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The Real Deal

To the Editor:

At last, a real journalist, Chet Hardin, has done a totally respectable article that brings back in balance the life and work of Dr. Ward Stone, the New York State Wildlife Pathologist [“Truth Lies Gasping,” July 22]. What James Odato of the Times Union had done in an earlier Sunday feature was exactly as one of the scientists in your paper’s article said, an attempt to write and interview people with an end-game in mind. Destroy the scientist’s personal and work-life reputations.

What is behind such loose journalism, such tawdry details as Odato resorted to, that is the question. Or one of the questions.

Recently Stone has been serving the citizens of the state in ways he always has: bringing out in local press the threats to both wild creatures and their relatives, the “civilized” humans. Example: questioning the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s allowing of an extension of the City of Albany’s cash cow, the landfill, into the Pine Bush Preserve. It is counter to all we have learned about how to deal with garbage and general household waste. And the slurry of pollution that flows or seeps from this large landfill is a threat to wildlife and its food and water sources.

Also, Dr. Stone responded to the cry for help from a group of citizens who have lived for decades in the dirty air, the dust and fallout, from the quarry of limestone beside their public school in Ravena-Coeymans area, and the nearby cement plant owned by the world infamous LaFarge company. Cement plants are sources of many serious poisons for humans and land, plants and animals in their fall-out area.

Brian Nearing of the Times Union staff—a reputable writer on environmental issues and leaders—did a front page story May 22 in the Times Union about the New York Governor’s Office of Regulatory Reform holding up the request, since 2008, by the Department of Environmental Conservation to forbid the continuing import of poison-laden coal fly ash to the LaFarge plant in Ravena. Strange though it might seem, the ENCON Commissioner himself did not reveal publically the governor’s staff had been holding up this action requested for the two years. This is a nationally recognized public health danger.

Why? Only Nearing’s freedom of information law request revealed this ongoing protection of the LaFarge operations.

Ward Stone cares, does the science, consults and produces papers with his peers, and serves his lifelong calling to be a truth-seeker, which is the definition of the scientific method of research. Which brings us back to what Chet Hardin did in his long and well-researched feature in your issue this week. He re-established one clear example of how Stone works to serve the people of the state, the wilderness that sustains us, and which serves even the politicians and the industrialists who forget their responsibilities to themselves and their communities. This is one man who didn’t sell out to anyone or any living part of the environment.

I hope you and your paper will provide more stories on the dangers to the environment, in places such as the city landfill, and around Ravena’s cement plant, affecting both sides of the Hudson River.

If we hope to really find out why there is an attempt to discredit the work and views, the past and present questions raised by Ward Stone, there is no power for ordinary people like the investigating reporters who place truth above selfish motives and personal well-being. As Dr. Stone has done for over 40 years in this state. Thanks to Chet Hardin and to Ward Stone.

Linda Champagne



To the Editor:

Thank you for Chet Hardin’s well researched article about Ward Stone’s science. Mr. Stone has been done a terrible injustice. New Yorkers owe this man for his diligence, determination and forthrightness on behalf of the people. Thank you, Ward.

Trix Niernberger


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