In the News  Archive

OUR VIEW: Put skids on ADK oil plans

Utica Observer-Dispatch
August 27, 2015
A rail line through New York’s majestic Adirondack Mountains can have solid purpose — as a tourist attraction, yes, but certainly not as a storage spot for derelict oil tankers.

Plans by the Chicago-based Iowa Pacific Holdings to use the tracks between Saratoga Springs and Newcomb as a junkyard and oil pump-out station need to be derailed immediately.

Last week, the Adirondack Council called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to put a stop to the plan, noting that the tankers could cause environmental damage to three scenic rivers and the “forever wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve.

The Associated Press reported that a railroad official has told the Warren County Board of Supervisors that the company intends to wait until the tankers arrive in Essex County before inspecting them to see how much oil is left in them and deciding what to do with the oil.

“The Adirondack Park is a national treasure because it is wild, beautiful and unspoiled,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway. “This should be the last place anyone should consider parking and emptying obsolete oil tankers.”

Janeway is absolutely right. The site is in the midst of some of the state’s tallest mountains and wildest rivers. Using it as a receiving area for oil tankers is simply outrageous. He has suggested the railroad’s plan be the subject of a state environmental review.

We agree. Protecting the wilderness has been a formidable challenge ever since the Forest Preserve was created in the late 19th century. Verplanck Colvin, a surveyor from Albany who was hired to map the Adirondacks, was enraged by unchecked logging taking place there, and persuaded the state Legislature to establish a commission on state parks to protect them. That led to the establishment of the Forest Preserve in 1885, and the eventual creation of the Adirondack Park in 1892.

Today, the Forest Preserve encompasses a patchwork of 2.4 million acres throughout the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park. We, the people of this state, are stewards of that land. Just as Colvin fought against unchecked logging, so must we continue to rise up and take issue when the land is threatened. Gov. Cuomo should heed the Adirondack Council’s call to protect what so many people have worked to protect.

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