June 26, 2014 - Join the Community Conversation on the Onondaga Lake Shore Amphitheater Proposal

 

Action Alert

                

NOON Steering Committee members are organizing in opposition to the Onondaga County’s proposed Amphitheater complex. Your help is essential so that NOON can help to slow or stop this project in the coming weeks. The proposal is moving at a lightning pace and several opportunities to influence the process will occur in July. The first step is to understand the proposal and its associated problems, which is the topic of this NOON E-News.

NOON needs your immediate action to contact your Onondaga County Legislator (http://www.ongov.net/legislature/members.html) before the Legislature’s Session at 1:00 next Tuesday, July 1, and ask the County to extend the public comment period (currently only 30 days) and organize more public hearings (only 1 is planned). This is a major project proposal that could negatively impact our communities and environment. The County’s current accelerated timeline does not allow for thorough investigation of risks or meaningful public input. Please read on for more information.

Onondaga County has proposed an outdoor event complex on a 315-acre wastebed site (“Wastebeds 1-8”) containing hazardous and non-hazardous industrial wastes piled up to 80 feet high on the west shore of Onondaga Lake and included in the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site. The current design features an amphitheater with covered and lawn seats (capacity 17,500 people), a vendor/festival area, a smaller outdoor community theater, a “nature” area and recreational trails, an observation pier, and other amenities.

The Onondaga Nation and a number of community members have expressed serious concerns about this proposal. The project relies on a Superfund “cleanup” plan that has yet to be designed, let alone completed or tested, to protect the public (especially young children) from dangerous exposure to site contaminants including undocumented industrial wastes sporadically dumped on site along with the less hazardous Solvay Wastes. The EPA has already determined that construction workers developing the amphitheater facilities should wear protective clothing and equipment to protect themselves from wastebed contaminants.

The wastebeds were constructed of multiple “cells,” or compartments surrounded by non-engineered dikes or walls, raising questions about whether the site is capable of supporting the weight of the planned facilities and expected crowds. The intensified human presence related to project construction and on-going operation may create high noise levels, vibrations, light pollution, air pollution, and litter, affecting wildlife and nearby communities like Solvay and Lakeland. Moreover, the decision to build on top of the wastebeds precludes the possibility of removing the waste and restoring the site to a healthy, sustainable, and historically and culturally appropriate state.

This costly and complicated project is being pushed forward too quickly. In fact, the County hopes to begin construction this fall. However, given the expected impacts on the environment, the County must first conduct an environmental review in accordance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR). The County is planning to accept comments on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement between July 9th and August 11th (30 days). This is not an adequate amount of time for meaningful consideration of this project’s potential impacts on our communities and environment.

Here are some important dates to remember:

July 1st: Onondaga County Legislature is expected to approve the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Amphitheater project, thereby moving the SEQR process into the next phase, a 30-day public comment period.

July 9th: Expected start date of the 30-day comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

July 23rd 11AM, Onondaga County Legislative Chambers (Room 407 Court House): The only scheduled public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

August 11th: The expected close of the 30-day comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.


What can you do?

  • Call or email your County legislator today or Monday to share your concerns, ask for an extension of the public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, and request that additional public hearings be held in a variety of locations and at different times of day. To find contact information for all the County legislators, visit: http://www.ongov.net/legislature/members.html

(If you aren’t sure who your legislator is, you can visit votesmart.org and use their “Find Your Elected Officials” search engine. You can also call the Legislature’s clerk, Debbie Maturo, at 435-2070.)

  • Learn more about this project. Click the following links to read about the Amphitheater proposal and to review public documents, including comments from Onondaga Nation and community members:

http://www.ongov.net/environment/amphitheater.html

http://www.ongov.net/environment/amphitheaterdocs.html

Click the following link to view the May 23, 2014 WCNY Insight special on the amphitheater proposal, which features an interview with Joe Heath, General Counsel for the Onondaga Nation:

http://video.wcny.org/video/2365249089/

Click on the following link to read Joe Heath’s May 28th editorial in the New Times:

http://www.syracusenewtimes.com/rant-and-rave-2/

  • Read the Onondaga Nation’s Vision for a Clean Onondaga Lake, which calls for the complete removal of industrial wastes:

http://www.onondaganation.org/land-rights/onondaga-nations-vision-for-a-clean-onondaga-lake/

  • Share what you’ve learned with family, friends, and neighbors.

