In the News  Archive

Green groups to sue over NYCO Adirondack mining

North Country Public Radio
July 11, 2014

By, Brian Mann

A coalition of green groups, including two based in the Adirondacks, say they will file legal action to block "exploratory drilling" in the forest preserve.

The groups plan to hold a press conference Friday afternoon in Albany at 1pm to detail their concerns.

According to a statement issued this morning, the pending suit aims to "stop the mining exploration in the Jay Mountain Wilderness until lawful procedures are observed and until non-constitutional laws are amended or repealed."

Last November, voters across New York state approved a constitutional amendment allowing a parcel of land in the Jay Mountain wilderness to be mined by NYCO for a mineral known as Wollastonite.

The project in the Essex County town of Lewis would also feed raw material to the company's plant in Willsboro. Local leaders have said it is essential to preserve local jobs.

In June, the Adirondack Park Agency unanimously approved an amendment to the Jay Wilderness unit management plan to allow the project to move forward.

At the time, APA commissioner Richard Booth — who has strong connections to the environmental community — voted to allow the operation. But he also predicted that litigation might occur.

"This may well get litigated, and that's not a surprise," Booth said. "But I think, given the vote of the public, this is what the public anticipated would happen."

Speaking in June, David Gibson with the group Adirondack Wild said that the APA had not followed proper legal procedure.

"You have all sorts of layers of law that are being cast aside here, and that creates a legal vaccum," Gibson said. "Their legal foundation for making these determinations has been swept away."

Groups involved in the suit also include Protect the Adirondacks, the Sierra Club's Atlantic Chapter, Earthjustice, and the Atlantic States Legal Foundation.

Notable for their absence in the suit are two promiment Adirondack green groups that supported the NYCO project, the Adirondack Council and the Adirondack Mountain Club.

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