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League of Conservation Voters, Adirondack Council Applaud Governor for Signing Invasive Species Bill

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League of Conservation Voters, Adirondack Council Applaud Governor for
Signing Invasive Species Bill

For more information:
John F. Sheehan
518-432-1770 (ofc)
518-441-1340 (cell)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. – The Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization and the New York League of Conservation Voters today applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing legislation to help the Adirondacks and its communities prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The Aquatic Invasive Species Act requires boaters to clean, drain and dry watercraft and gear when entering and leaving any public boat launch. The spread of invasive species threatens clean water, aquatic ecosystems, and the tourism-based economy of the Adirondacks.

The bill was sponsored by Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-Ithaca, and Sen. Thomas O’Mara, R-Big Flats. It was granted final legislative approval in June.

“The Adirondack Council supported this legislation,” said Adirondack Council Legislative Director Kevin Chlad. “With New York State being at the epicenter of invasive species infestations, it is crucial that we prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by requiring the decontamination of boats before launch. The commitment to pass this bill was impressive. The Assembly and Senate sponsors worked with a diverse group of supporters to get this bill passed.”

“New York needs all hands on deck to help fight invasive species in our state. This simple and commonsense law will help slow the spread of invasive species in the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes, Lake George, Lake Champlain and other beloved waterways across our state – without placing an unfair burden on boaters,” said Dan Hendrick, Vice President for External Affairs for the New York League of Conservation Voters. “We applaud Governor Cuomo and our state lawmakers for taking action, and we look forward to working with our state leaders to making even more progress on this critical issue in the future.”

However, regulation alone can’t do the job, Chlad explained. Local communities are already spending millions of dollars each year fighting the spread of invasive species.

“Next, what is needed most is a transformational increase in the state’s dedicated funding for invasive species research, education, prevention, eradication and management,” Chlad said. “Boat inspections, invasive species detection and decontamination cost money. It is money that would be well-spent, but we need to spend it soon to protect our lakes and rivers.”

Chlad noted that the Adirondack Council doesn’t accept public grants or taxpayer funded donations of any kind.

“This is money that would go to municipal governments and local lake stewards, not environmental organizations,” Chlad said. “It would help to lift some of the burden off of local property taxpayers. Protecting lakes and rivers is the state’s responsibility. The state should provide the funding needed to get the job done.”

Chlad said that invasive species funding would be a high priority for Adirondack Council in the 2015 Legislative Session.

The Adirondack Council is an independent, privately funded, not-for-profit organization, founded in 1975. The Council’s mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. The Council envisions an Adirondack Park comprised of large, core Wilderness areas, surrounded by working forests and farms and vibrant local communities. The Adirondack Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. Council members live in all 50 United States.

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