MNN. January 31, 2024. There are questions about “Air Products”. We need to know if their product is safe. Please post & distribute this. niawen kowa. MNN.
Akwesasro:non have been largely unaware of the plans to open an Air Products and Chemical Incorporated facility in Massena, NY. Massena is located a few miles upstream of Akwesasne on the St. Lawrence River, or Kaniatarawenen:en.
Air Products is advertised as a ‘green’ hydrogen facility. It will use subsidized hydroelectric energy of the Moses Power Dam to run an electrolysis reaction to divide water molecules into their oxygen and hydrogen components. The hydrogen will be stored in tankers, transported by trucks, and sold to large commercial entities as an alternative energy source. This is described as a ‘green’ climate change solution. The facility is currently applying to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for its State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Permit.
These are important details of Phase one of the Air Products Massena facility:
Once operating, the facility will consume 3 million gallons of water daily from the St. Lawrence River.
In its SPDES permit application, the facility is requesting to discharge water at 90 degrees Fahrenheit into the Grasse River. Will this cause thermal pollution?
An undisclosed type and amount of Biocide and Disinfectant will be discharged into the Grasse River, which flows downstream into the St. Lawrence River. What will happen to the plants that were placed in the Grasse River for remediation?
Approximately 80 acres of forestry and wetlands behind Alcoa will be clear-cut – a process that has already begun. These wetlands currently house endangered animals and plant life.
Additionally, the wetlands filter water and their roots strengthen the soil, preventing erosion. These wetlands are in proximity to Alcoa West’s Potliner Disposal Sites, lagoons and landfills containing fluoride, cyanide, PAHs, PCBs, and metals. Destroying these wetlands risks the integrity of our natural ecological barrier between these industrial waste zones and the Kaniatarawenen:en.
The chemicals listed underlie the incredible contamination of the lands, waters, air, plants, medicines, trees, animals, and fish surrounding Akwesasne. In the 1970’s, Maclean’s magazine described Cornwall Island, a district of Akwesasne, as an island “Unfit for Man or Beast”. Many studies have linked this pollution to serious health problems in the people in Akwesasne. There are anecdotal high rates of cancers, autoimmune, liver, endocrine, diabetes, mental, and other health issues seen by the health workers of the community. These wetlands are integral to our health, as well as those of endangered species of wildlife, plants, insects, and fish. We have a responsibility to steward these forests and wetlands. Chemicals and thermal pollution are not safe for our fish, wildlife, or plant life. We have not been reassured that the integrity of the caps over the Grasse river bed will not be damaged by this proposed industry.
The community of Akwesasne has not been consulted about Air Products’ plans. If this is Phase 1, then what is Phase 2? There has NOT been free, prior, and informed consent of our people to this project. We have a right to know what is happening in proximity to our territory. We should not have had to get this information by a Freedom of Information process. We have a responsibility to steward the land, water, and the air. We must ensure that the historical impact of industrialization does not happen again. We need more information to make informed decisions for the future of ‘The Coming Faces’ and our environment.
As it stands, the SPDES permit must be denied. The due date is February 8, 2024.
Please- write, email, or call the DEC and urge them to deny Air Products the SPDES permit.
Ojistoh Horn, MSc, MD, CCFP
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