A Better Future for Onondaga Lake

A new year means new opportunities to defend our world!

The Onondaga County Office of the Environment is accepting public input on the current Beach Feasibility Study, which has taken $440,000 of taxpayer money (both State and County) so far.

Many county residents and visitors are concerned about this infrastructure project on the shores of a closed industrial landfill and superfund site where toxins still remain and the mercury in the fish continues to poison people. This project has not encouraged community input in decision making. We are going to change that.

You as a resident or visitor can inform the County OE of their democratic responsibilities and demand a better process. See below for a text draft that you can edit to use as a member of the public. PLEASE NOTE: Agencies respond best when input is unique to the person, so please only use this as a guideline.

           You can call the OE: (315) 435-2647

            You can send an e-mail to the OE director: TravisGlazier@ongov.net

            You can submit an online comment: http://www.ongov.net/environment/submit-public-comment.html

            You can mail a letter or visit in person: 421 Montgomery St. Suite 12, Syracuse, NY 13202

Here is a draft you can use as a basis for your call-in or write-in! It outlines 3 major community requests and some details/suggestions on each:

"Hello, I am contacting Travis Glazier of the Onondaga County Office of the Environment. my name is ______ and I am [an Onondaga County resident, a parent, a teacher, student, physician,  a ______...]. I share certain concerns many residents and visitors have on the Onondaga Lake Beach Feasibility Study. As the County plans to facilitate its third public meeting regarding this particular feasibility study, you should understand that a democratic process will meet community needs for location, time frame, and format.
--Location: To ensure representative community participation, the location must accommodate a statistically significant number of people to represent diverse community groups, be accessible by public transportation, be ADA compliant, and be held in an demographic area which allows marginalized groups to participate fully. Some suggestions: School auditoriums such as Fowler, Henninger, or Clary Jr. High.
--Time frame: For the County administration and agencies to practice inclusivity, which accommodates time for information to be shared with communities in Onondaga County, at least a month's time must be allowed between the initial announcement of a public meeting date and the public meeting itself. An appropriate time frame, given the demands of the Winter holiday season, is to hold the next public meeting in February, [on a Saturday with a start time between 11 am and 1 pm to provide opportunity for families, professionals, etc. to attend.] A just discussion allows for flexibility, including extra time the day of as needed, and leads to further opportunities for public guidance, as well as a plan which includes the planning group(s) accountability to include community needs. At least two more meetings must be scheduled to receive community guidance from various populations.
--Format: The public will have ample time to discuss with representatives of the NYSDEC, US EPA, NYS and County DOH, and County OE our various information, questions, concerns, ideas, and needs. Language interpretation, including sign-language interpretation, must be available to accommodate non-English using residents of Onondaga County (over 16,000 people) who communicate in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Nepali, Vietnamese, and other language group users who lack accessibility to greater community participation.
Thank you for your attention to these important requests. I look forward to the County's inclusion of best practices for democratic decision-making in regards to the future of Onondaga Lake and our community.