SCHUMER URGES FEDS TO SWIFTLY APPROVE REQUEST BY LIVINGSTON COUNTY COMPANY, AMERICAN ROCK SALT, TO EXTEND LOCAL RAILROAD LINE; EXTENSION WOULD ENABLE COMPANY TO INCREASE PRODUCTION, CREATE 30 NEW JOBS & HELP RETAIN 150 PERMIT MUST BE GRANTED BY THE END OF THE MONTH OR ELSE PROJECT WILL BE PUT ON HOLD
Livingston Countys American Rock Salt (ARS) is Ready To Extend Local Rail Line to Boost Output & Add 30 Jobs, But Must Secure Army Corps Permit Before Construction Can Begin Extension of the Rail Line Would Allow Company to Increase Output By Over 40% By Loading 100 Cars of Mined Rock Salt Per Day, Instead of Current 70 Cars Per Day Jobs and Expansion Currently Hangs in the Balance And Permit Must Be Issued In Time To Begin Construction This Month, or Construction Window Will Cl
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to swiftly establish and approve protocols that would allow a Livingston Countybased company, American Rock Salt (ARS), to build a railroad extension that would bring jobs and revenue to the area. Schumer explained that ARS is the U.S.'s largest salt producing mine and an important employer in the region. ARS currently has proposed a project that would extend the rail line it uses in Mt. Morris, where it is located, 1,500 feet, but a permit from the Army Corps is needed before construction can begin, due to the possibility that historic remains and artifacts may be found at the site. The extension would allow ARS to mine more rock salt each day and load the salt into 100 rail train cars, as opposed to its current 70 cars per day capacity, boosting output by rail over 40 percent. Schumer explained that this expansion would allow ARS to increase production, particularly with harsh winter weather just around the corner, and stimulate the economy by creating 30 new jobs for the local work force and sustaining 150 current local residents' jobs. However, Schumer said, the project will be put in jeopardy if it cannot gain the needed USACE permit for construction by the end of the month because the window for construction will close.
Last month, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) approved ARS's required New York State permit and, thus, construction can begin as soon as the USACE approves its federal permit. As with the NYSDEC permit, the USACE permit is required to meet federal requirements in accordance with the federal Nationwide Permit program that any historical artifacts or remains potentially unearthed during construction are cared for appropriately. Specifically in order to issue the permit, the USACE will establish a protocol to direct how to appropriately handle any artifacts that may be found during construction. Therefore, Schumer is urging the USACE to swiftly establish and approve a protocol and issue the permit that would allow ARS to begin this expansion.
"On the heels of last winter's long Polar Vortex, I am urging the Army Corps to swiftly approve this permit so that American Rock Salt can being construction on this rail line extension that can boost output of deicing rock salt at their mine," said Schumer. "All that is standing in the way of adding 30 new jobs and the chance to ship 40 percent more rock salt by rail to fully supply towns and cities across New York and the northeast is this permit. The construction window to complete this project in time for this year's winter is closing fast, so it's vital for the Army Corps to complete the approval process right away."
"In order to prepare for the upcoming winter season, boost output and adequately meet demand to keep motorists safe this winter there is no time to waste," said Joe Bucci Jr., Environmental Manager for the American Rock Salt Company, LLC. "We appreciate Senator Schumer's help to quickly secure this permit so that we can move forward on our expansion plans all while creating up to 30 new jobs. We also appreciate the Army Corps' understanding of the critical nature of this project, their proactive approach at this time, and hope everything progresses swiftly."
Schumer said that this past year's "Polar Vortex" winter spotlighted just how vital it is to maximize and increase the ARS mine's rock salt output capacity. Specifically, during the bitter protracted weeks of cold weather, many municipalities across New York State depleted their rock salt reserves and looked to ARS to help resupply. But without the ability to ship more salt by rail, ARS was forced to ship rock salt by trucks, which are less efficient, create more pollution and congestion, and are often delayed by bad weather. Schumer said that this desperate need for rock salt underscores the importance of providing ARS with the means of increasing its supply to meet the demand. ARS is planning to invest in this Livingston County railroad upgrade ahead of this year's winter season, which will allow the mine to immediately begin stockpiling more salt at their mine's fifteen remote stockpiles across the northeast.
In addition to the increased supply of rock salt this production expansion would bring, it would bring 30 new jobs to the Mt. Morris area. Schumer said that these are goodpaying jobs that local residents could greatly benefit from. In addition to providing these new jobs, the extension would also help sustain 150 current local jobs. And, with colder winter weather just around the corner, it is important for local crews to begin working on this rail extension before it is too late into the season to be completed. Schumer explained that, if the proper permits cannot be approved and issued by the end of the month, the company will be forced to abandon this vital expansion that could boost local jobs and better safeguard the driving public with deicing rock salt this winter.
A copy of Senator Schumer's letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers appears below:
Dear Commanding General and Chief of Engineers Lieutenant General Thomas P. Bostick,
I write to urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to swiftly complete the processing of the permit required by American Rock Salt (ARS) to ensure that this important employer will not be forced to abandon a vital expansion project that will both boost local jobs and better safeguard the driving public this winter. Specifically, ARS has submitted a permit application to the USACE in accordance with the federal Nationwide Permit program to build a 1,500 foot extension to the existing railroad track at the rock salt mine. This upgrade will enable the mine to ship out deicing rock salt on up to 100 railcars per day instead of its current 70 railcar per day capacity, as well as add up to 30 new jobs.
This past year's "Polar Vortex" winter spotlighted how vital it is to maximize and increase the ARS mine's rock salt output capacity. Specifically, during the bitter protracted weeks of cold weather many municipalities across New York State and the northeast United States depleted their rock salt reserves and looked to ARS to help resupply. But without the ability to ship more salt by rail, ARS was forced to ship rock salt by trucks which are less efficient, create more pollution and congestion, and are often delayed by bad weather. Therefore, ARS is planning to invest in this railroad upgrade ahead of this year's winter season which will allow the mine to immediately begin stockpiling more salt at their mine's fifteen remote stockpiles across the northeast.
It is critical that the USACE provide the permit so that construction of this expansion begins this month. Adhering to this construction timeline window is pivotal since road deicing materials must be placed at the fifteen regional stockpiles well before winter so that product is available in proximity to resupply municipalities and customers. Once winter begins, it is not possible to replenish these stockpiles at a high enough rate to meet demand - as evidenced by last year's winter.
Last month the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) approved ARS's required state permit and thus construction can begin as soon as the USACE approves its federal permit. I understand these permits are required to ensure that there are proper protocols in place in the event any historic artifacts or remains are uncovered during construction.
Again, in light of this project's public safety benefits and the 30 new jobs that hang in the balance, I strongly request the USACE expedite review and consideration of ARS' permit application so that this needed expansion can begin this month. I appreciate your assistance with this matter.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
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