OE’s Response to the Times Herald-Record article of Saturday, November 16, 2002.

OE’s Response to the Times Herald-Record article of Saturday, November 16, 2002.

Wow! Your article titled “Follow the Money” on Orange Environment, Masada, and the Al Turi Landfill was just filled with “revelations.”

Revelation News Flash #1: OE, as an environmental group, is opposed to landfills that pollute the Wallkill River! (True, and has been since our inception!)

Revelation New Flash #2: OE, as an environmental group, is for recycling, re-use, and reprocessing of material, when possible, into environmentally friendly products. (Yep! True again. Turning garbage into ethanol, a clean-burning fuel, definitely fits with our Save-the-Earth credo.)

Revelation News Flash#3: Surprise! Orange Environment supports Masada, a recycling plant that produces ethanol. Our representatives went – along with local officials from Middletown — to Alabama in 1996 to see whether this technology would be viable for Orange County and whether the company was responsible. OE did have concerns about the Masada operation and submitted these in writing at the hearings. One of the biggest concerns was (and is) placement of the plant and its affects on surrounding businesses and neighbors. Yet, we felt that the County had to deal with its own garbage and this was the best option for the future so far. Everyone needs to monitor the plant’s safety during every phase of construction and operation.

Revelation News Flash #4: People and businesses will donate money to OE if they agree with our positions! (Yes, it was in OE’s interest and Masada’s interest to stop the Al Turi expansion proposals even though we each had different reasons for doing so. Hunters’ groups and conservationists often fight against the destruction of forests and open space even though their positions on other issues might put them on opposite sides in the future.)

Revelation News Flash #5: OE “…took the lead in forming an “independent” group [your quotes] to monitor the plant.” Your use of quotes implies that we can not be independent if OE is actually for something. Do you mean to imply we should only be members of citizen watchdog/advisory groups when we are against projects? Your implication of a “quid pro quo” to be involved in this advisory group is deeply offensive. Citizen watchdog groups have always been part of OE’s proposals in solving issues between communities and possible polluters. Our members have volunteered thousands of hours of their time to serve on numerous independent boards wherever the public health and the environment could be compromised. In no way has the manner in which the board was formed interfered with our members being outspoken defenders of our basic mission to protect the health and safety of residents and our natural resources.

Toby Schack
Vice President
Orange Environment, Inc.