Arsenic Fact of the Day: Lack of information extended to Portsmouth Town Council

Today we'll hear the DEM's response to Portsmouth Town Councilor Judi Staven, who provided official comments at the public meeting on January 18. Here's part of the transcript and what the DEM said in the Beneficial Use Determination (BUD), available on the DEM web site.

First, let's hear Ms. Staven in her own words:

Um, as you can tell, people are afraid. All right? That's what's going on here. And part of it is because -- a big part is what everybody's been saying. There was no notice for this. I don't know what's going on. Nobody knows what's going on. And it scares people. You know, you hear arsenic, you hear raising levels and you live next to there, it's a problem.

See the BUD for rest of transcript. And here are the DEM responses in italic.

  • People are afraid.
    Agreed. The Department believes some of the fear may be the result of misinformation about the site and proposed arsenic levels.
  • Notice was not adequate.
    See Adequacy of Public Notice.
  • Commenter was specifically told in an e-mail that it was supposed to be an informational meeting and not a public hearing. Given that the public notice didn't say there would be a stenographer it has been misrepresented.
    When the commenter originally requested a meeting, several formats were discussed, including a discussion during a meeting of the Town Council as well as an informational workshop. Given the level of concern, it became readily apparent residents wanted to be heard on the issue. Therefore, the press release was sent to the commenter (as well as media outlets and interested parties who had contacted the Department) on 1/14/2011 that contained the following statement: "Representatives of DEM and AP Enterprises LLC will present information about the proposal and answer questions. Interested parties will have an opportunity to submit comments following the question and answer session." We do not see how this could be construed as misrepresentation.
  • Commenter resents the Department walking in and demanding we do this.
    The Department was more than accommodating to the wishes of the council. To have not allowed people the opportunity to comment for the record when the press release clearly stated: "Interested parties will have an opportunity to submit comments following the question and answer session" would have been completely unreasonable.

Editorial note: I strongly encourage anyone who lives in Island Park to read the entire BUD and get the facts.