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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Letter from Lawrence Nadler to Phil Flax, includes 'Public Participation and Outreach Plan'

October 10, 1996



Mr. Phil Flax
RCRA Compliance Branch
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region II
290 Broadway
New York, NY 10007-1866

Dear Mr. Flax:

With regard to New York State's Project XL for public utilities, enclosed is our draft Public Participation and Outreach Plan, covering the Final Project Agreement (FPA) development process and beyond. The draft has been revised in accordance with our discussion of October 1, 1996.

We are seeking EPA's written concurrence that this plan satisfactorily addresses the XL program requirements for stakeholder involvement and an open process with ample opportunity for informed public involvement and input. Upon receipt of a response from EPA, the enclosed draft will either become the final Public Participation and Outreach Plan, or the plan will be further amended, as necessary.

Please respond within two weeks, if feasible. In the interim, work will begin on preparing the required public notices, as outlined in section 1 of the Public Participation and Outreach Plan. However, the notices will not be released for publication until there is agreement on the Plan.

If there are any questions, please contact me at (518) 485-8988.


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:

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

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.

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.

A description of either the proposed stakeholder involvement process, or an explanation that a process is being developed.

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.

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.

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.
  1. Parallel with the public notice process, DEC will develop a preliminary draft FPA which will be shared with stakeholders prior to the first stakeholders meeting.
  2. At the conclusion of the 30-day comment period, EPA and DEC will jointly confer and identify stakeholders who will participate directly in negotiating the FPA.
  3. 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).
  4. Within 60 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 1 (E) and the preliminary draft FPA, referenced in paragraph 2. These documents will be used for initiating discussion toward final FPA development.
  5. At the conclusion of the FPA negotiation process, a second public notice will be given, 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 comments, either at the meeting or in writing.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 15-day public notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the facility, explaining the intended use of the facility. Upon consideration of any comments received as a result of such notices, EPA and DEC shall jointly determine whether there are grounds for a site-specific informational public meeting or 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.
  8. Each utility's Annual Project XL Progress Report will be made available to interested parties.

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