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NEWSBREAK : Cement plant project will go to trial – Initial reaction to first ruling of DEC Commissioner

HUDSON, N.Y. (12/6/02) -- One day before the one-year anniversary of a strong ruling by two administrative judges, DEC Commissioner Erin Crotty issued the first 31 pages of a two-part ruling on appeals submitted to her last February.

Commissioner Crotty has upheld the need for sworn testimony and cross-examination of experts on several key issues such as noise and grandfathering of the company’s mine -- an “adjudicatory” trial process which SLC sought to avoid. Click here to read the full ruling online.

“Keeping in mind that SLC filed a 300-page appeal to a very comprehensive ruling by two judges, one thing is clear: the company has not succeeded in its attempt to prevent a trial,” noted Friends of Hudson president Peter Jung.

“The first half of the Commissioner’s ruling suggests that at this point, SLC’s coal-fired project is neither a done deal nor a dead duck in the eyes of the Pataki administration,” said Sam Pratt, Executive Director of Friends of Hudson, on Friday night. “We’ve managed to move the debate to the middle, and the momentum is in our direction now.”

Friends of Hudson’s initial review finds that in the ruling, “Both sides are thrown some bones, and both sides may find some cause to be irritated,” according to Pratt. “Overall, it appears the Commissioner has provided some grounds for us to show why SLC must be denied permits. However, the central pollution issues remain up in the air; so until the second ruling is issued, we won’t really know how thoroughly this ruling reflects the administration’s commitment to environmental protection and quality communities in the Hudson Valley.”

Friends of Hudson will issue a more detailed reactions to specific elements of the ruling once its experts have a chance to fully review them and determine the full legal ramifications.