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Home » Schuyler County » Watkins Glen » O’Mara, Palmesano declare opposition to plan to expand Padua Ridge Gravel Mine in letter to DEC’s Basil Seggos

O’Mara, Palmesano declare opposition to plan to expand Padua Ridge Gravel Mine in letter to DEC’s Basil Seggos

  • / Updated:
  • Peter Mantius 

Long non-committal on a proposal to quintuple the size of the Padua Ridge gravel mine, the state legislators who represent Schuyler County in Albany expressed their opposition to the project Thursday.

State Sen. Tom O’Mara (R-Big Flats) and Assemblymember Phil Palmesano (R-Corning) said in a joint letter to Commissioner Basil Seggos of the state Department of Environmental Conservation that they “unequivocally support the need for the DEC to reject the current application.”

The letter was first posted on the odessafile.com website, which reports news of Schuyler County and runs a regular column by O’Mara. 

The 14.33-acre gravel mine is located in the Town of Dix on a steep hill less than a mile west of the Village of Watkins Glen. Its owner, Martin Wojcik, has applied to the DEC to expand the site to 75.28 acres through his company It’s Greener Now Inc.

O’Mara and Palmesano noted widespread local opposition from county residents and their elected officials.

“We urge your department,” the letter to Seggos said, “to deny the current, amended application and undertake, at a minimum, the requirement of a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) regarding the proposed project.”

The DEC, which announced Wojcik’s proposal in January, is accepting emailed comments on his permit application through tomorrow at 5 p.m. Mailed comments must be postmarked by tomorrow.

Comments can be sent to: Frances Knickmeyer, NYSDEC Region 8 Headquarters, 6274 E Avon-Lima Rd, Avon, 14414, or [email protected]. More information is available here.

O’Mara and Palmesano skipped public hearings on the project in February, and O’Mara hasn’t written about it in his regular column in the Odessafile.com. 

But they did write a joint letter in February urging the DEC to extend the public comment period for 90 days from the original Feb. 28 deadline. The DEC compromised and extended it 45 days — until tomorrow. 

The legislators’ Apr. 11 letter to Seggos said: 

“This project proposes nothing short of a massive, five-fold expansion of the existing mine, which, given its location up a steep grade directly above a neighborhood and the center of the iconic Finger Lakes village of Watkins Glen — as well as the nearby Watkins Glen State Park — has already contributed to flooding, raised longstanding environmental concerns as well as concerns over truck traffic and motorist and pedestrian safety, and, as previously highlighted, poses a negative impact to the regional viewshed so critical and vital to the local tourism economy.”

Wojcik has said that expanding the mine will have no impact on its immediate neighbor to the south, the Watkins Glen State Park.