Fishkill Ridge
Community Heritage

The Case Against Thalle Industries


Photo of dark clouds On September 30th, 2003 we began two full days of hearing before Edward Buhrmaster, administrative law judge (ALJ) for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Our attorney, Christopher A. Amato, presented FRCH’s case against the Thalle Industries proposed mine expansion. Our experts presented information for the judge to consider.

As we have stated in the past, DEC lacks credibility and moral authority. Their present decision regarding this case illustrates the truth of this statement.

After nearly two months of reviewing testimony from experts and from the counsel of DEC, Thalle Industries and Fishkill Ridge Community Heritage, Judge Buhrmaster has ruled there are no issues for adjudication regarding the expansion of Thalle Mine. He stated there were no issues for adjudication in the closing of his report. However, he in fact had already addressed and decided on the issues raised.

Fishkill Ridge Community Heritage takes the following position: this ruling is in error.

One of the purposes of an issues conference is to find if there are any issues for adjudication. Adjudication becomes necessary when experts disagree. Experts disagreed on the issue of the threatened Eastern Timber Rattlesnake. The judge chose to accept the expert testimony of the DEC testifying in support of Thalle Industries.

When the judge made this choice he in effect adjudicated the issue. This adjudication was premature and contrary to the purpose of the conference: to identify any issues for adjudication to be decided in a more formal hearing.

Fishkill Ridge Community Heritage maintains the process the DEC uses to include the public in development of its neighborhoods is utterly flawed. It does not allow for appropriate public participation in the process. The insistence on proof of party status to allow for participation can be intimidating for most, and too costly for many. It does not allow for fair participation among equals.

Where do we go from here? We are determined to keep issues we consider unresolved before the public. We intend to notify the public of the positions taken by the various parties – particularly Scenic Hudson - who should take a bow. While they were invited to apply for party status, they declined. Judge Buhrmaster, however, waved the rules and allowed them special privilege. Scenic Hudson could attend the conference, and could participate regarding any issue as they saw fit without applying for party status. This is a privilege that would not normally be extended. While they could comment on any issues raised, Warren P. Reiss, counsel for Scenic Hudson remained silent as we argued the threatened Eastern Timber Rattlesnake could quite possibly use Thalle property in its seasonal migratory path, or as a den site. They also remained silent when we argued an additional 29 acres of strip mining would permanently destroy an irreplaceable ecological system and further disrupt the view shed not only from route 9, but also from their own hiking trails atop Bald Mountain.

Fishkill Ridge Caretakers also offered no support of our opposition to the expansion: quite to the contrary. They offered public recognition that Thalle Industries was working with the environmentalists for an amicable solution. The Eastern Timber Rattlesnake is a threatened species. We are obligated both ethically and by law to protect these reptiles. We intend to honor this obligation.

Our attorney, Christopher A. Amato, Esq. is currently preparing an appeal. Legal fees and the necessary expert participation are expensive. It is possible Thalle Industries, Inc., along with Scenic Hudson and the DEC could get its own way in this case simply by using the DEC's access to taxpayer money to outspend us. That would be a tragic loss for the citizens in the entire region and a defeat for citizen participation in government. Accordingly, we need and ask for your financial support. Please send any monetary donation to Anthony Henry Smith, Treasurer, 30 Adriance Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. Please contact us should you require further details regarding your donation.

Thank you for your concern and support!

Ann LaGoy, President, Fishkill Ridge Community Heritage
Click here to get more information on getting involved with FRCH.

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DEC Lacks Credibility

Check out Thalle Industries' client list. Nothing too alarming until you get down to the bottom and view the governmental agencies that use their service, i.e. NYSDEC!