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Entries Tagged as 'environment'

2012 Extreme Year for Adirondacks

October 16th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

ADIRONDACK COUNCIL CALLS 2012 YEAR OF EXTREMES FOR PARK AS TROPICAL STORM, INVASIVE SPECIES HIT HARD WHILE MAJOR LAND PURCHASE IS BEST ADDITION TO ‘FORVER WILD’ PRESERVE IN CENTURY

USEPA Advances Clean Air Regulations, Court Strikes Them Down; Year of Highs and Lows Detailed in ‘State of the Park 2012’

Adirondack CouncilThe Adirondack Park was subjected to a barrage of extreme outside influences over the past 12 months, some of which devastated small communities and public natural resources, while others brought unprecedented good news to park residents and visitors, the Adirondack Council noted in its 2012 State of the Park report.

“Last fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo acted quickly to marshall state agencies to the aid of communities that were hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene,” said Adirondack Council Acting Executive Director Diane W. Fish. “In the process, however, damage was done to rivers and trout streams that will take great effort and substantial investments to repair.

“Then, this August, the Governor announced he would make the largest purchase of new public lands for the Adirondack Forest Preserve in history,” Fish said. “These lands are unique, biologically rich and vitally important to the park’s water quality and wildlife. They will be a lasting environmental legacy for the Governor and a big boost to local tourism.

“Still, budget cuts and expired terms of office are plaguing his environmental agencies, while his regional economic councils lack environmental representation,” she said. “On the whole, the Governor won more praise than criticism this year.”

State of the Park is a comprehensive, non-partisan, review of the actions of local, state and federal government officials that helped or harmed the Adirondack Park over the past year. It is issued by the Adirondack Council, a privately funded, not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. This illustrated, 18-page review is the Council’s 27th annual State of the Park report. A copy of the report is available online at AdirondackCouncil.org.

The Adirondack Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States (9,300 square miles). Unlike most American parks, it consists of both public and private land and contains 130 small villages and hamlets inside of 92 towns and 12 counties, with roughly 135,000 permanent residents. It also contains 2.7 million acres of “forever wild” Forest Preserve and most of the wilderness and old growth forest remaining in the Northeast.

The State Legislature earned praise for four progressive bills it passed by working across party lines. Among them was the state’s first law designed to slow the spread of invasive species, sponsored by Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chairman Bob Sweeney, D-Lindenhurst.

“This year, state officials confirmed that invasive species such as the Asian clam and spiny water flea have been found in Lake George and other popular water bodies, while feral pigs have been spotted digging up portions of Clinton County,” Fish said. “There are still large areas of the park that are not yet infested. We want to keep them that way.”

Also earning praise were: Sen. Environmental Conservation Committee Chairman Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo; Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome; Sen. Carl Marcellino, R-Syosset; Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, D-Forestburgh; Assemblyman Fred Thiele, I-Sag Harbor; and, Assemblyman David Gantt, D-Rochester; as well as the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, who declined to pass four Senate bills and a proposed Constitutional Amendment that could have harmed the park’s environment. As a House, the Assembly won only praise in the report.

Singled out for individual criticism were: Senator Little for three anti-wilderness bills aimed at increasing motorized traffic on the Forest Preserve; and, Sen. Pattie Ritchie, ROswegatchie and Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, for a bill that would allow 1,500-pound all-terrain-vehicles on public trails.

On the federal level, praise went to Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, and Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, for restoring funding for flood-warning gauges on Adirondack streams. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Schumer also helped to defeat a bill that would have prevented federal officials from implementing a new acid rain standard for power plants. The USEPA won praise for advancing new air pollution standards and the US Fish and Wildlife Service won favorable mentions for its work restoring trout streams and for nominating a rare native songbird (Bicknell’s thrush) for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, joined Schumer, Gillibrand and Owens in winning praise for his support of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The Adirondack Council – whose membership has expanded from just the Northeast to all 50 United States since its first State of the Park report was issued in 1986 – praised five out-of-state U.S. Senators for breaking with fellow Republicans in an otherwise party-line vote. Together, they defeated a bill that would have killed the new federal mercury regulations for power plants.

The Warren County Board of Supervisors won the highest praise for local governments in the report, for passing a local invasive species law that is much tougher than the state law passed this summer. Fines of $5,000 and up to 15 days in jail await anyone who introduces an aquatic invasive species into Lake George or the 20 other major water bodies in the county.

