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ST. LAWRENCE CEMENT PLANT DEFEATED
After fighting for over six years to build a cement plant on the Hudson waterfront in the community of Hudson, St. Lawrence Cement has officially withdrawn its application for the plant. The New York State Department of State found the plan inconsistent with the State’s Coastal Zone Policies. Without the state approval, SLC would be unable to obtain the permits from the US Army Corps of Engineers needed to move forward with the project. Riverkeeper is proud to have been an active member of a broad coalition of groups that has adamantly opposed the plant.
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Riverkeeper is an active member of a broad coalition of groups opposed to the proposed SLC project, which features a cement plant near the City of Hudson that would operate a 1200-acre acre open-pit mine, blasting out as much as 6.1 million metric tons of limestone annually. The processing plant would be fueled by 250,000 metric tons of coal per year, from which pollution will escape through a smoke stack towering 70 stories above the Hudson River.
We focused our efforts on issues relating to ecological impacts and restricted access to the Hudson River that would result from SLC’s current project plans. Other prominent issues include threats to the region’s air quality and public health, impacts on unique scenic and heritage resources, questionable economic impacts to neighboring communities and a history of this company’s documented compliance failures in other host communities.
In 2001, Riverkeeper and a broad environmental coalition petitioned for party status in a DEC permit hearing for the proposed project. Our actions over the course of the environmental review process have already induced SLC to significantly improve its original proposal; which included construction of a vast dock and loading area and related dredging of 60,000 cubic yards of river bottom from 5.1 acres of the Hudson River. We have also induced significant improvements in SLC’s plan to mitigate this damage by restoring neighboring wetlands. However, many of these improvements hinge on the DEC Commissioner’s review of the hearing and future adjudicatory hearings.
Additionally, Riverkeeper and Friends of Hudson object to SLC’s claim that it holds title to riverfront lands where the dock and loading areas are planned. The company hopes to use the Hudson River to ship 80% of outgoing products, as well as most of the plant’s incoming supplies. Public records indicate that SLC and its predecessors illegally filled the public riverfront over decades of occupation, benefiting industry to the detriment of the public.
Riverkeeper will continue our efforts in collaboration with a growing coalition of over 30 groups to debunk SLC’s propaganda myths, ensure fair and legal regulatory proceedings, and protect the Hudson River and neighboring communities from the project’s negative impacts.