A local Congressman is fighting for the interests of the future of nanotech in the Mohawk Valley, saying the environmental impact would be minimal.

Introduced by chairman of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, Rep. Bob Gibbs, Rep. Richard Hanna brought up the denial of a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 404 permit for Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises, (Mohawk Valley EDGE) to construct a pad on which a nanotechnology company could build.

The questioning took place during a budget hearing for the Army Corps of Engineers and was telecast by C-SPAN.

The court denied the permit because EDGE could not provide precise details about what the project's footprint would be, citing the obvious potential environmental concerns.  The group, Hanna says,  cannot provide the details to the Army Corps of Engineers without a shovel-ready property whereby a site applicant could outline precisely what that company intends to do.  Hanna says that EDGE, however, agreed to "...mitigate those marginal wetlands...four or five acres...some place else in the community, offered to do anything possible to get this permit for this potential nanotechnology plant."  He called the Marcy area a "starved community in upstate New York," one that is "...very, very economically deprived and in trouble."  He believes the nanotech site would help the area's economy without adverse environmental impacts, and for that reason should move forward.  He characterized the situation as a "catch 22," and asked the Army Corps of Engineers to rethink the permit denial.

Lt. General Thomas P. Bostick, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said that he did not realize EDGE was willing to specify a maximum environmental footprint that the project would not exceed.  Because of that he agreed to take another look at the proposal.  He said that if the maximum footprint stipulation is permitted legally, the permit might be able to be granted.

Hanna said he believes "...the most Draconian and harsh approach was taken in this process."  He said that despite millions of dollars spent by the community, and the personal investment of many, nothing has come out of the efforts to develop the nanotech industry in the Mohawk Valley.

Commander Bostick also said that he would comply fully with Congressman Hanna's request for the full administrative record of the permit.


The video of the proceeding appears below:

Congressman Hanna will appear on WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning on Friday, April 26, 2013 to talk more about the issue.