Bowitch Represents Livingston County in $20 Million Settlement of Salt Mine Collapse Case

Article published in New York Law Journal on December 30, 2014 (website link or PDF)

A settlement will end a long-standing legal dispute over the potential contamination caused by a collapse of North America's largest salt mine in 1994, parties to the agreement said. New York state and upstate Livingston County will use the $20 million from the settlement with AkzoNobel Salt Inc. to protect groundwater supplies and monitor wells, according to state and county officials.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens called the agreement "significant and unique" and "one of the largest of its kind for impacts to groundwater in New York state history."

Martens said the settlement was reached after years of negotiations between the state, county and the company.... Assistant Attorney General Timoth Hoffman signed the consent decree on behalf of the state. Gary Bowitch, member of Bowitch & Coffey in Albany, represented the county....... Read Full PDF Article).


Article published in The Livingston County News on December 17, 2014 (website link or PDF)

AkzoNobel Inc. has proposed a $20 million settlement to Livingston County and New York State, that includes the dismantling of the company’s desalination plant in Cuylerville and would allow the company to end its obligations related to a mine collapse that occurred more than 20 years ago.

The settlement money would be divided into four escrow accounts, with Livingston County controlling three of the funds and $17 million. The money would be available for use in the area affected by the the 1994 collapse of AkzoNobel’s former Retsof salt mine, which included the towns of Leicester, York, Geneseo, Groveland, Mount Morris and Avon.

The remaining $3 million would be in a fund to be used by the State to continue subsidence testing and groundwater/well monitoring of the area affected by the mine collapse.

The desalination plant, which began pumping and treating highly saturated salt water from the flooded mine in 2006 to prevent it from entering a lower aquifer, would be dismantled and removed within six months.

The keys to the settlement, said Gary S. Bowitch, the environmental attorney retained by the County, are that it “calls for payment of money. It also requires that within six months’ time the plant be completely dismantled and equipment moved off and the site be restored to its previous condition.”

Some drainage and other pipes could remain in place, though that would be at the discretion of the town of Leicester, Bowitch said.... Read Full PDF Article).



Bowitch Explains Brownfield Opportunities Area Grant Program at BOA Kick Off Meeting in Massena New York

BOA grant will help create a vision for former GM site

Members of the North Country Redevelopment Task Force met Thursday to officially kick off the Brownfield Opportunities Area grant it received from the Department of State to help develop a vision for the site of the community’s former GM plant.

“It’s a big day for us with the kick-off of the Brownfield Opportunities Area grant,” said Task Force Chairman Anthony J. “Tony” Arquiett, who also serves on the St. Lawrence County Legislature.

Explaining the grant program were Gary S. Bowitch, the attorney representing the task force and David MacLeod from the Department of State... (Read full article at WaterTown Daily News or the pdf)

Originally published by the Watertown Daily Times on February 21, 2014


North Country Revelopment Task Force, RACER to gather community input on former GM site

The community will have a say in crafting a vision for the former General Motors site, Gary Bowitch, an environmental attorney for St. Lawrence County and the North Country Revelopment Task Force said Thursday.

The format has yet to be determined, whether it will be through public forums or online.“There are lots of different tools to solicit public feedback,” Bowitch said.  (Read full article at WaterTown Daily News or the pdf)

Originally published by North Country This Week on February 21, 2014

Bowitch Assists As Environmental Counsel to St. Lawrence County in Addressing Contaminated Properties

St. Lawrence County’s upcoming auction of tax-acquired property includes several parcels once contaminated but which have been cleaned up, a house in Canton that the town and village tried unsuccessfully to demolish, and an agricultural educational institute in Lisbon that was taxed before it achieved nonprofit status.

The annual sale, which will take place Oct. 5 at Lockwood Arena in Ogdensburg, may not include all of the parcels listed on the county website, www.co.st-lawrence.ny.us/Departments/RealProperty/AuctionBook, as delinquent owners have until the day before the auction to pay the back taxes and redeem the real estate.

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