Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — Thursday, April 21, 2005


ALBANY—The Business Council today sharply criticized the Pataki administration’s decision to reject a proposal to build a new cement plant on the Hudson River in Columbia County.

“Your decision to deny the permit of St. Lawrence Cement denies workers jobs, communities tax
revenues, and residents of the Hudson Valley a cleaner environment,” Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh said in an April 21 letter to New York’s secretary of state, Randy Daniels.

Earlier this week, Daniels confirmed that the state has decided to deny St. Lawrence Cement’s request to replace an aging plant in Greene County with a new plant across the Hudson River in Columbia County. In remarks to business leaders Wednesday, Daniels said the proposed industrial facility is inconsistent with the administration’s view of how the river should be used.

“[This decision] says to the business community that the Hudson, once proclaimed a River of Commerce, is for all practical purposes ‘off limits’ for major economic development projects, no matter how clean or efficient,” the letter said. “The decision is flawed in its logic and its conclusions.”

The letter singles out for criticism the state’s argument that Hudson Valley communities have been “moving away” from waterfront industry. “The fact is that communities haven’t moved, the industries have because of policies of this state. We thought that was a major concern of the leaders of our state government. Apparently not,” the letter said.

The Business Council’s letter also said that the decision sends a very negative message about the state’s commitment to improving its business climate.

“When businesses want to invest in ways which will secure their future and improve the environment, they are forced to go through five years of bureaucratic proceedings, millions of dollars in expenses, to be handed a decision devoid of any semblance of balance,” the letter said. “From the viewpoint of economic development, the policies enunciated in this decision are ‘discordant,’ not the impact on viewsheds.”

The letter concluded: “Your decision speaks to preserving the maritime history of the communities along the Hudson. Commerce is part of that history but apparently not envisioned or desired to be part of its future. That troubles us greatly.”