plan initiative are urged to contact the Center at 475-0291 to get on the mailing list.

Negative Declaration

Greene County - The Town Board of the Town of Catskill, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed contract for sale of former Washington Irving School will not have a significant adverse environmental impact. The action involves the town of Catskill proposing entering a contract for sale of the 17,500 ft former Washington Iring School building and approximately 1.04 acres of land. The property is located in a designated historic district in the Village of Catskill.

Contact: Joseph Izzo, Town of Catskill, 41 Main Street, Catskill, NY 12414, phone: (518) 943-2141.

Positive Declaration

Albany County - The City of Albany Common Council, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Park South Urban Renewal Plan may have a significant adverse impact on the environment and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement must be prepared. The action involves the Park South Urban Renewal Plan, if adopted, proposes to consist, in part, of a plan to assemble available properties to allow the potential redevelopment of: 1) approximately 28 one and two family units and 225 multi-family units with 541 units of new housing, including 50 senior units [a net increase of 253 units] which will consist of row houses, market rate apartments or condominium units; 2) ±22,500 square feet of existing retail space with ±44,500 square feet of retail space [a net increase of 22,000 square feet of retail space]; 3) ±31,000 square feet of office space with ±100,000 square feet of office space in two buildings associated with Albany Medical Center [a net increase of ±69,000 square feet]; 4) in-fill housing [up to 53 one, two or multi-family units]; 5) blocks of housing or rehabilitate isolated buildings up to 111 units of rehabilitated housing and 2,250 square feet of retail space; 6) lands for parking facilities, including enclosed parking garages, decks, surface parking lots and other parking areas to support the redeveloped uses; and 7) other ancillary infrastructure improvements to streets, sidewalks, sewer and water facilities and streetscapes. The Park South Urban Renewal Area consists of all properties within ±26.5 acres of land generally bounded by Madison Avenue on the north, Robin Street on the west, Myrtle Avenue on the south and Lark Street on the east; including interior streets within the aforementioned boundary, New Scotland Avenue, Knox Street, Dana Avenue and Morris Street.

Contact: Douglas Melnick, Department of Development & Planning, 21 Lodge Street, Albany, NY 12207, phone: (518) 434-2532 ext. 15.

Positive Declaration And Notice Of Acceptance Of Draft Generic EIS And Public Hearing

Rensselaer County - The Sand Lake Town Board, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Sand Lake Comprehensive Plan may have a significant adverse impact on the environment and a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement has been prepared. A public hearing on the Draft Generic EIS will be held on April 12, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. at the Sand Lake Town Hall, Sand Lake, NY. The action involves an update to the Town's Comprehensive Plan, which is a Type I action. This plan sets forth policy recommendations pertaining to Future Land Use; Hamlet Centers; Rural Character, Open Space, and the Environment; Economic, Housing, and Community Sustainability; and Infrastructure and Community Services within the Town. It sets forth a vision, specific goals, objectives, and recommendations, a general future land use map, and a plan for implementation.

Contact: Chris Kronau, Town of Sand Lake, PO BOX 273, Sand Lake, NY 12153, phone: (518)674-2026, fax: ( 518) 674-0441, e-mail: clerk@sand-lake.us.