Press Releases

Governor Cuomo Proposes "Nation Leading Environmental Agendaā€¯

Priorities include Climate Change, Clean Water, Overcrowding, Sustainable Tourism and Parks

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. – The Adirondack Council today applauded Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his progressive vision of a “nation-leading environmental agenda” including a Green New Deal, actions to combat climate change, and a $10-billion Green Future Fund that includes an additional $2.5 billion in grants for water and sewer projects over the next five years.

The Governor proposed “mandating 100% clean power by 2040… putting the state on the path to eliminating its entire carbon footprint.”

“The Governor is challenging New York to be the nation’s environmental leader,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway. “He announced a Green New Deal that includes new emissions reduction targets and a $10-billion Green Future Fund to advance other major environmental priorities. Part of this is another $2.5 billion in grants to communities that need better drinking water and wastewater systems, on top of the state’s on-going $2.5-billion commitment.

It also includes $3 billion for renewable energy development and clean transportation, he said. “All of those are important to the Adirondacks, where we face threats from acid rain, and climate change, where transportation is such a big part of our own carbon footprint, and where drinking water and wastewater funding is needed.”

The Governor’s State of the State book proposes that the state focus additional attention on issues of overcrowding, overuse, wear-and-tear and management in the Adirondacks. Janeway noted that this is something the Council and others prioritized. Many called on the state to hire more Forest Rangers, foresters, planners and other staff.

“Current levels of unprecedented high use in popular areas have resulted in challenges to public health and safety as well as impacts to natural resources and the visitor experience,” Governor Cuomo’s written statement noted. “In addition, the economic benefits of tourism are not reaching as many local communities as they could through increased marketing and visitation.

Janeway expressed concern, however, that the only additional personnel proposed for the Dept. of Environmental Conservation were five new employees slated for the North Hudson visitors’ center planned near Exit 29 of the Northway. Additional Forest Rangers and other personnel are needed to fix the “high use” problems emerging in the High Peaks Wilderness Area and other popular locations, he said.

The Governor’s  proposed Green Futures Fund also includes: “$2 billion for Parks, Public Lands, and Resiliency: New York’s network of state parks and protected open spaces are the foundation of the state’s growing outdoor recreation economy, and this funding will bolster the state’s efforts to improve and upgrade our state parks and DEC resources and protect new open spaces to provide new recreational opportunities, while also improving the state’s resiliency from more intense and frequent storms fueled by climate change.”

Adirondack Council Director of Government Relations Kevin Chlad noted that the organization works to secure conservation funding in the state budget, but doesn’t seek state funding for its own work. The Adirondack Council doesn’t solicit or accept public funding, or taxpayer supported donations of any kind.

“The Adirondack Council looks forward to working with the Governor’s team and the legislature on nationally important environmental priorities including the preservation of the Adirondacks, clean water, clean air and wildlands,” said Chlad. “We can work together to invest in wilderness, park staffing, people’s health, and communities. We can combat climate change, eliminate plastic bags, fight pollutants such as road salt and invasive species and address the challenge of overuse. These are priorities that are not partisan.”

Janeway thanked the Governor for outlining a bold, progressive agenda which seeks to counter the federal environmental rollbacks of the Trump administration. These include federal actions decreasing restrictions on cross state air pollution that contributes to climate change and threatens public health.

The Governor described a federal Government that is “assaulting” New York and what New Yorkers value. The State of the State presentation said: “While the federal government continues to roll back environmental regulations and invests in dirty sources of power, we will forge a different path forward.”

Governor Cuomo proposes an “Upstate Cellular Coverage Task Force” to identify solutions to gaps in coverage in areas of need, including the Adirondacks. The proposed task force would consist of representatives from industry, communities, government, environmental organizations and other key stakeholders said the State of the State.

“Improved cell phone coverage and broadband internet connections are important to the future of the Park’s communities,” Janeway said. “We are confident gaps can be bridged in ways that respect the Park’s wild character, while making the Park a model for efficient rural telecommunications.”

Other highlights of the Governor’s address important to the Adirondacks include:

  • Expansion of the state’s beverage container deposit law (litter/waste control);
  • A ban on single-use plastic shopping bags (litter/waste control);
  • A $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, including stewardship funds; and,
  • $55 million in new NYWorks capital funding for state environmental facilities.

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. The Council envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant communities. 

The Adirondack Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action to ensure the legacy of the Adirondack Park is safeguarded for future generations. Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.

For more information:

John Sheehan, Adirondack Council, 518-441-1340 cell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019

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