In the News  Archive

OUR VIEW: Keep up guard on wilderness

October 15, 2015

A report last week that it’s unlikely that a short line railroad would store contaminated oil tanker cars on tracks near the Adirondack High Peaks is a welcome one.

But state and environmental leaders must remain vigilant in efforts to ward off those who would do damage to this pristine wilderness.

Ed Ellis, president of Iowa Pacific Holdings, told the Glens Falls Post-Star that his company hasn’t received any proposals from tank car owners to store cars on the line. Instead, Ellis said some open-topped hopper cars used to transport stone may be stored on the little-used tracks.

Nothing in the report, however, indicated that the threat had gone away. New safety regulations means thousands of oil and ethanol tank cars are being taken out of service; owners are looking for lines on which to store them.

Just because Iowa Pacific hasn’t received any proposals for storage doesn’t mean some might not be forthcoming.

Those who would protect the wilderness cannot let down their guard — against this or any other plans that would threaten the Adirondack environment.

The very idea of storing old oil tankers in the midst of some of the state’s tallest mountains and wildest rivers was short-sighted, to say the least. As made clear by the Adirondack Council, such tankers could cause environmental damage to three scenic rivers and the “forever wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve, established in 1885 through the tireless efforts of Verplanck Colvin.

Colvin, a surveyor from Albany foresaw destruction of the pristine wilderness by unchecked logging and lobbied to protect it. His efforts led to the creation of the Adirondack Park in 1892.
Today, it’s a 6-million-acre public/private patchwork of property like no other wilderness in America. Like Colvin, it is incumbent upon all of us to do whatever is necessary to protect it.

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