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BREAKING NEWS : Assemblyman calls for a full trial of the issues

August 26, 2002

Friends of Hudson
Contact: Sam Pratt, (518) 822-0334

Hudson Valley Preservation Coalition
Contact: Alix Gerosa, (845) 473-4440 x 226

The Olana Partnership
Contact: Margaret Davidson, (212) 580-4325

HUDSON / POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Challengers of the coal-fired St. Lawrence Cement proposal have received a copy of an August 21st letter sent by Assemblyman Patrick Manning (R-Hopewell Junction) to Commissioner Erin Crotty of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and are releasing the following brief statements.

Discussing the coal-fired St. Lawrence Cement proposal for Hudson and Greenort, the Manning letter urges Commissioner Crotty "to proceed with hearings on the issues brought forth by [Administrative Law Judge Helene] Goldberger" on December 7th, 2001.

Plant opponents agree with the Assemblyman that a full trial is necessary for the public to have any confidence in the outcome, and continue to expect there will be a full, fair hearing on the issues.

St. Lawrence Cement filed a 300-page appeal of the judges' decision in February 2002, demanding that the State instead grant permits for the project without any adjudication of the 8 main issues identified by the judges. If successful, SLC’s appeal would mean the DEC would take no sworn testimony or cross-examination of experts on this high-impact, high-profile project.

Noting the high level of detail and number of sources cited in the Manning letter, Margaret Davidson of The Olana Partnership says that "It is always welcome to see a public official doing his own independent research on an issue of serious concern to his or her constituents, so we are heartened by the Assemblyman's position."

Speaking on behalf of The Hudson Valley Preservation Coalition, Scenic Hudson president Ned Sullivan says that "Assemblyman Manning is absolutely correct in calling for full adjudication of the issues regarding the massive St. Lawrence Cement proposal. Citing significant concerns over the full range of issues, from air pollution and its impacts on human health and agriculture, to St. Lawrence's abysmal track record at other company owned facilities, Assemblyman Manning correctly calls upon Commissioner Crotty of the DEC to allow the full slate of issues to be adjudicated. It's what we've been fighting for, and what St. Lawrence is desperately trying to avoid. As former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once observed : 'A little sunlight is the best disinfectant.'"

"For the past 8 months, our experts have been standing by -- ready, willing and able to go to trial, " adds Friends of Hudson’s executive director Sam Pratt. "It speaks volumes that St. Lawrence Cement is unwilling to put any of their supposed experts under oath. Instead, the company continues to flood the local airwaves and print media with advertising slogans which they refuse to back up in court. And it's ironic that SLC's appeal has now wasted more time than a full trial might have required, so there can be no question of opponents causing ‘delays.’ It's time for St. Lawrence to live up to their public rhetoric by withdrawing their appeal and letting the review go forward."

A copy of the 3-page Manning letter can be obtained by calling Friends of Hudson at (518) 822-0334.