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Just one more reason BMPA needs your support. As you can see below, the DEP has granted Alpine an NPDES permit, which means construction on the racetrack can begin. Please contact the DEP at the address below and protest this action, and please contact us at Blue Mountain Preservation Association to see how you can help.
DEP ISSUES ALPINE ROSE PERMIT
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dept. of Environmental Protection
Northeast Regional Office
2 Public Square
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711-0790
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Phone: (570) 826-2511
Applicant Demonstrates Compliance with Stormwater Regulations
WILKES-BARRE -- The Department of Environmental Protection issued a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit today for stormwater discharges associated with construction activities to Alpine Rose Resorts Inc.
The permits were issued following a second review that was required after a negative decision by the Environmental Hearing Board. The project involves construction and operation of a performance car club/track and garage facilities in Eldred Township, Monroe County.
DEP originally issued a similar permit in 2005, but the hearing board vacated that permit and remanded it back to the department with instructions to require that the applicant demonstrate compliance with water quality anti-degradation regulations.
"The applicant was able to document compliance with all regulatory requirements, including the department's anti-degradation regulations," said DEP Northeast Regional Director Michael Bedrin.
Following the Environmental Hearing Board's decision, the department held a second public hearing on the application in August 2007 at the Eldred Elementary School. Approximately 50 persons attended the hearing with nine presenting testimony.
The department reviewed those comments in preparing the permit being issued today. The permit has special conditions requiring enhanced engineering oversight by the applicant during construction so that the plans are implemented as approved. In addition, DEP and the Monroe County Conservation District will monitor compliance with the approved plans and permit.
This action can be appealed to the Environmental Hearing Board in Harrisburg.
For more information, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Stormwater.
Help protect our streams!
We need your help to flood Governor Ed Rendell's office with letters and faxes urging his support for mandatory 100 foot buffers on all streams in Pennsylvania.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is not in favor of required buffers and is proposing a voluntary buffer program titled Permit By Review (PBR).This new program would grant developers a storm water permit with NO plan review if the developer volunteers to include buffers.
The current process requires the following:
1. Review and approval of plans by DEP before construction can begin, which allows for potential problems to be addressed and corrected before any soil is disturbed.
2. Review and approval by County Conservation Districts (CCDs).
3. Public hearings and review.
The proposed PBR approach would make these changes:
1. No pre-construction review by DEP or CCD, even in High Quality or Exceptional Value waters.
2. Require only an engineer's seal to begin construction.
3. Voluntary compliance on stream buffers.
Under the PBR process, DEP would have to grant permits, even if it is clear that there are potential flood and pollution problems. Enforcement action would take place after the damage is done and more difficult to correct.
The PBR plan is also in violation of the Federal Clean Water Act by not subjecting Storm water Permit Applications to review by appropriate regulatory agencies (DEP and CCDs) and public review.
The governor can be reached at:
Gov. Ed Rendell
225 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, Pa. 17120
Additional information can be found at www.pacleanwatercampaign.org
BMPA still needs your help!
Although there hasn't been much in the way of news on our fight against Alpine Rose's plan for a racetrack that would wreck the serenity of the Blue Mountain, that doesn't mean the battle's won. BMPA is still fighting hard to keep Alpine Rose at bay, and we need your support to continue. Please join, and if you're already a member, please renew your membership. And please consider helping us with a donation of your time or money. Any aid you can give will be much appreciated.
DEP holds public hearing
on Alpine Rose permits
The public hearing, held August 22, 2007, was in response to an application submitted by Richard Muller Jr., of Alpine Rose Resorts Inc. Muller wants the DEP to reinstate his NPDES permit application, which will allow him to discharge ''stormwater'' from construction activities into the Aquashicola Creek, a high-quality, cold-water fishery.