Local governments also made progress controlling all-terrain vehicle traffic on public lands; undertook major energy conservation and renewable energy development projects; and, rejected development plans deemed inappropriate for Peck’s Lake, near Gloversville.

The Department of Environmental Conservation made progress on invasive species this year, conducting a series of tourist-season roadblocks and vehicle inspections to stop thosewho might be carrying firewood into the park from other parts of the state that might be infested with invasive plants and insects such as the Emerald Ash Borer or Asian Longhorn Beetle.

The DEC also adopted new air quality standards that will better protect the park from acid rain and smog. It also destroyed its surplus of carbon allowances leftover from previous Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auctions, eliminating thousands of tons of carbon that otherwise would have been emitted by power plants in the 10-state RGGI region (Maine to Maryland).

The Adirondack Park Agency did improve the flawed resort project proposed for the ski hill outside of the Village of Tupper Lake, but its rules and regulations do not incorporate the latest science on water quality, wildlife and forest health. They have not been updated since 1971. Some of the rules can be changed by the agency. Others would require legislation.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman earned only praise in the report, focused on his work in defending new federal mercury standards, in defending the RGGI program and in seeking to compel federal officials to adopt tougher standards for emissions of soot from power plants.

Overall, it was an uneven year for court decisions, with six state and federal decisions favoring Adirondack conservation and four decisions that did harm to environmental protections.

Founded in 1975, the Adirondack Council is an independent advocate for the park. The organization doesn’t accept government grants or taxpayer-supported contributions of any kind. The Council does not endorse candidates for public office.

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DEC Accepting Applications for Environmental Excellence Awards

February 24th, 2011 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Annual Competition Will Recognize Innovative and Sustainable Practices

NYSDEC LogoApplications are now being accepted for the 2011 Environmental Excellence Awards program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The program recognizes businesses, governments, not-for-profit organizations, educational institutions, and individuals in New York State that are achieving environmental excellence through innovative and environmentally sustainable practices or partnerships.

DEC is especially interested in acknowledging projects that achieve significant environmental benefits through: innovative and cutting-edge pollution prevention technologies; manufacturing process improvements; initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; projects using green infrastructure practices; programs that make schools and businesses more “green;” energy conservation and green energy production efforts; waste reduction and recycling efforts; innovative approaches to stormwater management and watershed planning; environmental protection and restoration efforts; and land conservation.

Previous award winners have helped improve New York’s environment through initiatives that have eliminated 2.10 million pounds of hazardous waste, saved 26 million kilowatt hours of electricity; reduced water use by 15 million gallons, recycled 382.5 million pounds of solid waste, and preserved 149,000 acres of open space.

Applications for the awards must be post marked no later than Friday, May 20, 2011. Information about the award program, the application materials and information on past award winners is available on the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/public/945.html; or by writing to:

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Pollution Prevention Unit
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1750

Or by phone to DEC’s Pollution Prevention Unit at (518) 402-9469; or by email to eeawards@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

Examples of previous winners include:

The Golden Arrow Resort in Lake Placid instituted green programs on a variety of fronts to reduce the environmental impact not only of the hotel, but also of the traveler. The resort features a “green roof” – a rooftop expanse of native plants that provides wildlife habitat, reduces water runoff and helps keep the inn warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The limestone beach reduces the impacts of acid rain.  Guest rooms feature in-room recycling, insulated windows, energy-efficient lighting and low-flow plumbing fixtures.

Garlock Sealing Technologies of Palmyra voluntarily eliminated 119 tons of toluene emissions in the manufacturing of fiber sheet gaskets. By using a non-hazardous solvent to produce a viable product, they provided the industry with a new benchmark for environmentally responsible manufacturing practices. The new gasket is being made at a comparable price and seals even better than its solvent-containing predecessors. This has additional benefits for the environment since tighter seals mean less fugitive emissions and a healthier work environment for employees. Other highlights of this innovative pollution prevention project include a reduction of fire risk and the ability to recover and recycle over 95 percent of the non-hazardous solvent.

