Thursday, 27 October 2022 13:34

Lawsuit Filed Against Moreau Planning Board; Saratoga Biochar: Ceo Says Claims Are Not ‘Remotely Accurate’

By Dylan McGlynn | Business

MOREAU — The Clean Air Action Network of Glens Falls has filed an Article 78 petition against the Town of Moreau Planning Board and Saratoga Biochar Solutions, alleging that the Planning Board did not follow the State Environmental Quality Review Act before green-lighting a proposed agricultural fertilizer plant by Saratoga Biochar.

But Ray Apy, CEO of Northeastern Biochar Solutions, says the claims made are not accurate, saying they are “a delay tactic.”

“While we would not provide details specific to our planned response to the Article 78 complaint, I can tell you that the complaint is simply a delay tactic that is severely flawed in logic and law and will be readily defeated,” Apy said in a statement. “None of the claims made are remotely accurate.”

The planning board had issued a conditional negative declaration for the project in March, ruling that it would not have adverse environmental impacts. The petition filed by CAAN, however, says that the planning board has received “a variety of information” that should have led to the decision being revisited.

According to a release by CAAN, this information includes, “Saratoga Biochar’s admission that its facility would release PFAS into the air and that the sewage sludge would be trucked in from downstate and western New England.”

The Biochar facility would be the first in New York State and would use pyrolysis to convert as much as 720 tons of sewage sludge per day into biochar, a charcoal soil amendment, according to the release. The facility would also release quantities of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, PFAS, and more.

A positive SEQRA declaration would have forced Saratoga Biochar to produce an Environmental Impact Statement, the release says, which would detail the project’s impact on the community. 

“The interim planning board chairperson told me that in his 18 years on the Moreau Planning Board, no applicant has ever been required to do an Environmental Impact Statement,” said Clean Air Action Network chair Tracy Frisch in the release. “Such a track record suggests that the planning board has not been using all the tools at its disposal to protect the best interests of the community. Not only is the planning board failing the people of Moreau; it is also breaking the law.”

CAAN is aiming to have the Planning Board’s conditional negative declaration ruled invalid, and have the project re-examined by the Board.

Apy continues to dispute the suit, saying it is “unfortunate” that CAAN has chosen to fight and delay the project.

“What is really unfortunate in this is that a group that self-describes as ‘environmental’ has filed a complaint that will only delay a project that has tremendous environmental and human health benefits,” Apy said in his statement. “This does not change our plans for the Moreau Industrial Park at all.”

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