Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nano Nonsense from EDGE . . .

Nanotech project still waiting on wetlands permit

It appears that development of the Marcy "Nanocenter" site is now being coordinated with development of "related facilities at SUNYIT."  From the article, it appears that SUNYIT will lease their land ...
... to a new nonprofit, Fort Schuyler Management Corp., which will sub-lease the land to EDGE. 
EDGE, an economic development group, then would market the site and oversee initial site work, facility design and construction. In addition, EDGE would pay $4.2 million to the nonprofit to support the SUNYIT mission.

It always seems to be wheels within wheels within wheels whenever EDGE is concerned! 

And just where is the $4.2 million being paid to SUNYIT coming from?

However, one piece of the puzzle is still in limbo — a wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mohawk Valley EDGE spokeswoman Mary Rizzo said.
[Here, we could turn this into a sidebar discussion over creeping Federalism.  Federal jurisdiction to regulate wet spots that are not connected to streams carrying interstate commerce is really questionable.   But with the Feds taking over virtually every aspect of our lives, this is probably not the time to attempt to challenge it.  Let's face it, area residents are already paying for enough legal problems (sewer consent order, MVWA lawsuits) that could have been avoided had our local government leaders known what they were doing.]   
A draft permit from the Army Corps said the final permit would only be issued when there was an end user in sight, Rizzo said.
“To us that is unacceptable,” she said.
Instead, EDGE wants the permit now to be able to attract an end user, Rizzo said.
EDGE blew the AMD Chip Fab for the Marcy "Nanocenter" site because it shelved its Army Corps permit application back in 2002 -- even in the face of warnings that doing so was a mistake. Unless EDGE deliberately scuttled its 2002 application to enable local Republican leaders to curry favor with Joe Bruno, EDGE obviously did not know what it was doing then    What is the evidence that EDGE knows what it is doing now?

Frankly, if I was the Army Corps I probably would not issue a final permit either.  With the "wheels within wheels" approach, just whom would the Army Corps hold accountable to ensure that all permit conditions are complied with?  SUNYIT? EDGE? Fort Schuyler Management (with no track record, no assets, and no individual co-signers to secure performance)? An unknown developer or tenant for the site?

There are too many players involved for the Army Corps -- or we the taxpayers -- to keep track of.


Anonymous said...

Just like the Aerosmith song goes, there are a lot of local wannabes "Livin' on The EDGE" or should I say off of EDGE.

Anonymous said...

This is an example of the continueing saga of local boards even including elected one like the Oneida County Board of Legislators and the media, both the OD and Sentinel. Comrehensive information is never forthcoming until after the fact. This should be unacceptable to all given the public monies thrown around. Yet, decision makers and the media watchdogs do not seem to grasp this central point. O, maybe refuse to grasp is better put. There are two underlying reasons. First, the politcal class is so used to control and unaccountability, they do not even acknowledge the responsibility of open government. All deals are made in private and only partially disclosed. Second, Donna Donnovan and Steven Waters are part and parcel of the EDGE/Griffiss/Chip Fab debacles and failures both directly and indirectly. Comprehensive reporting is not only not encouraged but is discouraged. The public stays ignorant of what is going on and what is spent until after the fact. This would not occur in most places and should not be tolerated here, yet we stay asleep.

onjeesun said...

This whole thing is like a strange movie that starts off like "Field Of Dreams" (build it and they will come), and then turns into "Dances With Wolves" (or dancing with wolves as the case may be).

Anonymous said...

In 2002 EDGE scuttled the wetlands permit? It's now 2010. The whole idea of attracting a chip plant to Marcy or anywhere else in Oneida County is the biggest farce ever put over on the citizens of this area. What are we, a bunch of suckers? Anyone that believes that we will actually get a chip plant is out of their mind. But the folks at EDGE want us to believe it, & the suckers do. And EDGE? Oh, they just keep pumping out the same 'ol b.s. year after year, while taxpayer money flows in their's & the chosen few's direction. Yea, we'll get a chip plant. Do u actually believe that the elite of this area want their companies to compete with the high paying jobs of a chip plant? Back in the 40's & 50's the mills kept out many companies paying higher wages. It's the same scenario now. Only the faces have changed.

Strikeslip said...

Actually, Anonymous, I think this area actually had a good shot at getting the chip plant back in the early 2000s -- but it was a small window of opportunity that rapidly closed.

With the multiple institutions of higher education including prestigious RPI, and good airline service, the Capital District would seem the logical first choice for a chip fab company that wanted to come to New York. The problem for the Capital District back then was (1) the lack of an adequate water supply at their site because the site depended on groundwater, (2) a site that was still in the planning stages, and (3) public opposition. At that time the Marcy site was already planned, had already overcome public opposition, and already had an adequate water supply. Marcy only lacked the wetlands permit, but that was pending.

So Oneida County actually had a window of opportunity to land a chip fab while the Capital District was getting its act together -- including going through an entire permitting process to install a new water system that would take water from the Hudson.

What happened afterward? Companies were strongly courted by Albany while EDGE seemed to be asleep. You could read in the Albany Business Review about 6 companies touring the Malta site which was still on the drawing boards -- but these people couldn't even be enticed to drive 90 miles to see a site that was practically finished??? One has to question EDGE's efforts during this period.

Then EDGE shelved the wetlands permit . . . Then Oneida County lost airline service . . . and after that MVWA screwed up OUR water supply. (It seems to have escaped the media, but with MVWA limited to a 1970 level of water use, it is unlikely that there is enough water available for a chip fab now.)

Window closed!

Yes anonymous -- I think your point about the mill owners not wanting competition for workers is a valid point.

Anonymous said...

The politics of the state + the attraction of the Saratoga area with RPI, Union, etc., right there meant we were never getting that plant. The idea that we were "second" was face saving for local Repubs and Destito.

Anonymous said...

I thought you might find this amusing, if not for the rather tragic nature of it.

Stop by at the "Sites and Facilities" page at MV EDGE ( http://www.mvedge.org/SitesAndFacilities.asp ) and try sending an email to the address at the top. As far as I can tell the address has been dead for at least the last six weeks, and probably quite longer. So much for the "skilled, high-tech workforce", as well as the seriousness of EDGE's development efforts.

Anonymous said...

One of the dirty little secret about EDGE is the low end nature of their materials, forms and promotional items and appearances. They not only do not impress but most likely act as a turn off to those they seek to attract or assist. Their low standards should have been exposed, discussed and rectified along time ago by the county board with an assist inpublicity by the OD. We are paying huge salaries, financing a large staff complete with outrageous travel expenses and getting a poor product. Yet those in control sleep through it all. There is no surprise to the poor to failed efforts of EDGE. Sadly, there is also no surprise to their lack of accountability. One is almost forced to believe in the conspiracy theory that they are paid not to attract new business. If the county executive had any ambition or smarts, he would clean out the mess and start all over. But,he has no clue nor care.

Anonymous said...

I was looking at plans for the Edic Road Bypass, which is scheduled for construction in 2011, and again noticed reference to the Fort Schuyler management Corporation. A not for profit Corp. formed for the development of the Nano Technology Site. Remember Not for profit does not me that those in charge will collect huge salaries. I can't find any information on who makes up FSMC. Anyone have any leads? May open some eyes as to who is employed by this Corp.