Montgomery County legislators voted unanimously at a special meeting on Tuesday to move forward with foreclosure on the former “Beech-Nut” plant in the Village of Canajoharie, NY. The 26.9 acre property was sold by Beechnut Nutrition Corp to TD Development, LLC in December 2013 before moving to new facility in the county industrial park in the Town of Florida. Since then, the property has been delinquent on over $1.27 million in unpaid taxes, according to the Montgomery County Treasurer’s office.
Legislators also authorized the county executive to enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA currently has a $4 million lien on the property due to an ongoing enforcement action due to friable asbestos found at the site. According to County Attorney Meghan Manion, the memorandum will release the property from the lean, and the county and EPA will split the proceeds from the future sale of the property. In addition, the memorandum protects the county from liability for any environmental problems.
“The memorandum covers any future costs that the EPA might incur on the site,” said Manion. “They couldn’t come back and say ‘county, you’re responsible,’”
According to Manion, a phase-2 environmental study, which included testing of soil samples, has been conducted on the site. Manion said the study found “nothing earth shattering.”
In addition, the county has obtained releases from the New York State’s Oil Spill fund to help cover costs if a major oil spill is found in the future.
The EPA and county will now work together to clean up the site. According to Montgomery County Business Development Center CEO Ken Rose, the county has helped secure a total of $800,000 in grants so far toward the project.
In April, the Times Union reported that the EPA had found Beachnut Nutrition to be liable for the asbestos contamination at the site.