Letters to the editor, Aug. 11, 2011

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.
Linda Fisher

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.

Tim Allred

Project manager

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.

Essie Shultz


There is one comment

  1. endrun

    Surely Pastor Arnold believes in the integrity of children(per his book and his group’s general practice of granting esteem to its children) as opposed to the regularly brutal policies perpetrated thereon(especially by the Catholic church and especially in my day). As such what is the purpose of all this talk against Pastor Arnold? It seems the answer is really quite simple:you are the “liberal elite ideologues”, supposedly well-educated and thus feel you have a monopoly on truth and anyone who dares assert you may not have that privilege is to be persecuted “a la Sottile’s bloggate” and its attempt to do likewise to me), out to prove(at any cost of logic or reason it seems)that religion of any kind and religious people of any kind have no business having a voice or a seat at your exclusive table. Having said that, let me now propose a valid reason upon which to “perhaps” be validly critical of Arnold and the Burderhof: although they “claim” to separate themselves from the rest of the world, they most certainly “play footsie”(and happily, since they recognize the angst their separation inculcates within them at the prospect that their children will hate them without such access to educational privileges) with the local Catholic elites that run education inasmuch as they are happy to send their children through such institutions(not unlike the “flavoring” of remembering that Nazi Germany was under Roman Catholicism also). In my personal experience(as well as that of countless others some of whom I’ve known), there is a clearcut disconnect between honoring the child maximally and honoring the Parochial School System(which always practiced the ethic of “the end justifies the means”–not unlike the general flavoring of Nazi Germany). Thus in my day we had Gerard Gretzinger and his Children’s Theatre at Coleman High(which produced the “most powerful woman in Hollywood who got there through Disney, Inc.)to counter such evils at least in theory and in the ritual of putting on such plays(now villified, inevitably, because he got a position with huge political flavoring and huge political bashing as well, made equivalent morally to Tim Mathews, the corrupt cop who also got his materialist values teaching out of Coleman High–and one thinks, earlier than that also). And then of course there’s the case of the Jews, who because they cannot retain a pure Jewish identity AND be as good in business as they were taught to be from the leaving of the womb, have to crawl up the butts of those who run the Catholic elitist systems(ie, Beneidctine Hospital, etc.) for their business-flavored bread.
    Perhaps–and just and only perhaps—Pastor Arnold is thus, in some sense and to some degree–disingenuous if not hypocritical in a practical sense. My conclusion over that is merely that “parents have the same general angst for their children in whatever context” and most certainly not, as some would have it, refelective of a tyrant who actually believes in the methods of Nazi Germany while continuing to rail against it both historically and as a means to validate the group’s existence. I have had contact with him and he seems much more genuine than the few who would gratuitously indulge their own sociopolitical ideologies by finding fault with such a soul–whether done on here or in any fora.

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