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LOOW RAB releases statement of formation and status

by jmaloni
Sat, Jan 7th 2012 07:00 am

The Lake Ontario Ordnance Works Restoration Advisory Board has issued the following statement this week with respect to its formation and status:

"The Lake Ontario Ordnance Works Restoration Advisory Board, 'LOOW RAB' was formed and named in 1999 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and has operated continuously since then. Official information regarding the RAB can be found on the RAB website at http://loowrab.com/.

"The mission of the LOOW RAB is to promote the satisfactory remediation of the entire LOOW site and to help inform and involve the public. The RAB complements but does not replace other forms of communication regarding U.S. Army Corps of Engineers environmental investigations and remediation activities at the LOOW site.

"The LOOW consists of approximately 7,500 acres of publicly and privately owned parcels located in the Towns of Lewiston and Porter, once owned by the federal government for military operations begun during WWII. The LOOW includes the 191-acre Niagara Falls Storage Site, still owned by the federal government, and which temporarily houses radioactive material from atomic weapons production during the 1940s and 50s.

"Recent LOOW RAB History:

"In 2008, the Army Corps Installation Commander issued communication asserting that a predecessor had previously dissolved the RAB in 2002. However, no notice was issued in 2002, or at any other time. The Corps utilized and endorsed its RAB from 1999-2008, as has been extensively documented.

"Then NYS Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, municipalities and other agencies found no evidence to support the Army Corps' 2008 letter that it had, somehow, dissolved the RAB years earlier. The opinion of the Attorney General is posted at http://loowrab.com/. The RAB continued to meet, and to communicate with the Corps of Engineers outside of RAB meetings through July of 2011.

"In July 2011, a few RAB members resigned to form a new group. The RAB vacancies were subsequently filled in accordance with LOOW RAB operating guidelines, and RAB meetings continue to this day.

"RAB members cannot dissolve a RAB or change its name. Regulatory steps required (but not undertaken) by the Corps' Installation Commander to dissolve a RAB include among other things:

"1) Notifying the RAB community co-chair and members in writing of the intent to dissolve the RAB and the reasons for doing so and provide the RAB members 30 days to respond in writing.

"2) Notifying the public of the proposal to dissolve the RAB and provide a 30-day public comment period on the proposal, if the Installation Commander decides to proceed with dissolution.

"3) Notifying the public of the decision through written notice to the RAB members and through publication of a notice in a local newspaper of general circulation."

The next RAB meeting will be on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 6:15 p.m., at the Lewiston-Porter Community Resource Center.

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