John Sweeney

Congressman John Sweeney and Fort Edward Supervisor Marilyn Pulver speaking at the press conference.

This article was originally published on August 2, 2006.

On Friday, July 21, the Town Board of Fort Edward held a press conference to deny rumors that they claimed that some community members were spreading, accusing the Town Board of attempting to delay the startup of the EPA mandated dredging project.

Reading from a Press Release, Town Supervisor Marilyn Pulver spoke of two legal proceedings that the Town Board is involved in. The Town will be arguing in Federal District Court in Utica on August 2, that the proposed Champlain Canal Dewatering Facility should not be exempt from either Site Plan Review by the Fort Edward Planning Board or "any other local permits which are required for any other industrial facility in the area".

Additionally, the Town of Fort Edward will begin eminent domain proceedings to acquire the vacant land in the Fort Edward Industrial Park where the Dewatering Facility will be built.

Clean up our riverCongressman John Sweeney was also in attendance at the Press Conference and spoke to the lack of specifics detailing compensation to be paid to the host communities for this project. Congressman Sweeney stated "Today is about standing with the little guy . . . whether it's a big corporation, or a big government agency or a political demagogue, people have to stand with you . . . we have to make sure those burdens are mitigated".

He spoke of being in negotiation with GE prior to the consent degree being signed, discussing local compensation and his disappointment at then EPA Administrator Christie Whitman for signing the degree without finalizing local compensation.

"No compensation has been granted to any of the communities for any of the massive burden. So today it's now time to call upon GE to step up to the plate, provide some compensation to the host community for Phase 1, Fort Edward. The towns' requests are legitimate and I call on GE to act in good faith with the town of Fort Edward to provide a financial host-benefit package. The Town is pursuing all routes to address their needs. They are pursing Eminent domain proceedings . . . and I support them in their efforts, singularly and most importantly because I think it is the only opportunity that the citizens of Fort Edward will have to have someone at the table . . . to protect their interests". "Be assured that neither the Town nor I stand here in an attempt to delay Phase 1".

"GE is a major player in this project they have a serious responsibility to the citizens of this town. Much as I predicted in the beginning, we have not been able to rely on EPA to understand or recognize the needs and concerns of the citizens. Our goal is to secure a financial package to the town to alleviate some of the burdens associated with dredging. The burdens of the Hudson River PCB's are only going to increase".

Marilyn Pulver, when asked for what exactly the Town was asking for in a benefits package, refused to give any specifics. Responding to a reporter's question about wheater or not the Town's Eminent Domain proceedings for the Dewatering Facility would set a precedent for other properties, Ms Pulverm smiled and said "Not necessarily".

Mark Shaptner legal council for the Town spoke at the end of the conference and confirmed that the Fort Edward is involved in acquiring the property where the Dewatering Facility will be built by Eminent Domain. The Town Board began proceedings following a public meeting on June 29th and, according to state law, have 90 days from that date to make their decision. The press release that was issued at the meeting spoke of the Town acquiring property, but never mentioned the words Eminent Domain.