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Project XL Logo

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Public Participation and Outreach Plan

Division of Solid and Hazardous Materials
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Albany, New York l2233-7250

Project XL for Public Utilities Public Participation and Outreach Plan The following steps are designed to ensure open and inclusive public participation in developing and implementing the Final Project Agreement (FPA) for this project:

l. As soon as practicable, DEC will place public notices in New York State's Environmental Notice Bulletin (ENB) and the New York State Register (NYSR), announcing the initiation of an FPA development process. The announcement will include:

A. A basic description of the project, including intended targets, problem areas to be addressed, relevant State and federal environmental statutes/ regulations, the proposed solution, and prospective environmental benefits.

B. Notice that DEC is the sponsor of this project and will have lead responsibility for its implementation and administration, but EPA will also be an active participant in all stages of the project.

C. A description of the proposed stakeholder involvement process.

D. The name and telephone number of DEC and EPA contact persons from whom the public and other interested parties can obtain information about the project or the FPA process, or to whom they may provide input to the process.

E. For interested parties, notice of availability of the EPA-accepted project proposal, EPA's acceptance letter and EPA's letter clarifying the conditions of acceptance.

F. Provision for a 30-day public comment period, during which time interested parties may request and receive the available documents, comment on the project or express an interest in being informed of the continuing progress of the FPA process. All such interested parties will be placed on the project mailing list. Any interested party may also request to participate directly in the FPA development process. Direct mailing of the notice will be made to all potential utility participants and to DEC's list of intra-state and national environmental organizations.

2. Parallel with the public notice process, DEC will develop a "strawman" FPA which, after EPA review, will be shared with stakeholders prior to the first stakeholders meeting.

3. At the conclusion of the 30-day comment period, DEC will review and consider requests by stakeholders to participate directly in negotiating the FPA.

4. The public utilities will be represented by at least three stakeholders (one for electric power companies, one for telephone companies, and one for oil and gas transmission pipelines).

5. Within 90 days of the close of the public comment period, the initial meeting of the stakeholders will take place. At this point, all stakeholders will have received copies of the documents, referenced in paragraph l (E) and the "strawman" FPA, referenced in paragraph 2. These documents will be used for initiating discussion toward final FPA development, with assurances that all relevant issues remain fully open to discussion and resolution.

6. At the conclusion of the FPA negotiation process, a second public notice will be given, in the ENB and NYSR, of an open, informational meeting to be held to discuss the draft final FPA, with copies being available to all interested parties, upon request, prior to the meeting. All interested parties will be encouraged to provide written or verbal comments at the meeting and/or comment subsequently in writing.

7. After the public meeting, the stakeholders will meet, as necessary, to resolve any substantive comments generated as a result of the second public notice and informational meeting and to develop a proposed final FPA for submission to EPA Headquarters.

8. Upon signing the final FPA by EPA and DEC, prospective industrial participants, as part of the registration process, will be required to identify all utility-owned facilities that are intended to serve as central collection facilities under this project. For each facility, as part of the registration process, the utility will be required to place a public notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the facility, explaining the intended use of the facility and announcing a 30-day comment period. Upon consideration of any comments received as a result of such notices, DEC shall determine whether there are grounds for a site-specific informational public meeting or for not allowing a particular facility to be used for the indicated purpose. Based upon unique circumstances, additional requirements may also be placed on the facility as conditions of participation.

9. Each utility's Annual Project XL Progress Report will be made available to interested parties, either in hard copy or electronically, through EPA's web site.

l0. All documents pertaining to this project will be made available to EPA in suitable electronic format for placement on EPA's web site. These documents include, but are not limited to:

A. DEC's original proposal.

B. The draft and final Public Participation and Outreach Plans, including comments on the drafts and how they were addressed.

C. The Public Notice, announcing the project, as described in paragraph l.

D. All drafts of the FPA.

E. All comments on FPA drafts received in electronic format or on disk. EPA will be provided with hard copies of all comments submitted in writing.

F. Summaries of each stakeholders meeting.

G. The Public Notice, announcing the open informational meeting on the proposed final draft of the FPA, as described in paragraph 6.

H. A summary of the informational meeting and the text of all written comments received.

I. Each utility's Annual Project XL Progress Report.

J. Project contacts.

K. The list of stakeholders participating in negotiating the FPA.

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