In the News  Archive

Report assesses gains, needs in park

Press Republican
September 25, 2016

BY JOE LOTEMPLIO

PLATTSBURGH — Addressing the Wilderness future of the Boreas tract was just one issue the Adirondack Council weighed in on in its recently released State of the Park 2016 report.

The report, now in its 30th year, is viewed as one of the most comprehensive assessments on park lands in the nation.
This year’s version focused on seven areas: wilderness and wildlife, invasive species, transformational pro-environmental budgeting, vibrant communities, the Adirondack Park Agency, climate change and agency actions.

FUNDING GAINS
The report said positive results were reached in the categories of invasive species, transformational pro-environment budget and vibrant communities.

The 2016 state budget doubled the funding to combat invasive species from $5.8 million to $12 million, which allowed for, among other services, an expansion in boatinspection programs.

The report praised an increase in the Environmental Protection Fund from $177 million to $300 million, which includes $40 million for openspace protection, $28 million for state land stewardship and millions more for community infrastructure and clean water.

To help communities become more vibrant, the report said, more than $10 million in grants for cleanwater infrastructure was awarded to communities in the Adirondacks.

The governor and legislature also approved $250 million for grants statewide for community infrastructure.

NEED MORE WORK
The categories of wilderness and wildlife and climate change were seen as making progress but have not yet achieved desirable results.

Classifying the Boreas tract as Wilderness and regulating it would go a long way in addressing that, William C. Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council, told the Press-Republican Editorial Board.

The council also hopes for more traction in the legal fights against acid rain in the courts.

STAFF SHORTAGES
Staffing levels at the Adirondack Park Agency, the organization that governs the park, need to be improved, the report says.
Janeway said staff positions that could save municipalities significant money by maintaining programs should be brought back.

Without adequate staff, problems can go undetected.

“You can save some money on fewer staff for a couple of years, and then something blows up, and then you are spending 10 times as much money to fix it,” Janeway said.

OIL TRAINS
The report also said more needs to be done at both the state and federal levels to prevent environmental disasters such as oil trains crashing and exploding.

“It’s great that we are putting more money into responding to an incident, but we need to prevent them from happening,” Janeway said, adding that requiring more insurance for oil trains passing through the Adirondacks is one idea being discussed.

“It’s really not about having more insurance in case something happens, although that is important; it’s really more about motivating the (oil) companies on a private-sector side to find the most cost-effective way to decrease the risk.”
The report also rates lawmakers on their environmental efforts.

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