There were 54 people in the audience and 9 people stood to testify. However we believe DEP has received many letters, some with documented evidence to prove the NPDES permit should not be issued. BMPA's Attorney Kenneth Kristl also entered a testimony on our behalf, which was outstanding. We thank all the speakers and letter writers for their effort and work to show DEP why this permit approval would be a very big mistake.
The DEP said it could be the end of the year before they reach a decision. For further information or to comment on this inappropriate plan for such a pristine wilderness area, contact Mark Carmon of the Department's Northeast Regional Office at (570) 826-2511.
APPALACHIAN TRAIL CONFERENCE, RESIDENTS APPEAL
The Appalachian Trail Conference (ATC) and the Blue MountainPreservation Association (BMPA) have asked the Monroe County, Pa.,Court of Common Pleas to overturn the Eldred Township supervisors'final approval of Alpine Rose Resorts' plans for a driving course forhigh-performance cars in that rural area just below the legendarynational scenic trail's route.
The appeal of that October 5, 2003, decision, the groups' third legalchallenge to the resort, was filed November 4, 2004. Oral arguments on thefirst appeal -- challenging the supervisors' preliminary approval of theresort in October 2003 -- were heard in Philadelphia on November 2, 2004, by a panel ofthree judges of the Commonwealth Court, but a decision is not expectedbefore January.
The second appeal incorporates all the groups' issues and claims fromthe first lawsuit, which the Monroe County court twice rejected orignored.
As they had argued before, the groups said that approval of the finaldevelopment plan, even with conditions, is contrary to the township'saffirmative duty under the state constitution and the PennsylvaniaAppalachian Trail Act to protect the Appalachian Trail's "natural,scenic, historic, and esthetic values." ATC sound experts showed in2003 that the potential noise from the resort would have far greaterimpact on the experience of hiking the Trail (not to mention livingnearby) than the developer asserted.
The groups also argued in the suit that the township failed toestablish any conditions to enforce the noise standards incorporated inthe plan, and no evidence supports a finding that the proposed facilitycould or would meet those standards. The noise covenants in the finalplan were established in negotiations with the township attorney afterthe factual record in the proceedings was closed, so ATC and BMPA hadno opportunity to present expert analysis of the implications, thecourt papers state.
Moreover, the final plan provides even less protection from noise thanthe preliminary plan in a number of ways, argued the groups' attorney,Charles W. Elliot of Easton.
ATC, a private nonprofit organization, exists to protect and conservethe 2,174-mile-long Appalachian Trail and its surrounding 270,000 acresof public lands-working primarily with the National Park Service, USDAForest Service, 14 state governments, and 31 autonomous clubs that arehomes to the 4,500 volunteers who keep the footpath open and overnightsites enjoyable. BMPA is an organization of residents of the Eldred Township area formed three years ago to oppose the 360-acre Alpine Rosedevelopment.
For further comment, please contact Charles Elliott at (610) 252-4338.
In a 2-to-1 vote, the Eldred Township Supervisors granted final plan approval to Alpine Rose Resorts.
This approval was granted despite significant changes from the preliminary plan to the final plan and without the information that an impartial third party economic impact study would have provided.
It was approved despite the evidence provided by the developer that he cannot meet the 5dBa noise limit set by Monroe County Judge Vican with 25 cars on the track. This number, by the way, is a decrease by half of the number of cars that the developer based his economic impact study on.
Final Plan approval is conditioned on the pending litigation based on the noise impact to the Appalachian Trail and the Pennsylvania Trails Act.
Approval also hinges on the developer's ability to obtain permits from the DEP for his sewage disposal facility and his pre- and post-storm water management.
Please contact the DEP and let them know how wrong this project is for this area. Here's how:
Write to: Northeast Regional Office
2 Public Square
Attn: Kate Crowley, Water Management Program Manager
If you prefer to call:
(Mark Carmon, community relations)
Or you may fax:570-830-3054
We MUST continue to fight, this project has not reached the stage in which it can begin development.
The DEP is willing to listen and we will have our day in court November 2nd.