Editorial: SEQR first, then weigh the facts

In literature, there are considered to be six base conflicts most every narrative can be boiled down to: man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. self and man vs. the supernatural, society or destiny.

We might not be in the business of high art here at The Spotlight, but our narratives should really have a seventh category added: resident vs. developer.

Such is the story in the Town of Ballston, where residents are still up in arms over a Callanan Industries proposal to build an asphalt plant at the Curtis Industrial Park.

The town is still going through the review process for this project, and we would fully encourage them to use every tool provided under the state’s environmental review laws to vet the project, including requiring the developer to undertake the drafting of an environmental impact statement.

Now, lawyers for the developer argue the project would not make so big an environmental impact as to require such a study. With all respect, a factory churning out 30,000 tons of asphalt per year (or perhaps more) and requiring thousands of truck trips in and out to haul it is going to more than slightly alter this vacant lot.

It’s typical for developers to try to skirt as much of the SEQR process as possible. The reviews have to be done at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars to the developer, with no guarantee the project will ever make it out of the planning stages. We get it, it hurts the bottom line.

Still, there are clearly unanswered questions about this plant, not the least being why it will produce but a fraction of the asphalt a similarly sized factory in Watervliet makes.

An environmental impact statement will also force the developers to add clarity to their traffic impact reports, which for this stretch of Route 67 is not a minor consideration.

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