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State Implementation Plan for Ozone - Summary Hearing Report, November 5, 1997

Summary Hearing Report, November 5, 1997

STATE OF NEW YORK
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
50 Wolf Road
Albany, New York 12233-1550

In the Matter

- of -

the Proposed Adoption of a New York
State Implementation Plan (SIP) for Ozone

SUMMARY HEARING REPORT

- by -

John H. Owen

Administrative Law Judge

November 5, 1997

PROCEEDINGS

A legislative public hearing was held in the captioned matter on September 22, 1997 at the New York City Department of Planning, Spector Hall Conference Room, 22 Reade Street, New York, New York.

Notice of the hearing was published in the New York State Register on August 13, 1997, and on the same date in the Department's Environmental Notice Bulletin.

The notice of the hearing was also published on August 13, 1997 in the following newspapers: The Times Herald Record, Middletown, New York; Newsday (Queens, Nassau and Suffolk County Editions); The Daily Item, Port Chester, New York; The Daily Times, Mamaroneck, New York; The Standard Star, New Rochelle, New York; The Daily Argus, Mount Vernon, New York; The Herald Statesman, Yonkers, New York; The Daily News, Tarrytown, New York; The Citizen Register, Ossining, New York; The Reporter Dispatch, Central Edition; Rockland Journal-News, Nyack, New York; Review Press-Reporter, Bronxville, New York; The Star, Peekskill, New York; The Reporter Dispatch, Northern Edition; The Reporter Dispatch, Putnam Edition; and the New York Post.

The hearing notice stated that written comments would be accepted if received by October 24, 1997.

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS

Some five (5) persons spoke at the hearing before Administrative Law Judge John H. Owen. No written comments were received by the Administrative Law Judge and therefore are not included in this Report.

Barbara Warren representing the Consumers Union stated that twenty-seven years after the Clean Air Act required rapid attainment of health-based standards the public is still breathing bad air and will be for many years to come.

Consumers Union does not approve the State opting-out of requiring fleet vehicles to use cleaner fuels, even though the State must put in place something else that achieves "long-term reductions in ozone-producing and toxic air emissions equal to the Clean Fuel Fleet Program." While the State has adopted the California program for low emission vehicles (LEV) this is not a proper substitute for heavy duty vehicles and the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has no support for its view that the emission reductions achieved statewide through LEV will be equivalent to the Clean Fuel Fleet program for the Metropolitan area. Nor has the DEC adopted in the SIP an adequate inspection and maintenance program for vehicles.

Emission reductions statewide do not equate to emission reductions needed for the metropolitan area and the DEC has simply not looked at particulate matters, carbon monoxide or diesel exhaust.

The DEC violated the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) by declaring the SIP a Type I matter not requiring the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The DEC should adopt the recommendations of the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials for expanding the universe of fleet vehicles covered and increasing the percentage of new vehicles that must be fueled with clean fuels.

Cathy A. Kenny representing the New York State Petroleum Council stated that her organization was earlier opposed to the SIP because it would likely result in increased fuel costs without providing a commensurate environmental benefit but now favors it because it substitutes the LEV program for heavy duty Clean Fuel Fleet Program (CFFP). The organization also finds that SIP is consistent with the federal Clean Air Act.

Leslie Lowe, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYCEJA) said that the NYCEJA was opposed to the DEC opting-out of part of the CFFP and substituting the LEV program. The New York region has the second worst air in the United States, exceeded only by Los Angeles, and the level of particulate matter in the air has exceeded national standards every year for nearly a decade. This pollution kills, and kills people of color in greater numbers than whites. The plan to substitute the LEV program for the heavy duty portion of the CFFA raises doubt about DEC's commitment to clean air compliance at the earliest possible time, particularly with no scientific basis evident.

Samara F. Swanston, Executive Director and General Counsel for Watch Person Project Inc. of Greenpoint in Williamsburg, Brooklyn said the 156,000 people in the community are inundated with air pollution from a variety of sources, including the 200 industrial facilities in the community, and the trucks which serve them. Ms. Swanston's organization opposes any opt-out of the clean fuel provision of the Clean Air Act. The want documentation that the LEVs are going to be equivalent. The community is suffering from an asthma epidemic and resulting deaths. They request the Commissioner to turn his chair south to their and similar communities in New York City. They will go to the federal Environmental Protection Agency's Region 2 and ask them to take a hard look at the opt-out.

Cecil D. Corbin-Mark, Program Director of the West Harlem Environmental Action Inc., stated that his organization serves not only the West Harlem Community, but those of East and Central Harlem and Washington Heights, as well. Mr. Corbin-Mark seeks environmental quality of life and environmental justice for the more than half a million residents of the neighborhoods his organization serves. He opposes not requiring clean fuel for heavy duty fleet vehicles. He says New York City is severely out of attainment, causing shortened life spans, hospitalization and lost school days. He wants the standards for ozone and for particulate matter enforced. In the area of 125th Street and Amsterdam Avenue thousands of trucks pass through every day putting out unknown pounds of diesel pollutants. Asthma, research reveals, seems to be replacing lead as the rising epidemic at the end of the 20th century.

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