LAURA LEE Staff writer
Section: CAPITAL REGION,  Page: F1

Date: Friday, June 12, 1998

As the approval process for a 200-acre, semi-conductor plant at the Rensselaer Technology Park moves into its next phase, a Town Board member said the prospect of thousands of new jobs has resulted in mostly positive feedback. The next phase is the arduous task of drafting an environmental impact statement for the project, which is part of the statewide Chip Fab '98 initiative.

The Chip Fab initiative is an effort to attract semi-conductor chip fabrication facilities to New York by taking care of zoning, permitting, and environmental studies before an actual plant is proposed.

The Town Board on Thursday issued a ``positive declaration'' regarding the environmental impact, which means such a major facility will have some environmental impact on the region.

``It means that it warrants further study,'' said Town Board member Jim Flannigan.

The State Environmental Quality Reviews process began in April when the Town Board was declared the lead agency for the review.

It held a session May 18 to discuss the table of contents for the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement. The 13-page draft covers such issues as traffic, emergency services, hazardous materials, use of energy and water and cultural resources.

``There are 12 sub-teams working on this,'' Flannigan said. ``There is even a team working on soils and geology.''

The process has been moving along more swiftly in North Greenbush than at many of the 13 Chip Fab sites in the state, Flannigan said.

``We're one of three sites that's moving along very fast,'' he said. ``Feedback, for the most part, has been very positive. We're talking potentially thousands of jobs -- good paying jobs.''

``It's a good process, it gets the public involved,'' Flannigan said.

The document has been on display in the Town Clerk's office, and public comments will be incorporated into the next draft of the environmental impact statement.

Flannigan expects the draft environmental impact statement to be complete by mid- to late July. After than, the public will have 30 days to comment.

A final environmental impact statement will follow a public hearing in August.

The process could be complete by the end of the year.