Shared from the 2/22/2018 Albany Times Union eEdition

COURTS

Global’s permit appeal denied

Ruling halts planned oil heating facility at Port of Albany site

Albany

The state Department of Environmental Conservation won another round in its legal battle over a long-delayed plan at the Port of Albany that could make it easier to ship thick Canadian tar sands oil.

The state Court of Appeals refused to consider an appeal by Massachusetts-based Global Cos. of a lower-court ruling that supported the DEC finding that Global submitted an insufficient air pollution permit application for its project in 2013.

Global operates an oil terminal, and filed plans in 2013 to operate a heating facility, which could make it easier to pump and transport oil in cold temperatures. Tar sands oil is thick and difficult to pump in the cold.

The company sued after DEC ruled in 2015 that the air pollution permit application was insufficient. A state Supreme Court ruling ordered DEC to make a decision on the project within 60 days, but that did not happen after the state prevailed last fall on an appeal to the Appellate Division.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy welcomed the Court of Appeals decision. Because the Appellate Division ruling was unanimous, the Court of Appeals had the discretion on whether or not to accept Global’s appeal.

“I continue to support the concerns many in the community have raised regarding the health and safety risks to the community posed by Global’s actions,” he said. “The DEC and the courts have listened as well and I continue to call for a full Environmental Impact Study to be done to assess the cumulative impact of the facility.”

In June 2013 Global applied to DEC for a federally required air pollution permit for the heating facility at the terminal it was already operating at the port. As public concern mounted, particularly among neighbors of the port in Albany’s South End neighborhood, DEC extended deadlines for public comment seven times.

In May 2015, just before a ruling on the permit was legally due, DEC issued a statement that it intended to revoke its earlier ruling that the heating plant project would have no adverse environmental impact.

But DEC has yet to issue the actual revocation, which would require Global to produce an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposal.

bnearing@timesunion.com 518-454-5094 @Bnearing10

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