Fishkill Ridge
Community Heritage

Topics of Discussion (Archive)


Photograph of Fishkill Ridge With the priviledge of citizenship comes the responsibility of participation. We fulfill that responsibility by educating ourselves.

Towards that end, FRCH hopes to begin a dialogue using this forum. Participation is easy. Read our current topic and respond. We will post responses to continue the dialogue.

Topics will change so come back often.

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View of Fishkill Creek from Bridge St.

Please explore our Links Page for more information on organizations and community activities in the Hudson Valley.

You will find information regarding issues and activities previously highlighted on the FRCH website by visiting our archives.


Equality Before the Law

Equality before the law is central to American justice.

In principle, our judicial process is for all. It is not for sale. The judicial process must never become a special privilege available only to those who can afford it.

The brief submitted by the counsel for Thalle Industries contains a comment which appears to suggest an ordinary citizen's group ought not to be able to afford to participate in legal proceedings concerning Thalle Industries' application. "Their challenge is obviously well funded, "counsel states. "FRCH is represented by an experienced environmental counsel and an engineering firm."

It's a peculiar statement. The fact that counsel finds this noteworthy is noteworthy in itself. It is especially noteworthy in the context of a legal brief, since the complaint is not that any law has been violated by FRCH. There is only a statement by counsel with the vague implication that his client has been somehow abused by our unexpected, vigorous, and perfectly legal assertion of our rights as citizens.

The simple fact is this: we were not expected to be able to afford to exercise our right to participate. We are not equal before the law. Ordinary citizens get to participate so infrequently that when they do participate on anything approaching a level playing field, it is literally worthy of remark.

Justice in this matter no longer depends on what facts we present in evidence. The facts have been presented. We have clearly demonstrated there is an issue for adjudication, contrary to the ruling handed down by the Administrative Law Judge at the Issues Conference.

This ruling is in error. The error is a costly one for FRCH, for the ecosystem in our part of the Hudson Highlands and for the people of the State of New York. We may not be able to pursue this matter, not because we are wrong, but because we cannot afford Justice. We are not equal before the law.

To obtain justice, to defend the citizen's right to equality before the law, and to protect the ecosystem of which the threatened Timber Rattlesnake is a part, we have filed an appeal. To see that appeal through to its conclusion, we must seek donations. We invite you to join us in our fundraising efforts and become part of the solution. Equal justice is worth defending.

Next Dialogue Topic:
Strengthening the Endangered Species Act.


Get More Information

From the Poughkeepsie Journal, April 29, 2003

It's like something out of "Alice in Wonderland." Private developers must seek permits from government before they can build. Major proposals usually get tough scrutiny from government. But when New York itself wants to build a road or a building, it gets to be both the developer and the permitting agency.

Click here to read the entire article.

From the Poughkeepsie Journal, April 28, 2003

Forty years ago, Consolidated Edison wanted to blow away a big chunk of historic Storm King Mountain to build the world's largest hydroelectric pump storage facility…Bands of opponents fought the project in court, and won a landmark case that gave citizens the right to challenge such construction and demand alternatives. This led to both the creation of major federal laws protecting the environment and the birth of the modern environmental movement.

Click here to read the entire article.

From the Poughkeepsie Journal, April 28, 2003

In 1975, the state Legislature passed the State Environmental Quality Review Act, or SEQRA. This measure requires that state or local governmental agencies assess a project's environmental effects, plus social and economic factors, during the decision-making process…This is a public process designed to promote participation by local citizens and interested groups.

Click here to read the rest of NYS DEC Commissioner, Erin Crotty's article.



Proposal for a Resolution for the Dutchess County Legislature

Equality before the law is basic to our system of Justice.

Issues of standing are abused to wrongfully exclude many from participation in the judicial system.

The expense of appearing in the public interest excludes many from participation in the justice system.

Financial inequality ought not to result in inequality before the law.

So Be It Resolved:
That this body shall recommend that the NYSDEC shall review its judicial procedures to the end that equality before the law shall be preserved in both principle and in fact.