In the News  Archive

Editorial - OUR VIEW: Push fight against acid rain

March 26, 2015
Utica Observer Dispatch

We’re making headway in the fight against acid rain and the battle cannot stop now. Earlier this month, the state Department of Environmental Conservation dumped 80 tons of lime on frozen Bear Pond, a remote Adirondack lake north of Stillwater Reservoir in Herkimer County. Officials say that when the pond thaws, the lime will enter the water and reduce its acidity level. The goal is to restore the native brook trout habitat.

Many Adirondack lakes — and the fish and plant life they support — have been devastated over the years by acid rain, created when coal-burning power plants in the Midwest spew sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the air. The toxins are carried east by prevailing winds and fall to earth as acid rain, virtually wiping out aquatic life in many lakes and ponds throughout the park.

Once thought to be a lost cause, the reclaiming of waters like Bear Pond is now worth the effort because battles to control industrial emissions have been fought and won. Former Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-New Hartford, was a key player in that fight; as chairman of the House Science Committee, he helped pass landmark clean-air legislation to battle what he called “a cancer in the sky.”

But continued research into acid rain has been a critical factor in furthering the cause. In a guest view at right, Charles Driscoll, a professor of environmental engineering at Syracuse University, says that “thanks to recent research conducted in New York, scientists have a new method for predicting what level of air pollution cuts will be enough to protect every forest, every lake and all wildlife in a given region of the country.”

Government must stay the course in this ongoing battle. Acid rain has been a scourge for too many years, and protecting the environment that includes our precious Adirondacks cannot be compromised

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