Residents take anti-plant stance to school board

Jamesville residents continued to voice their concerns over a proposed coal gasification plant last week, this time to the Jamesville-Dewitt School Board.

Residents and members of the group JAM-PAC, a positive action committee opposed to the coal plants construction, expressed fears over the site chosen for the project: The former Alpha Portland Cement Plant adjacent to the Jamesville-Dewitt Elementary School.

When asked if the community would be involved in the decision making process, school board president Dennis Resetarits said, "We are not going to work in a vacuum. Our focus as the Board of Education is the impact on the school district. We are elected representatives of this community."

Resetarits further addressed concerns in a written statement, saying that there has not yet been an official proposal from Empire Synfuel LLC, and the board will not make a decision until the results of a NYSDEC environmental impact study are made available.

"We want a comprehensive review of all environmental effects," Resetarits said.

The concerns addressed at the June 4 meeting came just days before it was announced that New York City entrepreneur Adam Victor of TransGas Development Systems had put the Jamesville project on hold to build a plant in Scriba. The proposed plant would be twice as big as the original Jamesville proposal.

If the proposed plant is built in Jamesville, about 10,000 tons of coal would be shipped via train from West Virginia or Pennsylvania to Jamesville daily, where it would be turned into natural gas for businesses and domestic use.

Vicki Baker, head of JAM-PAC, released a statement to members of the committee following the announcement, saying that Project Manager Jack Loveland wanted to put the construction on hold until after November's elections for town supervisor and three board members. Loveland refused to comment on the allegation.

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