In the News  Archive

Voters to decide on Adirondack Land Swap

October 23, 2013

By: Mark Mulholland

Watch the video.

LEWIS, ESSEX COUNTY - They're pulling a mineral called wollastonite from this mine. The white mineral is used in paints and plastics for things like car parts.

But the mine, which is run by a company called NYCO Minerals, is getting low on the mineral. The company says it has just three or four years left before it runs out.

So they want this parcel adjacent to their current mine. It's 200 acres of state-owned land. To get that property, NYCO will give the state several parcels of land.

The swap will give the company and its 100 employees another decade at this site.

The state gets 15-hundred acres that can be used for recreation. The company gets 200 that can be mined. But has to return it after they're done, in about ten years.

Environmental groups, who rarely support mining companies, are supporting the so-called Adirondack Land Swap.

"It's difficult to embrace mining when you are an environmentalist like I am, But we need to set that aside and decide if it's a good deal for the state of New York," said William Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council. "It helps the jobs in the community, but even more importantly it expands the Jay Mountain Wilderness and helps the Adirondack Park be stronger."

NYCO says the land they hope to mine is not conducive to recreation.

They say the state not only gets prime recreation lands, but the company will pay more taxes on the land they mine, because they pay a higher rate.

And they say the land swap is vital to keeping NYCO competitive with overseas mining companies, and keeping 100 workers gainfully employed.

"There's families here. It's important to the families of the area. It's not just NYCO," said Mark Buckley, environmental health and safety manager for NYCO.

The Land Swap is Proposition 5 on Election Day.

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