Press Releases

Adirondack Council: State of the State Speech Raises Concerns; Group Seeks Seeks $200M Fund, Regulation Improvements in 2014 Session

 Council Wants State to Update Aging Development Regs, Curb Climate Change’s Impact, Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species & Keep All-Terrain Vehicles Off Public Forests

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 8, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. – A prominent environmental advocacy organization today expressed concern with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address, saying it liked the parts about improving rural infrastructure and tourism, but didn’t hear much about investments in the quality of the state’s environment.

“The Adirondack Council is pleased that Governor Cuomo has devoted so much time and energy to Adirondack issues over the past year.  We hope that his enthusiasm translates into additional funding in his upcoming State Budget,” said William C. Janeway, Executive Director.  “The park’s environment needs better care.  Its 130 small communities need growth that is compatible with environmental protection.  We look forward to a state budget that will stand as proof of his commitment to the environment, because we didn’t hear much about those issues today.”

“We are pleased that the Governor mentioned the Environmental Protection Fund and took credit for adding money to it last session, for the first time in many years,” Janeway said.  “But more than 100 organizations will be calling on the Governor to increase the EPF to $200 million this year.

“As for the Governor’s plans for regulatory reform, we caution him to seek reforms that will not damage the Adirondack Park’s clean waters, clean air and open spaces,” he explained.  “Those are not just environmental concerns, but economic ones.  We need to keep the park forever wild for everyone.”

In reference to the Governor’s plan to invite major political leaders to the Finger Lakes for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, Janeway said: “With or without the Governor, we hope there will be a 2014 Adirondack Challenge this summer that brings additional attention to the park’s new public lands and waters -- as well as bringing new business to the surrounding, gateway communities.”

In addition, Janeway said the organization would be watching carefully the Governor’s plan for highway improvements just north of the Adirondack Park.  An elevated interstate highway between Watertown and Plattsburgh could isolate the Adirondack Park from wildlife migration pathways to Canada and the Great Lakes.

Finally, Janeway said that the State of the State Message booklet made note of plans to create a biomass (wood-fired) power plant for the state office campus in Ray Brook, which houses the Adirondack Park Agency and regional headquarters for the Department of Environmental Conservation and State Police.

“Adirondack biomass, with wood coming from sustainably managed private forests, managed to be carbon neutral or better, is good for the Adirondack Park, its wild forest character and vibrant communities. We applaud Governor Cuomo for his support of the Adirondack Park and sustainable, smart Adirondack biomass. To address potential air quality issues we appreciate that all appropriate air quality control measures will be incorporated to protect people and the environment."

In the Legislative Session ahead, Janeway said the Adirondack Council will be seeking:

  • An Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) of $200 million or more (a $47-million increase over 2013);
  • Improvements to the Adirondack Park Agency Act and updates of the agency’s 40-year-old rules for private land development;
  • Transformational improvements to invasive species controls;
  • Measures to address greenhouses gas emissions, as well as the impact of climate change on the park’s ecology and rural communities; and,
  • Laws or regulations that keep all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) off of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

The EPF is a capital projects account within the state budget that may be used for major purchases such as new Forest Preserve or park lands, landfill closures and recycling facilities.  The Adirondack Council is privately funded, not-for-profit organization.  The Council doesn’t accept government grants or taxpayer-supported donations of any kind.

The Adirondack Council’s mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of New York’s six-million-acre Adirondack Park.  The Council envisions an Adirondack Park comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by working forests and farms, and vibrant rural communities.  Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.

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