Proposed regs provoke responses
“My crystal ball is not working, so I don’t know how this will turn out,” said Rupert. “The commissioners have to make the ultimate decisions in terms of taking the input from the public and making a decision on what to do. It’s not that they ignored the input, they considered it, but they still felt it was something that they could approve.”
Honesdale, PA resident Jane Prettyman asked if a cumulative impact study was ever considered by the DRBC. “We don’t have the funding,” said Rupert. “We reached out to various congressional offices asking for assistance. Congressman Hinchey went to bat and got above and beyond our request, but in the final analysis, everything has come to a halt because of the way Congress is addressing earmarks or what really are congressionally directed efforts. With the new leadership in the House, it is unlikely that any earmarks will be in bills in the foreseeable future.”
Rupert said that new information that becomes available in the future could be incorporated at that point.
Prettyman responded, “It sounds like you’re allowing an experiment to go on. With all due respect, I don’t think that’s a very good way to proceed.”
Rupert said, “I would guess that the kind of approach you’re suggesting is something we will hear in the comments and the commissioners will have to make a decision as to how they’re going to respond to that. It’s all part of the input process that you and others are raising.”
Prettyman asked that the UDC include a request for a cumulative impact study in its letter, and that they call for application of the precautionary principle, which states, “When an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically (www.sehn.org/precaution.html).”
Grappling with the process
Meanwhile, the UDC is drafting its comment letter, and finding the process to be contentious. Town of Delaware, NY representative Harold Roeder “forcefully made his point” about the regulations at a January 25 meeting of the Project Review Committee, while Town of Hancock, NY representative Fred Peckham said he feels there is “too much power” relegated to DRBC executive director Carol Collier.