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with Section 106 Section
106 in Action Archive
of Prominent Section 106 Cases New York: Athens Generating Project
York: Construction of the Athens
Agency: New York District, U. S. Army Corps
Criteria for ACHP Involvement:
This project will have an adverse effect on
Olana State Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark, and numerous
other historic sites in the Hudson River Valley (Criterion 1).
The project has generated substantial public
interest (Criterion 3).
On May 16, 2001, Chairman Slater signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)
for the proposed issuance of a permit by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers
(Corps) for the Athens Generating Project, thus concluding Section 106
review for the project. Her signature followed that of the Corps, the
New York State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), and the Athens Generating
Company, LP, the project sponsor.
The agreement is now circulating among the other consulting parties for
signature. Those electing to concur in the agreement will be provided
the opportunity to review various design plans developed pursuant to the
The MOA sets forth a range of measures that would be placed as special
conditions on any Corps permit. These measures include subsequent review
of a variety of design plans for the facility and site development, use
of dry cooling technology to reduce visual impacts of vapor plumes, and
a plan for plume monitoring.
Under the terms of the MOA, Athens Generating Company will establish
a Regional and Community Historic Preservation Benefit Plan that will
provide $2 million for enhancement of historic properties (with $750,000
for Olana and $250,000 for the Thomas Cole House), a $250,000 grant to
benefit preservation in the Village of Athens, and a $275,000 fund for
off-site landscaping to screen the facility from historic properties.
The MOA also provides for development of a cultural resource management
plan to protect identified archeological resources and includes broad
Athens Generating Company, an affiliate of Pacific Gas & Electric
National Energy Group, LLC, proposes to construct a 1,080 megawatt, natural
gas-fired electric generat- ing facility in the Town of Athens, New York.
The project would require intake and discharge from the Hudson River,
located about two miles west of the project site. The intake and discharge
structures, along with the permanent loss of slightly less than one acre
of wetlands and stream channel, require issuance of a permit by the Corps
New York District under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899
and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.
The project has generated a great deal of public interest and controversy.
This area of New York State is one of great beauty and historic significance.
The Hudson Valley National Heritage Area was established in 1996, and
in 1998 the Hudson River was designated an American Heritage River. About
four miles south of the project site is Olana, the Moorish-Italianate
villa built between 1870-1889 by Frederic E. Church, Hudson River School
Olana State Historic Site,
Hudson, New York
(photo courtesy of The Olana Partnership)
The 250-acre estate is a State historic site and a National Historic
Landmark, with a remarkably rich historic character and an outstanding
viewshed encompassing the Hudson River Valley. (For more information on
Olana, visit www.olana.org.)
Much of the groundwork for review under Section 106 was laid by consultation
between the Athens Generating Company and the New York SHPO under the State
siting process administered under State law. Through these and subsequent
discussions involving the Corps, it was determined that the project would
have visual adverse effects on historic properties within a five-mile radius
of the project, including Olana. The Corps notified ACHP of its adverse
effect finding in January 2001, and in February ACHP accepted the
Corps invitation to participate in consultation.
Intensive consultation led up to development of the MOA. The Corps responded
in the affirmative to all organizations and individuals who requested
consulting party status. Twenty-three such parties participated, including
the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Scenic Hudson, Inc., the
Olana Partnership, the Preservation League of New York State, and a number
of owners of property located within the area of potential effects for
the project. The terms of the MOA evolved substantially following meetings
in Albany among the consulting parties in March and April 2001.
Both the Corps and the Athens Generating Company entered discussions
under Section 106 with hopes of capitalizing on the consultation process
to establish a comprehensive mitigation package. Treatment of visual impacts
within such a large area of potential effects presented the consulting
parties with a number of challenges.
The Corps approached the process with openness and took all reasonable
steps to further a dialogue during consultation. This, coupled with the
companys willingness to contribute to preservation activities throughout
the region, enabled the parties to reach an agreement on how the project
would take into account effects to historic properties.
Staff contact: Don Klima
June 6, 2002
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