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Ex-Governor Failed to Act on Adirondack Invasive Species Bill, Road Salt Task Force, Broadband Expansion

Adirondack Council Issues Pre-Release Peek at State of the Park 2021-22 Annual Critique of Government Actions Due Out Next Week

Monday, August 30, 2021 

ALBANY, NY.  – With its annual State of the Park Report due to be released to the public on Sept. 7, the Adirondack Council today released a preview noting that the recently-departed Cuomo administration had neglected to sign important legislation and failed to appoint members to a vital road salt task force or bridge the lingering gaps in broadband internet services. 

“A bill requiring boat and trailer inspections inside the Adirondack Park passed both houses in June and still awaits the Governor’s signature,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway. “The state road salt-reduction task force that is due to report this fall has never met because the Governor hasn’t appointed its members yet. The promise to deliver universal broadband in Adirondack communities remains incomplete.” 

Janeway said he was confident that new Governor Kathy Hochul cares about the Adirondack Park and would bring her attention to these matters shortly. 

“We are hoping that these three issues can be resolved quickly, so the state can turn its full attention to the problems associated with a huge increase in the number of Park visitors and residents,” Janeway said, noting that the theme of this year’s State of the Park report is Wilderness of Refuge

Janeway said the road salt task force was created by a bill signed into law in 2020.  Cuomo received one “thumb up” in the report for having signed the bill creating the task force. He also received a “thumb down” for failing to appoint anyone to it (Task Force of Zero, p.6). 

The road salt task force was supposed to have started its meetings during the summer, which is now impossible. Janeway said the Council would work with the Hochul administration to get the project rolling again. It is due to make a detailed report to the Legislature on December 1. 

The bill requiring boat inspections prior to launch in the Adirondack Park received final approval in June, but has not yet been transmitted to the Governor for consideration. The schedule for sending bills to the Governor for a signature or veto is negotiated between the Governor and Legislative leaders, so he could have asked for it at any time over the past two months. The report credits North Country Assemblyman Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay, and Long Island’s Sen. Todd Kaminsky, D-Long Beach, for passing the bill (Uncommonly Great Step…, p. 10). 

Broadband expansion inside the Adirondack Park has been slow, despite the need to bring modern telecommunications into people’s homes and businesses for remote work and for education during the pandemic-induced periods of social isolation. Even without a pandemic, there is a need for Park-compatible communications infrastructure to compensate for the Park’s physical isolation from the population centers of the Northeast.  

“There has been little progress in addressing gaps in broadband internet coverage in rural areas. Even New York City officials reported that 1.5 million city residents lacked broadband coverage in their homes and businesses,” the report states, contrasting the state’s regions with the highest and lowest population densities (Network Not in Range, p. 7).   

Former Governor Cuomo also vetoed a bill that would have surveyed who had service and who did not, a basic question that remains unanswered, the report notes. 

The full State of the Park report will be available online and in print on the Tuesday following Labor Day (Sept. 7), Janeway said. 

State of the Park is a 28-page illustrated report on the actions of local, state and federal officials that helped or harmed the Adirondack Park over the past 12 months. The report is broken into more than 100 topic summaries for which officials are granted a thumb up or a thumb down.   

State of the Park also includes a Report Card on whether officials accomplished the major priorities of the previous years, and a Spotlight section calling attention to the good deeds of individuals and other not-for-profit organizations.  

“The main thrust of the report is that the Adirondacks have become a Wilderness of Refuge for the entire Northeast during a time of great turmoil,” said Janeway. “Today, however, our main message is that there are some things still undone that need the new Governor’s attention as soon as possible.” 

Then-Lt.-Governor Hochul addressed the Adirondack Council’s membership at the organization’s 2021 Forever Wild Day Celebration in July, thanking them for their efforts to protect and preserve “God’s favorite place on Earth.” 

Established in 1975, the Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. It is the largest environmental organization whose sole focus is the Adirondacks.  

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy, and legal action. It envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, farms and working forests, and vibrant, diverse, welcoming, safe communities. 

For more information: 
John Sheehan, Adirondack Council, 518-441-1340 


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