Shortly after the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) Board of Directors accepted the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Atlantic Yards Project on November 15, I was informed that some comments submitted in response to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) were not included. I immediately directed ESDC staff to conduct a thorough quality control review, which is now underway. All comments inadvertently excluded from the FEIS are being carefully considered. The FEIS will be amended to include the substantive comments that had been omitted and responses to those comments, and re-presented to the ESDC Board for consideration.
It is essential that the public comment process be faithfully followed in letter and spirit.
How many comments were missed in the six-week rush to produce the FEIS? Unclear.
How long will the revision take? Also unclear.
But the delay, even if only two or three weeks, would make it much more difficult to complete the approval process by the end of the year, before Governor George Pataki leaves office.
The ESDC board would have to certify the FEIS, wait ten calendar days to approve it, then send an application for approval to the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB). At that point State Comptroller Alan Hevesi could delay the vote for at least a week by examining the project, or he could waive comments and let the PACB vote.
The PACB members are the governor, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. By the time the PACB votes, the voting governor may be the newly installed Democrat Eliot Spitzer, who supports the project but may be pressured to take a fresh look at it.