Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 2, 2013

Court ruling on Maid of the Mist work disputed

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Ricciuti said building boat storage facilities on the site where the power plant slid into the gorge in 1956 removes the essence of its historical nature.“That’s like putting a trailer park on top of Mount Rushmore,” he said.

The Army Corps issued a finding of “no adverse effect” on Feb. 20, 2013, concluding that the addition of fill and concrete to provide a raised building for the Maid’s new facility would result in “burial, avoidance and preservation of any intact archaeological remains.” 

The power authority made a similar finding and state parks concurred with the “no adverse effect” ruling as well.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is identified on its website as an “independent federal agency that promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of our nation’s historic resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy.”

The council’s letter notes that the Army Corps’ finding was based on the conclusion the project would be located in “the isolated northernmost portion of the expanded Niagara Reservation state park” with “tinted concrete with muted colors, limited lighting and appropriate materials to minimize potential visual effects.” 

The advisory council suggests that by attempting to mute the potential effects of the storage facility on the surroundings, the project does not “avoid the effects” but rather serves as a means to “resolve the adverse effects of placement” of the facility at the Schoellkopf site. The council maintains the development of measures to “minimize or mitigate effects should occur following a determination of adverse effect, when the federal agency consults to develop steps to resolve adverse effects.”  

In his letter, Nelson notes the council can only provide an advisory opinion at this point as the 30-day review period for the Corps’ findings of “no adverse effect” elapsed prior to it being notified by the NPC of its concerns.

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