Jan 28, 2019 | Letter to the Copake Planning Board - Hillsdale Resident, Amy H. Davidsen

January 28, 2019

Dear Chairman Haight and Planning Board Committee members,

Thank you for your work to date to ensure that Craryville is kept safe from environmental harm and development that would hinder its future growth potential and rural character.  

Regarding the site plan review of the proposed GRJH, Inc. gas/diesel station at the Craryville four corners, I believe (as does the Save Craryville coalition) that there are multiple environmental risks which the Town has not investigated thoroughly such as:  

  • Potential existing subsurface soil contamination (the Environmental Impact Assessment provided to the ZBA by the applicant only investigated asbestos in the former building), and

  • Risks to the community’s water supply as the site sits on top of an "unconfined mid-yield aquifer," close to a DEC wetland and the protected Taghkanic Creek. In an agricultural community that relies on well water, a spill or on-site accident could contaminate the aquifer and/or our groundwater with fuel and other chemicals that would be catastrophic for both homeowners, businesses, and farms.

  • In addition, the growing risk of climate change makes gas/diesel infrastructure the wrong choice for our community and for the future of our planet.  To prevent global warming in excess of 1.5° C (2.7° F), we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% in the next decade, not encourage its use (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/we-must-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions-to-net-zero-or-face-more-floods).  A deliberate transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy is known to be necessary to achieve this reduction-and I suggest that the Planning Board review the most recent climate science, and review and update the 2014 Copake Climate Summary, to better understand the risks posed by climate change for our region.

In addition, I would like to suggest that the Planning Board request advice from the newly reconstituted Conservation Advisory Committee with respect to the site plan review of the GRJH, Inc gas station project.   

All the best and thank you,

Amy Davidsen