Monroe Industries in Livingston County exemplifies how a small, family-owned business of nine employees, can achieve environmental excellence, serve as a model of innovation and sustainability, and enter emerging markets for green products. The company custom manufactures cast-polymer countertops, shower walls and floors, and vanity tops. Traditionally these products are made with a variety of mined minerals and gemstones, such as granite and quartz and are typically mixed with a liquid polyester resin and binder. While developing the Robal Glass product line, Monroe identified a supplier of bio-based resins which resulted in a more sustainable product. This innovative product line uses 60,000 lbs. of recycled glass each year.

Town of North Hempstead was honored for a groundbreaking recycling partnership program involving 8 of the 11 school districts within the Town.  More than 28,000 students have been involved with this comprehensive recycling program. Each classroom in every participating school maintains statistical records of the recyclables collected. As a result, students are becoming environmental stewards; taxpayers are saving money, school districts are receiving the benefit of a worthwhile service they otherwise would have to pay for and 279 tons of material has been diverted from landfills.

2011 Application Brochure (PDF)

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A Green Hotel Tour

April 30th, 2010 · No Comments · News

“A Green Hotel Tour with Co-owner Jenn Holderied”

What does a Green Hotel Room Look Like?

Making money in hotels is as much about good marketing as it is about efficient operations. “Sustainable”, “Environmentally-friendly”, “Green”….whatever you want to call it, if done right it’s simply “Smart”. So if your curious about how the Greenest Resort in North America does it, here’s your chance.

Green Hotel Room

The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, Lake Placid, NY
Thursday May 20, 3:30pm, in the Lobby at 2559 Main Street

All hotel owners, managers, staff, tourism officials, planners, and the public are invited to attend. Refreshments provided. Admission is free. Presented by ADKCAP.

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Lawsuits – The latest Adirondack process

January 13th, 2010 · 3 Comments · News

The Adirondacks - Our Great National PlaygroundFollowing the news of the Adirondack Council suing the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), I mentioned to someone that lawsuits are quickly becoming a norm in any regulatory process in the Adirondacks. Seems like there could be a better way to get things done. Two hostile parties rarely reach mutually satisfying results.

Well, another one just dropped into my mailbox:

Adirondack Groups Sue State to Protect Wilderness Lake

ALBANY, N.Y. — The Adirondacks’ leading conservation groups, the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) and Protect the Adirondacks! (PROTECT), filed a lawsuit Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Albany to force the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) to adhere to state law and classify a state-owned wilderness canoe route in the heart of the Adirondacks.

“We are forced to seek redress in the courts because, despite the best efforts of many different parties, our state agencies failed to settle some important matters regarding implementation of the State Land Master Plan,” said David Gibson, executive director of PROTECT “We go to court for all state-owned waters in the Forest Preserve, not merely to settle the classification of Lows Lake. Classification drives management direction. We seek better direction about how to manage wild waters in the Forest Preserve for the benefit of people in the central Adirondacks, visitors from all across the country and Canada and many more who may never paddle these waters, but who nonetheless appreciate the way they are managed for future generations.”

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A Motorless Movement

June 3rd, 2008 · 3 Comments · News

The NYS DEC announced the formation of an interagency “Quiet Waters Working Group for the Adirondack Park”.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis and Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Chairman Curt Stiles today announced the formation of an interagency “Quiet Waters Working Group for the Adirondack Park.” The working group will evaluate lakes, ponds and rivers in the Park for potential designation as “quiet water,” meaning that motorized craft would be prohibited.

The working group will be comprised of staff from DEC and APA, and will actively solicit input from local officials, community groups, outfitters, sportsmen, and other stakeholders.

Alright everyone, form a circle, join your hands, and let’s do some inputting!

“There are too few places in the Adirondacks where paddlers can experience the tranquility of a motorless water body,” Commissioner Grannis said. “With the increasing popularity of paddling, DEC wants to explore the possibility of expanding ‘quiet waters’ opportunities. This is part of our effort to increase opportunities for all recreational users of the Adirondacks. DEC is committed to involving local communities, outfitters, sportsmen and paddlers in this process.”

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Holy Erosion Batman!

April 9th, 2007 · No Comments · Adirondack Life

Yellow Submarine

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Adirondack Environment Battle on The Tube

April 4th, 2007 · No Comments · Adirondack Life

I’m guessing pbauer666 is not actually Peter Bauer.

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