By LINDA DROLLINGER

Tusten digester gets the nod

Posted 6/2/20

NARROWSBURG, NY — A May 26 special meeting of the Tusten Town Board was held via Zoom to conduct a state environmental quality review (SEQR), or environmental impact assessment, for the Tusten …

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By LINDA DROLLINGER

Tusten digester gets the nod

Posted

NARROWSBURG, NY — A May 26 special meeting of the Tusten Town Board was held via Zoom to conduct a state environmental quality review (SEQR), or environmental impact assessment, for the Tusten food waste digester project. Purchase of the digester is made possible with 100 percent DEC grant funding.

The first order of business was to determine that there is no formal objection to the designation of the town board as the lead agency for that review. Supervisor Ben Johnson produced three documents: one from the Upper Delaware Council, one from Freda Eisenberg of the Sullivan County Division of Planning, Community Development and Real Property, and one from New York State’s Department of Agriculture and Markets, each endorsing the town board for that role.

Environmental impact assessments are standardized through the use of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s assessment forms, from which Johnson read questions, and board members stated their one-word opinions by roll call vote. For comprehensive information on the SEQR process, see www.dec.ny.gov/permits/357.html.

Since most of the questions concerned situations not applicable to the digester and its operation, the review proceeded quickly and without debate. The digester’s indoor housing at the town barn, and operation by unpaid volunteers for less than five hours per week, made questions about air and water pollution and labor issues moot. The second section of the assessment called for narrative responses by the board, which energy committee chair Brandi Merolla offered to draft.

Following completion of the environmental impact assessment, the board voted unanimously to move forward with the digester food waste management project. Information about the digester and its operation will be available to the public at the Saturday morning Narrowsburg Union Farmers’ Market. 

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