Clean Air Group sues Moreau Planning Board and Biochar Solutions over fertilizer plant project

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MOREAU – The Clean Air Action Network of Glens Falls has filed a lawsuit under Section 78 against the Moreau Planning Board and Saratoga Biochar Solutions and its CEO, Ray Apy, seeking to prevent the company from establishing itself in Moreau industrial park.

The dispute follows the approval in August by municipal authorities of site plans for the construction and operation of a carbonaceous fertilizer plant in the industrial park.

The lawsuit alleges that the Planning Council failed to follow the necessary legal process to approve site plans submitted by the company and that the council failed to follow the recommendations of the National Environmental Quality Review when making its decisions.

The Section 78 lawsuit was filed Sept. 26 in the Saratoga County State Supreme Court. The Section 78 procedure is used to appeal the decision of a New York State or local agency to the New York courts.

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According to a press release from the Clean Air Action Network, or CAAN, on Thursday.

Company CEO Ray Apy said Thursday he was confident the board and his company would easily defeat the petition.

“It’s an unfortunate delay for us,” he said.

Apy said he had not yet received any papers, but knew the Planning Council had, so his company and legal counsel prepared a defense for the legal proceedings. According to the city, the Planning Board was served on Oct. 6.

According to the statement, the local environmental organization is represented by Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic.

“Ensuring that state and local government agencies comply with New York State’s Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) is crucial to preventing hasty and unwarranted approvals of industrial facilities like this. We hope filing this petition under Section 78 will be the first step in holding the City of Moreau Planning Board accountable and keeping the community safe,” said third-grade student Megan Gaddy. year of law at Pace University and articling student at Pace Environmental Litigation. Clinical.

CAAN, in its statement, said that neither Saratoga Biochar nor its parent company, Northeastern Biochar, has ever built or operated a biochar facility, or any other type of facility, and the Moreau plant would be the first the kind to function in the state.

The project was criticized by the community throughout the process and a group formed against the proposed plant. The “Not Moreau” group distributed lawn signs to supporters and created a Facebook group to publicly share their objections.

“When the company submitted a revised air permit application to the NYS DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) in June, it stated that the facility would release PFAS chemicals, a fact previously denied by Saratoga Biochar. New York State has set its drinking water limit for PFAS chemicals at 10 parts per trillion, due to the serious health effects of human exposure. Many community water supplies in the state already exceed this sanitary standard,” CAAN states.

Ann Purdue, a member of the Planning Council, adamantly opposed the passage of the project, after hearing the public outcry and thoroughly reviewing the documents provided by the company as well as the DEC. Purdue suggested the board request additional research and an expert review at Biochar’s expense, but she was outnumbered her fellow board members.

“Who would have imagined that the city supervisor would welcome in a company like Saratoga Biochar that would threaten us with pollution, stench and noise, ruining our quality of life and negatively impacting our health? All this to make a product that may not even be safe for its intended use as a carbon fertilizer for agriculture,” said Mary Clear, longtime owner of Moreau whose residence is located near the proposed site.

City Supervisor Todd Kusnierz said “in the best interests of the city” he cannot comment on the company or the project in light of the ongoing litigation.

“I will say that such a petition was anticipated, regardless of the final decision of the planning board,” Kusnierz said.

Members of the Planning Council did not respond to Post Star requests for comment Thursday.

Jana DeCamilla is a writer who covers Moreau, Queensbury and Lake George. She can be reached at 518-742-3272 or jdecamilla@poststar.com.

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