Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Who Can You Trust?

This isn't strictly speaking Hudson news, but, in different ways, it affects us Hudsonians. There are two agencies we would like to believe we can trust: the Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Historic Preservation Office. Recent news, however, shakes our faith in both these agencies.

On Friday, with the EPA's blessing, treated toxins were released into the Valatie Kill from a new plant designed to treat contaminated groundwater and leachate from a Superfund site in Nassau. Barbara Reina reports in today's Register-Star that the EPA failed to inform officials in Rensselaer County and Columbia County of the plans, bypassed the Columbia County Environmental Management Council, and ignored requests for a comprehensive public health study before making the first release: "Officials in the dark about EPA's discharge plan."

And then there is SHPO. According to reports, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation decided, in a closed door meeting, that it would be OK for the New York Public Library to pursue its "Central Library Plan" and demolish the stacks in its McKim, Mead & White building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street provided that they document "via photography and archival evidence" what they intend to destroy. The seven levels of stacks, designed by Carrère and Hastings, were considered "marvels of engineering" when the library building opened in 1911.


  1. 1. This is Obama's EPA. Any buyer's remorse out there? When will this Administration be held to account for anything, ever? Why are they not answerable for their actions?

    2. What's about to happen to the great 42nd Street Library of the New York Public Library is appalling. One of the great research institutions in the world is being sacrificed for the sake of being something like a "neighborhood (ie, family-friendly, touchy-feely, politically correct, recreation center) library." They have had awful trustees there for a long time. This is truly terrible and the fact that the great Norman Foster has been hired to effect the "renovation" doesn't help one little bit.

    -- Jock Spivy

  2. I wrote my masters thesis out of books obtained from those stacks by submitting request slips to the librarian at the desk and then waiting for what I imagined was an army of eager book clerks running through the stacks to find my requested tomes and send them by elevator to the Reading Room. This is indeed a sad moment.