Saturday, February 18, 2012

What Might Have Been . . .

In the past few decades, our stretch of the Hudson River has dodged a number of bullets. In 1984, there was the scheme to locate an oil refinery on the Hudson waterfront. In 1999, there was the plan to build a "perc" (perchloroethylene) recycling facility in close proximity to Basilica Hudson. And, of course, from 1999 to 2005, there was the threat of the "Greenport Project," which when proposed was to be the nation's largest cement plant, located just over Hudson's eastern border and on our waterfront. Recently, Congressman Chris Gibson's enthusiasm for building a nuclear power plant on the Hudson has reminded us of an earlier threat: the nuclear power plant that was almost built on the Hudson River in 1977--in clear view of the Olana State Historic Site.

On Saturday, February 25, at 3 p.m. at Stair Galleries, three people who were key players in the debate about siting a nuclear power plant on the Hudson and within the Olana viewshed will come together to recall this episode in our history and discuss "the unprecendented and nationally significant approach of considering the visual impact of a nuclear power plant in a region." The participants are Carl Petrich, who then worked as a landscape architect on the research staff of the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and produced the Environmental Impact Statement that caused the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deny the proposed plant a license; J. Winthrop Aldrich, who advocated for factoring the project's impact on historic and scenic resources into the decision; and Richard Benas, who then worked at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and testified at the hearings on the proposed plant. Petrich, Aldrich, and Benas will share their memories of a "crucial but mostly forgotten chapter in the preservation of a national histopric landmark and its spectacular viewshed." The discussion will be moderated by Dorothy Heyl, a member of Olana's Landscape/Viewshed Committee.         

A donation of $10 is suggested. Admission is free for members of The Olana Partnership. A reception will follow the discussion.

1 comment:

  1. The newspaper article at The Saratogian (linked by Gossips) doesn't actually quote Congressman Gibson as saying any such thing about the Hudson River.

    At the time that article was written, over a year ago, the Congressman was saying nothing more than that his mind was not closed to any possibility.

    I remember the circumstances well because I took part in the bipartisan energy advisory panel mentioned by the Saratogian.