After a whirlwind week of advocacy, we here at HOTH feel nothing but gratitude and a sense of awe as our community ignited and made their concerns and questions about Saratoga Biochar known to the DEC. Each community member stated their concerns with confidence, knowing that #1 were not alone and that #2 their concerns and questions are valid. People from across the region brought their unique perspectives and expertises to the table, demanding answers to unanswered questions. Whether or not Hand off the Hudson had a role in what we witnessed this week, it was clear each person that spoke, had a point of view and expertise to be shared and validated.
We have all watched as Saratoga Biochar bends the truth and paints a picture of the inevitable. What better way to deflate a movement than to claim their victory half way through the race? The massive platform being provided to SBS as they spread misinformation is unfortunate but not uncommon for their strategy. It is our shared hope that the public listens to their rhetoric through a lens of skepticism and demand the research and information to support their claims.
When SBS says their process is safe, we ask how do you know if you have never done this before? When they say that they won't impact the air we breathe, we ask for the data to support their claims. When they provide us with models and guarantees from third parties, we ask who will be responsible if their mission fails. When they tell us the DEC will be monitoring them constantly for emissions, we ask how often, only to find out that a yearly reading will be our only saving grace.
It is NOW or NEVER for us to write our emails to the DEC and tell them our concerns. Remember, your lack of action is a YES vote for SBS. If you don't write a short statement of concern the DEC counts your complacency as a approval of their facility. You are ok with 15% of the states sewage sludge being shipped to an industrial park sitting only a few hundred yards from the magestic Hudson River. You are ok with emissions drifting to residents of Hudson Falls and settling into their community. You are fine with 1000's of trucks driving by the residents of South Glens Falls filled with raw sewage. If you don't have concern then the DEC views you as being ok with their issuance of the permits needed to move forward with their facility.
We are now the judges and jury that filters SBS's carefully constructed statements through a lens suspicion. We are the ones that need to be convinced and in all honesty, we are not. This is HOTHs mission, to empower our community to use research based data to support their claims of concern. We look to bring justice to the disadvantaged and defeated communities that surround this over polluted region by mobilizing the residents themselves.
You are the ones that are going to make a difference. You now have the information and can move forward with confidence to make your voices heard to question any industry that has the potential to pollute the environment or negatively impact our health.
Please write your concerns and questions by March 4th to:
or by mail to:
Regional Permit Administrator, DEC Region 5,
1115 State Route 86,
Ray Brook, NY 12977
My name is Shannon Gillis, I am an educator and a concerned citizen driven to uncover and communicate actions of our representatives and planning boards that have the potential to affect our health and the health of the environment, especially the Hudson River Ecosystem.