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Proposed GlobalFoundries plant passes environmental hurdle

Monday, July 29, 2013
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— The Malta Town Board on Monday accepted the final environmental impact statement on the $14.7 billion GlobalFoundries Fab 8.2 project, clearing the way for a public hearing and final vote on Aug. 19.

The Stillwater Town Board, meanwhile, could take its vote on Aug. 15. Both towns are being asked to change their zoning laws to accommodate GlobalFoundries’ plans for a second computer chip plant at its Fab 8 site.

“If this were a race, we’d be in the final furlong,” said Matthew Jones, an attorney for GlobalFoundries. “We are nearly finished.”

During some 40 formal and informal meetings since January, the towns and the computer chip giant have reached agreement on a number of issues, including that GlobalFoundries will pay $3 million toward the town of Stillwater’s purchase of Brown’s Beach on Saratoga Lake, to be turned into a public beach.

GlobalFoundries will also take responsibility for up to $7 million in traffic improvements at six Malta intersections, in return for the town dropping a current zoning requirement that a new Northway Exit 11A be built north of Round Lake to handle Luther Forest Technology Campus traffic.

“There’s been some give and take along the way,” said Malta Supervisor Paul Sausville.

Steve Groseclose, GlobalFoundries’ director of risk management, sustainability, and real estate, said approval of the zoning changes will remove an uncertainty as the company decides whether to actually build the plant.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with how the town has worked with us over the last number of months,” Groseclose said.

GlobalFoundries, with manufacturing plants in Singapore, Germany, and here, was among the fastest-growing chipmakers in the world in 2012, and is known to be seeking more manufacturing capacity. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is encouraging exploratory talks between the company and Apple about future production of Apple’s computer chips.

GlobalFoundries currently employs about 2,000 people at its $7 billion Fab 8 plant, and is building a technology research center where another 1,000 people will work starting late next year. If Fab 8.2 is built, total on-site employment could increase to nearly 6,700, according to the company.

The final environmental impact statement says town officials will keep on working toward an Exit 11A, though the federal approval and funding process will take many years.

The new exit was one of the topics at a task force meeting July 19 in Stillwater organized by the staff of U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam.

Cynthia Young, Democratic candidate for town supervisor, said the meeting violated the state Open Meetings Law because a quorum of the Malta Town Board was present.

“Your watchdog objections are duly noted,” Sausville replied.

 
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