Soldiers Statue

Standing Firm In Difficult Times: Fishkill Ridge Community Heritage Update Report
RE: Thalle Mine Expansion


“Polite conversation leaves no marks … except scars upon the Earth that could have been avoided.”
- David Brower, quoted in Mark Dowie‘s “Losing Ground”

“Compromise, which had produced some limited gains for the movement in the 1970s, in the 1980s had become the habitual response of the environmental establishment. It is still applied almost reflexively, even in the face of irreversible degradations. These compromises have pushed a once-effective movement to the brink of irrelevance. …things could be much better and still could become so, but not without a very different environmental movement.” (Emphasis added.)
-Mark Dowie, “Losing Ground” 1995

For Immediate Release:

An update regarding the consequences of the Thalle Mine expansion and plans for mitigation within the domains of Law, Science, Ethics, Politics, and Justice.

Fishkill Ridge Community Heritage regrets the decision rendered on November 3rd, 2004 by NYSDEC Deputy Commissioner Carl Johnson. The Deputy Commissioner’s decision denies Fishkill Ridge Community Heritage’s appeal in the matter of the expansion of Thalle Mine. This decision has cleared the way for the mine’s immediate expansion.

An unintended but welcome consequence of this decision is that it opens the door for a closer look at our dysfunctional DEC. Closer inspection also invites a reappraisal of Scenic Hudson, Inc. in view of that organization's peculiar and exacerbating role in the matter of the expansion of Thalle Mine. Moreover, although the Deputy Commissioner's decision is not the one we sought, it serves our purpose to this extent; it provides an opportunity to initiate action toward much needed governmental reforms in environmental protection.

We thank our many participants, supporters, and well wishers. We live in a time when it takes courage to stand up for the right. We deeply appreciate your continuing support as we strive to mitigate the unfortunate and ongoing consequences of the ecosystem destruction that attends the expansion of Thalle Mine. As these consequences occur, please remember they are not accidental. They are directly attributable to the individual and combined actions of Scenic Hudson, The Department of Environmental Conservation, the Town of Fishkill, and Thalle Industries, Inc.

As of this writing, FRCH is reviewing its options, including further legal action.

We understand the law makes no claims of infallibility and cannot always provide the remedy we seek. Nevertheless, the rule of law continues to be worthy of our respect and protection, even when we have reason to believe its outcome is in error. We ultimately depend upon that same rule of law as our best defense to protect us from those who would otherwise interfere with our right to enjoy our freedoms.

The Distinction Between Law and Ethics:
Ethics can be defined as “obedience to the unenforceable,” or “action proceeding from conscience.” In the absence of internal controls over behavior, or whenever ethics fails to provide sufficient guidance, the external control of law may become necessary. Law imposed as the result of the failure or absence of ethics is sometimes called “ethics law.” The New York State Ethics Commission is empowered to issue advisory opinions in response to the requests of affected parties.

Law, Science, Ethics, Justice and Politics:
Each of these are separate domains, though somewhat overlapping. These domains visited singly or in combination, can often provide remedies not available through Law alone. Fishkill Ridge Community Heritage is deeply committed to a vigorous search of these domains for such remedies as may exist for the protection of the health, safety, and quality of life essential to our families, our community, and our posterity. Civic responsibility is at the core of the “community heritage” enshrined in our very name.

Our entire position on this matter can be examined on our web site: please follow the links below for documentation. We have also included focused essays on three main subjects: the DEC, Scenic Hudson, and the constitutional right of every citizen to a safe and clean environment with the legal standing, including the full support and protection of the law, to pursue it.

We will continue to keep you informed.

Many thanks!

Ann LaGoy, President, Fishkill Ridge Community Heritage
14 Clove Road, Fishkill, NY 12524