Plenty will complain about the blow to future business interest in the Hudson Valley, but I don’t think this is a healthy attitude to adopt. Nor do I believe it is the case. True, Hudson Valley Residents will stand to oppose frivolous plans like this one, so how about we prioritize better proposals?

Today, after five months of battling the sheer terror of the possibility of a plastic bottling plant going up in the Town of Ulster, and the tapping of a sacred lake in Woodstock, we got the news that Niagara Bottling Company has chosen to retreat from their plan to continue to go for the “site worth fighting for”. 

Ulster County Community College Don Katt, who was involved in the effort to secure state tax breaks for Niagara, said Friday that he received an email from the company informing him of its decision.

Katt speculated that growing local opposition to the proposal was part of the reason for the company’s withdrawal.

“I think that they saw the opposition had grown, and they feel it is better to look elsewhere,” Katt (President of SUNY Ulster) said.

A written statement from Niagara confirmed the decision but did not cite a reason.

“Site selection is not a process that Niagara Bottling LLC takes lightly,” the statement read. “… We intend to continue our site selection process in search of communities and sites that meet our project criteria. Unfortunately, we have decided to disqualify the town of Ulster, New York from our due diligence process.”

While, this is major victory for many who have been working toward the protection of our water, it is just the beginning of another chapter.

It will take a lot of work to fix the Kingston water infrastructure, with 18 million dollars in upgrading to pay for. And although the citizen outcry has stopped this absurd move to cover the bill by privatizing our water, we have been made aware of the frivolous nature in which Judith Hanson, the Superintendent of the City Of Kingston Waterboard (pardon the pun) chooses to handle this task.

As well, personally, I have come to learn a little bit more about the Economic Development Plans of our Governor––and they are splintered, only suggest considering sustainable intention and the idea that GlobalNY is on his agenda is frightening if there are no preemptive checks or balances in place.

The people of the Mid-Hudson Valley have made it clear that we are seeking far more conscious economic development directives than proposals such as this one.

I recognize that our infrastructures are in need of repair. As they are across the planet…

But I feel that selling out to the privatization of our natural resources in a time of planetary transition, while the evidence is clear that the way we are headed with the whole privatize-to-fix-infrastructure-idea, is damn stupid.

If proposals like this one are allowed this to set precedent for what is to come as we see more and more infrastructure sellouts, we are in serious trouble.

It seems we might do well to take this opportunity to become more involved in the process.

This from Kinston Citizens:

Just this morning, organized what will be the first in a long series of educational panels to explore the possibilities of maintaining and protecting water infrastructure, water management strategies and available funding sources.

To suggest that we either sell/privatize our water and/or infrastructure to a corporation or our rates will increase dramatically does not only appear punitive to the public by our elected and appointed officials, it lacks a determination to seek other alternative solutions. We hope that in this area of concern, our organizational effort can be useful to our municipalities.

The series begins on March 19th.

Plenty will complain, as shown below, about the blow to future business interest in the Hudson Valley, but I don’t think this is a healthy attitude to adopt. Nor do I believe it is the case.

Deputy Supervisor Eric Kitchen called Niagara’s decision a blow to economic development in Ulster County.

“This sends a message to future developers and manufacturers that Ulster County is not business-friendly,” Town Of Ulster Deputy Supervisor Eric Kitchen said. “It is no secret that Ulster County needs jobs to support the people that live here.”

True, Hudson Valley Residents will stand to oppose frivolous plans like this one, so how about we (the people, our local elected officials, and government councils) prioritize better proposals?

“We are doubly pleased by this news. First, because this immediate threat to our local watersheds and the integrity of a crucial shared natural resource has been averted — and the community of Woodstock spared many thousands of dollars in potential legal and consultant expenses.
Second, because Niagara’s proposal spurred the creation of a much-needed task force to address the sustainability and health of our local water supply. We look forward to being part of developing alternative solutions to our water infrastructure challenges that do not require us to mortgage the future of our water and environment.”
Kevin D. Smith, Chairman––Woodstock Land Conservancy

The community is saying lets get sustainable now. From clean water to clean energy, if Economic Development planning were to take that directive, and move with a hard push toward a sustainable Hudson Valley agenda––and really mean it… And began to solicit business interest from a sustainable platform, they might get more support when they announce their priorities for our region. And with the directive to invigorate the small business community, we could creating lasting incomes as well.

But, I personally, cannot stand in support of local government or the Regional Economic Development Council if they feel a business like Niagara could be a priority for our region.

It is my goal to learn more about all of this, including Home Rule, and take a stand to have a hand in how we move to strengthen the infrastructures and economy in our region.

And of course, it all begins at home…

When Aidan Ferris and Alex Lemus, President and vice president of the SUNY Ulster Community College Environmental Club, presented their plans to bring SUNY Ulster to a stronger commitment to sustainable campus, I wished that Municipalities could take similar directives.

Well… I found it.. The same program that is being implemented in schools across the country, can be implemented by municipalities..

Check it out here:

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I would like to present this program to my town government for review, to ask them to make an even stronger commitment to a sustainable Woodstock.

I believe Jeremy Wilber, our Town Supervisor, will welcome the conversation.

This may not be the end all be all, but a commitment like this one sets the tone for future directives and corporations that come looking our way for ways to leave a footprint. It feels like a good start.

Giving thanks to some of those who stepped up to the plate and continue to make a clear stand for the preservation of our natural resources.


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