Saturday, January 17, 2009

OD's Nanotech Nonsense . . .

The OD editors are up to their usual blame-shifting when the performance of their friends is in question: Our view: Army Corps must act now on Marcy site. The OD is wrong.

There is no wetlands permit for the Marcy "Nano" site because Local Leaders chose that route.

Back on 12/11/2002, a "Concerned Citizen" wrote to local officials on this very issue:

A few days ago I wrote to you to express my concern that Oneida County might be losing an opportunity to land a chip-fab plant at the site in Marcy. Today an article in the Utica O-D revealed that Mohawk Valley EDGE's permit application for the site faced rejection by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), that EDGE officials applied for the permit Oct. 29, 2001, and that EDGE will now wait until it finds a developer before it resubmits the application.

Oneida County for months has represented the Marcy site as "shovel-ready" for computer chip fabrication. "Shovel-ready" (according to the "Semi-NY" website, one place where the Marcy site is advertised) means that "no permitting obstacles stand in a company 's way" and that the site will be "available for groundbreaking within 60-90 days."

Today's article begs the question: Is our site "shovel-ready" or not? The fact that EDGE's application to ACOE has been pending for over a year with still no approval suggests that it is not.

In light of the County's advertisements on the "Semi-NY" and MVEdge websites, today's OD article makes it
appear that the County has been distributing misleading information. Why is the County indicating that its site is "shovel ready" when it has no permit from ACOE and has known for well over a year that it needed a permit? Can Oneida County assure prospective tenants that the site will be available for groundbreaking within 60-90 days? Should prospective businesses rely on the information that Oneida County provides?

Putting aside the issue of the County's credibility, why is the County giving up pursuing the ACOE permit
NOW? Is ACOE saying that the County has no right to provide a "shovel-ready" site? I doubt it: ACOE cannot forbid without qualification any encroachment on the wetlands without effectively condemning the property. Given that we have a Republican County Executive, a Republican Congressman (one of the most senior members in the House), a Republican President, and, perhaps most important, a Republican Governor who has been pushing the Semi-NY "shovel-ready" concept, it is incredible that Oneida County does not have the "clout" to cut through the federal red-tape. Did the County bother to ask for help?

These questions need to be answered.

As I indicated in my last letter, Oneida County's big advantage in seeking a chip-fab is having a site ready
NOW. When other sites closer to Albany come on line, it will be difficult for us to compete.

The County needs to resolve the ACOE permit issue, and pursue chip-fab companies, NOW.
[Prior and followup e-mails are here and here]

Amazingly, among the multitude of recipients of the above e-mail, only Mrs. Destito had the courtesy to respond
regarding the concern over the lack of an ACOE permit. After acknowledging that the points raised in the e-mail were valid, she stated:
However, I do agree with the decision of the Mohawk Valley EDGE officials to wait until a specific business expresses an interest in the area to apply for the Army Corps of Engineers site permit. . .
Mrs. Destito's letter confirms that shelving the permit application was "the decision of the Mohawk Valley EDGE officials."

There is no wetlands permit for the Marcy "Nano" site because Local Leaders chose that route.


Anonymous said...

Oh well. Nobody really cares actually, except for maybe the poor, who probably would have gotten the tax dollars used in "preparing" the nano-whatever site.
Companies don't want to be here. We have to face that. Actually, I acknowledged it years ago. Otherwise, GE, Conmed, Metlife, etc etc would be in full swing here.

Greens and Beans said...

Strikeslip, don’t blame the OD. They seem to have a comprehension problem.

Well let’s see . . . The political party has changed but the politics have not. This is because the results are the same; still no Army Corps of Engineer’s Wetlands Mitigation permit. We now have a Democratic Governor, Assemblyperson, Congressman, U.S. Senators, and soon a Democratic President. As the political planets of our universe seem to be perfectly aligned, there is still one common denominator; an economic development agency (Mohawk Valley Edge) that is not answerable to the electorate.

Dear, Perspective High Tech Corporation:
We, here in Oneida County New York, have a shovel ready nanotech site in the town of Marcy. Well . . . sort of, or maybe not quite yet. We want you to commit $Millions then we will decide to tell you the real truth regarding what we define “shovel ready” as.

Would you believe that just one short year ago, our Congressman told us that, as a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee which has oversight authority of the Army Corps of Engineers, he was prepared to expedite the necessary Wetlands Mitigation Permit process to make the site actually shovel ready? However, we are still waiting for his self-proclaimed influential intervention. Our elected leadership may appear to be perfectly politically aligned, but to get them to do their jobs just may be another matter. This may be the reason why he did not carry his home County (Oneida) in the last 2008 Congressional election. When the wrong candidate wins, we all lose.

May God rest the late Ricardo Montalban, but apparently "Fantasy Island" is alive and well here in the Mohawk Valley!