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Commissioner denies St. Lawrence

Crotty lets stand judges’ ruling which found that testimony from an SLC witness in ongoing ‘ungrandfathering’ hearings was irrelevant

HUDSON, N.Y. -- A terse memo issued today by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation put a swift end to St. Lawrence Cement’s emergency effort to overturn a recent ruling by two administrative law judges, as part of ongoing hearings about the potential “ungrandfathering” of the company’s Becraft Mountain quarries.

The memo, released by Chief Administrative Law Judge James T. McClymonds of the DEC, states in full that:

"Commissioner Erin M. Crotty has considered the application by St. Lawrence Cement Co., L.L.C., pursuant to 6 NYCRR 624.6(e) and 624.8(d)(2)(v), for leave to file an expedited appeal from a February 28, 2003 ruling by Administrative Law Judges Goldberger and Villa. This letter is to inform you that the Commissioner has denied your application."
As part of the mining hearings, ALJs Helene Goldberger and Maria Villa had granted a motion by Friends of Hudson and the Hudson Valley Preservation league to preclude testimony by SLC consultant Paul Griggs. Through Griggs, SLC tried to introduce irrelevant material regarding the impacts of prior operations at the Greenport mine and cement plant before the company took ownership of the facility, and before the effective date of the State Environmental Quality Review Act. SLC quickly asked Commissioner Crotty for leave to appeal Goldberger and Villa’s ruling, but have now been denied.

In their comments on St. Lawrence’s appeal, attorneys for Friends and HVPC responded that “in their ruling on February 28th, the ALJs properly held that the subject of the hearing was the scope of the activities occurring at the mine before the SEQRA effective date and not the impacts from those activities... The nature of the impacts is only considered after the grandfathering decision is made and the ungrandfathered activities are subject to SEQRA analysis.”

“We have always had great confidence in our attorneys and consultants, as well as in the merit of our case,” noted Friends of Hudson executive director Sam Pratt, “Winning this skirmish just reaffirms that confidence.”