Choice for all
Although difficult to hear, Pastor Johann Christoph Arnold has a lot to say. It’s ironic however that he brings up the expulsion of his family from Germany because of massive propaganda and lack of freedom for people to speak out. He has every right to expound on his position, short-sighted at best, but I hope he recognizes that in our country everyone has the same privileges. It seems to me he is trying to force his beliefs and lay shame and a lack of morality. Is he praying and asking everyone else to do so as well, to promote fear and hatred of those who live an alternative lifestyle? Is he aware that he is in essence spewing his own propaganda with absolutely no ability to accept alternative views?
I say to the pastor, if you don’t believe in same-sex marriage, don’t have one. Secondly, think about the reason your family left Germany and came to the United States. Surely, Pastor Arnold, in those quiet moments of prayer and reflection, you must recognize that freedom of choice belongs to all of us.
Williams Lake project responsibly run
I write in response to a recent letter to the editor from Joanne Steele, chair of the Mid-Hudson Group Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club regarding the Williams Lake Project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
As project manager for the Williams Lake Project, I represent the development company, Hudson River Valley Resorts, a socially responsible group of investors committed to creating a model for responsible development on this environmentally sensitive land.
Sustainable components of our project include using on-site geothermal and solar energy, expansion of land under permanent conservation easement to protect endangered bat habitat and strict covenants on home-owners to limit tree clearing, promote composting, etc. Our investors and professional partners are Sierra Club members, LEED professionals and leaders in eco-design. Numerous Sierra Club members in the area have written to support the project and to explore purchasing a future home at Williams Lake.
As such, it is disappointing that Ms. Steele and Save the Lakes continue to work in opposition to a project that not only promotes state-of-the-art environmental practices but also has wide support as the kind of project that fits the region’s green tourism goals and will generate positive economic development for Rosendale and Ulster County.
Though Ms. Steele would have us invite Mr. Rubin on the property as an independent scientist, the fact is that Mr. Rubin has a clear point of view against the project and his objectivity is questionable. As one example, Mr. Rubin, a hydrogeologist, submitted a “report” to the DEC claiming presence of timber rattlesnakes on the property. Mr. Rubin is not a wildlife biologist and the DEC correctly dismissed the issue.
Ms. Steele (and Mr. Rubin) do raise an important issue regarding hydrogeology and the likely presence of karst (a geologic formation with soluble bedrock, in this case limestone) on the site. Fractured limestone (karstic or otherwise) creates potential for rapid transport of pollutants form the surface to groundwater.
Our project design recognizes this hydrogeologic sensitivity by replacing existing septic fields and underground fuel tanks with a wastewater system that has zero contact with groundwater, designing roads with porous pavement, and managing stormwater with constructed wetlands, bio-swales, etc. The presence or absence of karst on the property is less important to the Williams Lake Project than the avoidance and mitigation of any potential impacts on groundwater.
After years of hard work, we are proud of our Draft Environmental Impact Statement and are pleased that the public finally has the opportunity to sift fact from fiction regarding our environmental commitments. Yes, the DEIS is thousands of pages long — but this reflects serious science and a good-faith effort to address all the requirements of the scoping document.
The Williams Lake Project (Hudson River Valley Resorts)
Speak out against fracking
Bulletin! Bulletin! Governor Cuomo has quietly lifted the ban on fracking for gas except in areas inside the watersheds of New York City and Syracuse. The DEC is now writing the regulation standards. So far, they have produced the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement. It is reportedly too weak. For example, it doesn’t ban toxic fracking chemicals, doesn’t classify fracking byproducts as hazardous waste and has weak provisions for protecting drinking water. They are in the process of looking at the socioeconomic impact of fracking.
Please speak out against the strong possibility that the DEC will issue drilling permits before the formal rulemaking process is complete. You can call the DEC at (518) 402-8000, or write to the NYS DEC Division of Public Affairs at 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-6500. The phone number for Governor Cuomo’s office is 1-877-255-9417, extension 1. I was advised by people at the DEC that the town should take action by changing the zoning laws, which we are supposedly looking at right now. I will vote for town board members on the basis of this issue. Fracking for gas has adverse health consequences and it is associated with lowered property values and a decline in tourism.