Town of Colonie Will It or Won’t It Destroy Its Pine Bush?
Town of Colonie
Will It or Won’t It Destroy Its Pine Bush?
by Lynne Jackson
The Town of Colonie approved its Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FGEIS) for the Lisha Kill – Kings Road Area on June 8 and June 16. This FGEIS and the Findings Statement weighs in at several pounds, costing $35 for both, is filled with fluent bureaucratize, and, well, doesn’t really seem to say anything concrete about what Colonie is or isn’t going to do with its Pine Bush.
There are about 2000 acres of Pine Bush in the Town of Colonie, only 350 of which are in the preserve and protected from destruction. The fate of the remaining 1650 acres may lie within the pages of these bureaucratic documents.
The Town of Colonie FGEIS is very important to the future of the Pine Bush because the Town of Colonie has designated this study as a generic environmental impact statement. A generic environmental impact statement is one that covers a large area, is usually conducted by a municipality at tax payer expense, and if accepted, will allow developers to build without having to study the impacts of their developments on the environment, in addition to saving them the expense doing such a study.
Basically, the Town of Colonie is trying to save developers the time and expense of figuring out how their industrial complexes and housing developments will destroy Pine Bush ecosystem.
However, the State Environmental Quality Review Act is very specific about what it will accept as a generic environmental impact statement. It clearly states that generic environmental impact statements should "set forth specific conditions or criteria under which future actions will be undertaken or approved." The Town of Colonie FGEIS simply does not do this.
The City of Albany tried to save developers money in the 1980’s by commissioning a couple of generic environmental impact statements. Save the Pine Bush sued and all of them were tossed out in court as invalid.
The FGEIS mentions that the Town of Colonie is going to spend $2 million on expanding its golf course by another 9 holes. How many people golf and is this really worth the expense? Would not the Town of Colonie be better off taking that $2 million and buying the remaining Pine Bush within its borders?
The Town of Colonie has not done its share to preserve the Pine Bush. The City of Albany has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy Pine Bush. The Town of Colonie could certainly do the same.
Printed July/Aug 96