After a Day of Anxiety, New York Delays Its Broadwater Decision
That meeting and a subsequent PR blitz by Broadwater pissed Adrienne off. Meetings between government officials and businessmen don’t necessarily worry me, unless environmentalists can’t get a similar meeting (and Adrienne learned of Hofmeister’s meeting with the governor, she asked for one too and is getting it, on Monday); PR blitzes don’t overly concern me either. It doesn’t even concern me that CCE criticizes the governor for holding a “secret” meeting with Shell but then arranges its own meeting with the governor (which presumably will be private if not “secret”) or that CCE criticizes Broadwater for its PR blitz when it’s hardly a shrinking violet when it comes to its own PR efforts.
Most interesting to me though was a sentence in CCE’s press release:
CCE has learned that Broadwater is in secret negotiations with NYS to delay the ruling for several months past the Feb 12th deadline.
I was doing real work yesterday and didn’t have time for blogging but I sent off a short email to Adrienne:
you sure of that? how do you know?
I am sure.
Then I noticed this terrific piece posted by Denise Civiletti early yesterday morning, which included this:
Mr. Spitzer is in a bind. Both of the state agencies charged with reviewing the Broadwater plan hate it, but he’s under pressure from people like NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg to clear the path for its approval, according to sources inside the Spitzer administration. Word is the energy execs sat down with the governor to propose another extension of the state’s consistency review decision deadline.
By the time I got home from work, two reporters – Civiletti and Newsday’s Tom Cantalupo – had learned that, indeed, the state and Broadwater agreed to extend the deadline 60 days, and that it was the state that asked for the extension.
So what does the delay mean? I don’t know but I’m hard-pressed to see it as necessarily a bad thing. Having followed other big coastal zone decisions made by the Department of State, I have no doubt of the staff’s honesty and integrity. They are not pushovers for big development. If they asked for a delay, the probably need it. For one thing, they know they’re going to get sued. That reality probably makes them want to be sure their reasoning is sound beyond reproach and that they followed the right legal process to the letter. If it takes an extra 60 days to do so, that’s fine with me.
CCE seems to be concerned that an extra 60 days will allow Broadwater, with its deep pockets, to buy public support through PR efforts and ad campaigns. I’m dubious. The Broadwater argument has been going on since late 2004. How many hearts and minds remain to be changed?
Nevertheless, to go back to the top, it will be fascinating to see what CCE turns up from its Freedom of Information request, which should certainly be complied with before the 60 days are up. The only way for the state to dispel any suspicion is to release every document and email it was asked for, and then for those documents to show that the state is playing it down the middle.
Labels: Broadwater. Department of State