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SUGGESTIONS FOR TEACHING ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS:

    Don’t display illustrations that mislead or demean. Animals dressed in “Indian” attire and holding sacred objects, children wearing adult headdresses, caricatures of Native Americans painted with red skin, and drawings of Indians who all look alike or who are depicted as “sneaky” are demeaning. Do point out and discuss how such depictions are inappropriate and insulting. Do write to publishers of such materials to voice your concerns.

Kay Olan, Mohawk/Wolf Clan

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EVENTS:

June 28, Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m. Benefit for Janet Cornelius, Eel Clan at the Onondaga Nation ball field, (Route 11A behind the Onondaga Nation fire barn). The award-winning Native American blues band Corn-Bred will come out of retirement to play. There will also be raffles, auctions, food and Johnny Ray and The Stonethrowers. Proceeds will help with Cornelius' medical expenses. Admission is $10. For more information, visit the benefit's Facebook page.

 

June 28-29, 10 am- 6 pm, Kanatsiohareke Mohawk Community Strawberry Festival, 4934 State Highway #5, Fonda, NY. A weekend of Mohawk culture & fun. Native Arts & Crafts, Food, Storytelling, Social Dancing, Silent Auction. Admission: $5 Adults, $3 Children & Seniors, Under 5 free. http://www.mohawkcommunity.com/festival.html

 

July 8, 2-3 PM, Press Conference & Vigil, S. Salina St. in front of Clinton Sq, to commemorate the 47
people who died in July, 2013 in Lac-Magantic, Quebec when a Bakken Crude Oil train exploded. Fracked crude oil, which is more volatile than other crude oil, must stop traveling through OUR community - or any other community. Until they stop local governments need to inform the public - especially those living close to these “bomb” trains - about emergency plans and first responders need to receive training on how to handle - to the extent possible - explosions and leaks. Co-sponsored by Alliance for a Green Economy, CNY Against Fracking, Frack Action, Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, ShaleshockCNY, Syracuse Peace Council.

 

July 8 - July 11, Tuesday - Friday, 9am - 5pm, Ganondagan Conservation Camp, Ganondagan State Historic Site, New York 444, Victor, NY. Day Camp: $175.00, Lunch included. To learn more http://www.ganondagan.org/Events-Programs/Ganondagan-Conservation-Camp

 

July 9, Beginning of public comment period on Onondaga County Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Lakeview Amphitheater. To find contact information for submitting comments, visit: http://www.ongov.net/environment/amphitheater.html. The materials can be accessed at: http://www.ongov.net/environment/amphitheaterdocs.html

 

July 14-25, Mohawk Language Classes, Kanatsiohareke in Fonda, NY. For details and applications visit http://www.mohawkcommunity.com/languageimmersion/currentsessionschedule.html

 

July 23, 11am Public hearing on Onondaga County Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Lakeview Amphitheater, Legislative Chambers (Room 407 Court House) The materials can be accessed at: http://www.ongov.net/environment/amphitheaterdocs.html

 

July 26 & 27, 2014 - 10am – 6pm, 23rd Annual Native American Dance & Music Festival, Ganondagan State Historic Site, Victor, NY. http://www.ganondagan.org/Events-Programs/Dance-Music-Festival

 

August 11, End of public comment period on Onondaga County Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Lakeview Amphitheater. To find contact information for submitting comments, visit: http://www.ongov.net/environment/amphitheater.html. The materials can be accessed at: http://www.ongov.net/environment/amphitheaterdocs.html

 

August 12 - 15, 9:30am – 4pm, Seneca Art & Nature Camp, Ganondagan State Historic Site. Hands-on Art & Outdoor Nature Camp Experience for youth 9 – 12 years old. http://www.ganondagan.org/Events-Programs/Seneca-Art-Nature-Camp

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MONTHLY:


July 8 - 7-8:30 pm, NOON Steering Committee Meeting, Syracuse Peace Council, 2013 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, open meeting. Since new people often have a lot of questions, we recommend talking with Carol Baum, Syracuse Peace Council Staff (315-472-5478315-472-5478 , carol@peacecouncil.net) or Sue Eiholzer, NOON Volunteer (315-492-2684315-492-2684 , rsue@twcny.rr.com) before the meeting.

July – Canceled, Doctrine of Discovery Study Group

July 16 - 6 pm, Shaleshock CNY, Community Room, Onondaga Free Library. Anyone interested in learning more about local anti-hydrofracking efforts in CNY or to connect to these efforts is encouraged to attend. shaleshockcny.org/index.html

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SAVE THE DATE:

More information will be provided later on these events.

September 27-28, Wooden Stick Festival at Onondaga Lake, Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center.

 

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