Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I retract the "P" charge // back to a practice of compassion

Jim Houghton, Cecile Lawrence and others
have suggested that, while I only stated this as a question
("this looks to me like..., what do you think?")
an actual charge of perjury would come from a court.

Thanks for elucidating
a rationale for the continuous practice of restraint.
Always a good idea.

A Buddhist monk would never levy an accusation of wrongdoing
against anyone. => irrelevant towards meeting the goal of happiness.

Also, I am reminded by my friend Kim
that we need to encourage the people
working in these bureaucracies and corporations
to resign or defect or whistle-blow
on the killing machines they work for.

We need to be always practicing compassion.
Offering an olive branch of peace.
This is the way towards healing.
Not by accusations and judgments and charges.

I know this.

These accusations of "Liar! Liar!"
this kind of thing breaks compassion.

I withdraw even the suggestion of perjury.
I am sending your note to all the places I first sent this.
I hope everyone reads what you wrote.

It may not be perjury,
but it sure discredits him IMO as a witness...

My friend Cecile, (who holds a J.D.) writes this:

Not perjury, IMHO, but a classic example of the kind of flip-flop in which certain politicians have engaged.  Useful for re his morality and sincerity, etc. in a court room and if he ever runs for office, but does not meet the multi-part test for perjury. See below. Not legal advice. definition:
the willful giving of false testimony under oath or affirmation, before a competent tribunal, upon a point material to a legal inquiry.


Jim's note below:

On Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 8:34 PM, Jim Houghton <> wrote:
What Chip found is of note and of use, but while I'm no lawyer, my interpretation is that this would not qualify as perjury in several ways. Arguing different interpretations of a law at different times can illustrate inconsistency and contradiction, and pointing this out can undermine a witness's testimony. But it's not perjury, and it's not really a "lie" per se.

I would be very cautious using the "p" word. It is quite possible that someone in the gas industry will be caught perjuring themselves in one of the civil suits that are starting to proliferate over damage to land and persons, but even then, I believe that determination is to be made by a judge; it's not a charge to be levied by activists.

Jim Houghton
Not a lawyer, not legal advice

On Dec 14, 2011, at 9:43 AM, William Huston wrote:

> I think Chip Northrup has found something really crucial here.
> Chip is being nice by not using the "P" word, but
> lying under oath is called perjury,
> and I believe this is what we may have here.
> Look at the evidence, then decide for yourself.
> Greg Sovas is a key industry witness in both the Middlefield and Dryden lawsuits.
> For 18 years, he was head of the Division of Mineral Resources at NY DEC.
> Compare these two statements:
> QUOTE #1:
> Local Zoning and DEC Processing of Permits
> The 1991 Amendments clarified local government's authority to enact zoning laws and enhanced
> the ability to participate both formally and informally in the review of mining applications.
> Furthermore, local governments may enact special use permit authority and enforce conditions
> from the state permit. It is important to recognize that DEC is not a land use agency, and that the
> authority remains at the local government level. It has always been our position that localities
> need to determine appropriate land uses and that DEC, even if we believe that a site may not be
> zoned properly, will not interfere in those decisions. We do not want conflicts with the localities.
> We want and need local governments to plan for mineral resources as natural resources just like
> they would do for any other land use, consistent with the MLRL
> -- Gregory H. Sovas,  (at the time) Director, Division of Mineral Resources, NY Department of Environmental Conservation, "Sustainable Development and Mining", Perspectives on New York's Mined Land Reclamation Law, Albany Law School. April 17, 1998
> Source:
> Compare that to this:
> QUOTE #2:
> (7) I was the primary author of the Amendments to the New York's Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law in 1981, and was responsible for implementation of those amendments. (8) Because of my public service, I am personally familiar with the legislative intent and purpose of the oil and gas program, how New York's Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law was implemented, and how the Department interprets and enforces the provisions of the law. ... (17) There was no question about legislative intent that the supersedure clause eliminated the right of municipalities to regulate any aspect of the oil and gas development including the right to zone oil and gas wells, (21)  The Zoning Law is clearly preempted under the plain languages of ECL §23-0303(2).... (22) The Zoning Law also directly conflicts with Article 23 of the ECL and further frustrates the law's purpose by purporting to use zoning principles to prohibit oil and gas drilling within the municipal boundaries of the Town,.. (27)  It would also run counter to the Department's long-standing interpretation of §23-0303(2). (28) For over thirty years, the Department interpreted ECL §23-0303(2) to completely preempt local municipalities from regulating the oil and gas industry, whether through zoning or other local laws and ordinances putatively based on public health, safety and welfare.
> Source: Greg Sovas affidavit, Middlefield lawsuit.
> This document is not online, but is nearly identical (even the paragraph numbers) to an affidavit filed under the Dryden lawsuit, copy here:
> These statements, made 13 years apart, appear to contradict each other.
> The first statement was made while Mr. Sovas was a Public Servant.
> The second statement was made while Mr. Sovas was a paid consultant by the O+G industry.
> So, which statement is the truth, Greg Sovas?

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William Huston  
Binghamton NY             Phone: 607-321-7846

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