The Adirondack Council Goes to Washington

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
By: Diane W. Fish - Adirondack Council Deputy Director

It’s not often we would venture outside the Adirondacks in the summer time, but there are exceptions. Recently, Council Executive Director Willie Janeway and our resident historian on acid rain policy John Sheehan (Communications Director) were in Washington, D.C. lobbying to save the funding for acid rain research and monitoring in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget. 

Since 1985, the acid rain research program has been critical in building policymakers understanding of the impacts of emissions controls on water quality in the Adirondack Park and other sensitive areas.  In 2017, the EPA granted $6.824 million to research teams in New York State for monthly testing of lake and river chemistry as well as air quality monitoring and chemical analysis of daily precipitation. That program is threatened by a proposed 31-percent cut in EPA funding called for by the Trump administration. 

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/images/monitoring_stattion.jpgAcid rain monitoring station on top of Whiteface Mountain
Photo courtesy of Atmospheric Sciences Research Center

While in Washington, the Council held a strategy session with John McHugh, former Congressman and Secretary of the Army, and long-time friend of the Adirondacks and the Adirondack Council.

When the acid rain research and monitoring money was threatened by President George W. Bush in 2007, both McHugh and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer stepped up and fixed the problem. We need that kind of leadership again.

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/images/mchugh w photo of boreas_small.jpgJohn McHugh poses for a moment with Adirondack Council’s Sheehan and Janeway as they present him with a framed Carl Heilman II photograph of the recently purchased Boreas Ponds in Essex County, which the Council hopes will be classified as Wilderness and added to the adjacent High Peaks Wilderness Area. The gift was a small token of thanks for McHugh’s work in protecting the Adirondack Park from acid rain while he was a member of Congress.

During the July visit, the also Council spoke with several members of the New York Congressional delegation, including U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, as the House of Representatives is working out budget details now. Stefanik told the Council she will work to protect the EPA grant and safeguard the acid rain funding that has helped reverse the devastation that acid rain has had on the lakes and forests of the Adirondack Park. 

Although significant progress has been made, acid rain is still harming soils, forests, birds, and fish, and threatening the health, property and livelihoods of Adirondack residents and businesses. The Adirondacks are a national treasure and deserve better than a rollback on policies that have set the path to recovery from decades of acid rain damage. The Council will continue to work with policymakers on both side of the aisle to make sure funding for acid rain research is protected.

Want to help? Please sign the petition urging policymakers like Congresswoman Stefanik to protect funding for acid rain monitoring.


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Uploaded Image: /uploads/Forever Wild Day Blog/Diane FWD 14.jpg

Diane joined the Council staff in 2001 and works with the Board and Staff to raise the financial resources needed to support the Council's conservation and advocacy efforts on behalf of the Park. An important step in this process is keeping in touch with supporters in all 50 states to understand their interests and concerns about the Adirondack Park and to engage members in the Council’s advocacy efforts.

Diane shares other Council supporters' love of the Adirondacks, enjoys the Park's many outdoor recreation activities, and appreciates the astounding beauty of the Park every day.

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