Monday, February 27, 2012

More About That View

Inspired by yesterday's post about the panel discussion Framing the Viewshed: A Bend in the River, John Cody, who was the first chair of the Olana Viewshed Committee, sent me a copy of The Crayon, published by Friends of Olana, for Fall-Winter 1985. This issue of The Crayon, which was contemporary with an effort to prevent the siting of a trans-shipment plant in Cementon, reprinted a monograph by Carl Petrich, one of the participants in Saturday's discussion. The monograph is entitled "E. I. Scoping for Aesthetics: Hindsight from the Greene County Nuclear Power Plant E. I. S."     


  1. A reader thwarted by Blogger commenting conventions asked me to post this comment for him:

    Having read news accounts of the panel discussion “Framing the Viewshed: A Bend in the River,” sponsored by the Olana Partnership last week, I was interested in both John Cody’s and Sam Pratt’s important amplifications of the issues: Sam’s pointing out on his blog that Rick Benas offered testimony in 2001 supporting the St. Lawrence Cement project despite its devastating impact on Olana’s viewshed, and John’s providing essential background information on the evolving concern of the Board of Friends of Olana (the predecessor of the Olana Partnership) about threats to the viewshed. Benas’ hypocrisy is indeed appalling, but readers might be equally astonished to learn that many board members of Friends of Olana in the mid-1980s did not think it was appropriate for that organization to get involved in contentious issues such as the placement of massive industrial facilities in the center of Olana’s viewshed.

    I was a new member of that board in 1985, along with John Cody. I think we were viewed with suspicion by some of the older members because we were known as “activists” who had been involved in the successful fight several years earlier to keep Octane Petroleum from establishing a working oil refinery on the piece of land between the Hudson train station and the river (John was the founder of Save Hudson’s Only Waterfront [SHOW], the organization that led that battle). In any case, Friends established the Viewshed Committee, with John as its first chairman, and John proceeded to very effectively make sure that the board could not ignore serious threats to the viewshed. The composition of the board began to change, and we were soon joined by (among others) the brilliant, charming and brave Elizabeth Aldrich (now Elliott), who led the effort several years later to rewrite the organization’s mission statement. Undoubtedly inspired by Olana’s legendary site manager James Ryan, we were able to insert the crucial phrase “and its integral viewshed” into the “protection of Olana” clause, which, to our amazement and delight, the State approved. It was only then (late 1980s – early 1990s, I believe) that Olana’s Friends/Partnership gained the legal ability and obligation to be involved with protecting Olana “and its integral viewshed.”

    It’s easy to take things for granted, but we need to realize that lots of people fought very hard for many years to get things to the point they’re at today. There is much about this period in our recent past that needs to be more fully understood, and clearly remembered.

    David Kermani (former President, Vice-President, and Treasurer, Friends of Olana)

    1. Thank you for this post and thank you every one, for what you saved for all of us and the generations to come.It is so important that we know our history and never forget these hard fought accomplishments,for in our ignorance and complacency, we can let it slip away.