The Committee for Responsible Economic Development and 177 area businesses have submitted a statement opposing St. Lawrence Cement’s proposed $350 million Greenport project to the governor, the state secretary of state, and the state Department of State. The group known as CREDO was formed in 2002 by Richard Katzman, president of Kaz, Inc., one of the largest private employers in Columbia County. Katzman, whose local factory is close to the site proposed for the new plant, has taken a prominent role in opposing the project. The 177 business owners who had signed the statement as of last Thursday represent 1,080 full-time and 429 part-time employees in Columbia County and a handful of nearby towns.
Cement company spokesman Dan Odescalchi responded to the CREDO "Statement of Values," saying that it "overlooks the fact that the proposed plant is a replacement for our existing plant that’s 40 years old in Catskill, and that it will provide significant environmental benefits."
The CREDO statement, which was timed to arrive at the Department of State before last Friday’s expiration of a public comment period on the cement company’s application for a coastal zone determination from the Department of State, says the signatories have arrived at two conclusions:
- "That the overall scale, design, location and impacts of the St. Lawrence Cement facility proposed for Hudson and Greenport pose too great a risk of harming the health, quality of life, and economic vitality of our region and that therefore it is not the right fit for our communities; That business, government and citizens must commit to working together to retain and attract mutually-compatible businesses that will fully achieve the balanced mix of industries ... sustaining rather than detracting from the health, character and prosperity of our region for years to come."
Because it is considered part of the coastal zone, development along the Hudson River waterfront is subject to Department of State’s coastal zone management policy. Policy guidelines specify that any proposed actions must take into account "the social, cultural, economic and environmental interests of the state and its citizens," factoring in impacts on air and water quality and on culturally or historically significant sites or structures.