Thats what we will get to.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

More on the Army Corps and their nonsense

I was at this meeting.

River residents lambaste study
Citizens to Army Corps: go home
by M.B. Pell, Watertown Daily Times Staff Writer
First published: Wednesday, July 7, 2004

CLAYTON - St. Lawrence River lovers had a simple message for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: you represent a great danger to our way of life, we don't trust you, and we would like you to leave.

"Please gentleman, pick up your tools, pack your bags and go away," said Bea Schermerhorn, of Save the River, to officials from the Corps, Transport Canada and the Great Lakes Commission, at Tuesday night's meeting in the Clayton Opera House, which was packed to the balconies.

The Great Lakes Commission organized the meeting to gather public input on the $20 million Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River navigation study that Congress called for last year after the Corps' analysis of expansion was criticized for being incomplete and misleading. The study will examine the transportation system's aging infrastructure, such as the locks, and the environmental and economic conditions that affect the system, focusing on improvements that might be needed to keep it competitive with other trade routes.

Speaker after speaker hammered away at the Corps' representatives, criticizing the failure of the Corps to include community concerns in its initial study and pointing out numerous areas of the initial study that they believe are badly flawed.

Daniel C. Churchill, a Grindstone Island resident, said the Corps could make great strides with the community if it stopped avoiding an open dialogue. He said refusing to comment on the study commissioned by Save the River last year that challenged the Corps' claim that the regional economy will benefit from widening and deepening the shipping channel is a perfect example of dodging input.

"I think, if you guys are interested in public comment, when you receive a serious report like this, you should comment on it," Mr. Churchill said.

Wayne F. Schloop, the Corps' project manager for the study that was conducted in 2002 and the current study, agreed that he has not commented on the Save the River report.

Thousand Islands Land Trust President G. Theodore Mascott called for a study of shipping that takes into account the cost of damage caused by commercial traffic.

Invasive species are of immediate concern. Zebra mussels, which were brought to the Great Lakes in ships' bilge water, clog municipal sewer and water pipes and have to be removed from private and public docks on a yearly basis.

Mr. Mascott also said the benefits of commercial shipping should be detailed, as the last study assumed economic success for an expanded shipping system without explanation.

"Your study needs to be changed," Mr. Mascott said.

Mrs. Schermerhorn suggested that the Corps invite members of Save the River and representatives of the Thousand Islands tourism industry to participate in the study.

And Carol Clemenhagen, a Save the River board member from Rockport, Ontario, called for a better explanation of what the current study is supposed to examine and how the study came about.

"If they think the objective is clear, then there is something wrong with today's engineering schools," she said. "What are they really trying to do?"

Stephanie G. Weiss, executive director of Save the River, said that even though many participants didn't believe the Corps would listen to their concerns, she thinks the meeting will have a positive effect.

"I do think they'll take the public input into account," she said. "But the question remains, what happens in 2005?"

The study will be completed in the fall of 2005, when, Mr. Schloop said, politicians will take the report he provides and make a policy. He said the study could change to reflect comments from the public and insisted that the study's goal is not expansion.

"It's certainly not part of the study effort now," he said. "We're not looking at it; I don't know what else to say."
Johanna Lawrenson, co-organizer of Save the River and activist Abbie Hoffman's widow, said she's concerned the Corps will use its current study to justify expanding the Seaway.

"We don't want you studying future navigation on our majestic river," she said.

Richard M. Spencer, the National Wildlife Federation's Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizer and an original Save the River board member, said he is skeptical of the study's true aim because the money for the current examination came from the same Congressional appropriation that pays for all of the other Corps projects.

"Even some of the study teams are confused," Mr. Spencer said. "The Seaway in its newsletter referred to this as another "phase of the study."'

Assemblyman Darrel J. Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent, and representatives of U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. John M. McHugh, R-Pierrepont Manor, attended the meeting.


Editorial from the Watertown Daily Times: Seaway study
North country rejects Corps plan
First published: Thursday, July 8, 2004

North country residents delivered an unmistakable message Tuesday night to the Army Corps of Engineers: Leave the St. Lawrence Seaway alone.

The crowd at the Clayton Opera House was solidly opposed to a $20 million study of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River navigation system. The study is meant to examine the Seaway's infrastructure as well as the costs and environmental concerns associated with improvements.

However, skeptical of the motives for the study, opponents view it as a step toward deepening the channel and enlarging the Seaway to accommodate larger ships.

The current study is a follow-up to an earlier one by the Corps which drew criticism for being incomplete and misleading. Officials from the Corps, Transport Canada and the Great Lakes Commission, which are involved in study, were looking for public input.

If they were listening, they should have left with a clear message, one fueled by distrust of the Corps and summed up by Bea Schermerhorn of Save the River: "Please gentleman, pick up your tools, pack your bags and go away."

A multibillion dollar, long-range expansion of the Seaway will primarily benefit shipping concerns and the western Great Lakes, where the study is also generating attention.

A recent editorial in The Times in Munster, Ind., near Chicago, supports moving ahead cautiously with the study. It urges readers to attend a July 14 hearing in Chicago to make their views known on upgrading the system.

While recognizing environmental objections, the Indiana paper said, "Adapting to change is necessary to be competitive in the global economy. That is just part of the cost of doing business."

Yet, Northern New York will pay the cost in ecological damage done to shoreline property and fisheries from larger ships traversing the Seaway.

The irreversible changes to the river could affect the tourism so vital to the north country economy as well as power generation at the St. Lawrence-FDR Power project.

The economic benefits will bypass the river communities of Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.

Contrary to claims by the Corps' and expansion supporters, the north country will bear the burden of expansion. And there is unease that any improvements will lead eventually to harmful winter navigation.

Tuesday's speakers showed restraint and kept to the point. However, they demonstrated the intensity of north country opposition to the flawed study.


Blogger callieischatty said...

See what they are up to? They could have spent that time in New Orleans instead but no!

10:20 PM  
Blogger EXSENO said...

Ya it's been a mess there , they need all the help they can get.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

please make your posts a little bit more readable. The format on this post makes it a difficultly painful read.

1:46 PM  
Blogger callieischatty said...

Sorry Chris, I will work on that.

1:48 PM  

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