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Entries Tagged as 'pollution'

DEC Environmental Crimes Investigators Arrest Clinton Co. Man

February 3rd, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Charges Include Felony Endangering Public Health, Safety and the Environment

NYSDEC LogoAn investigation by State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Police resulted in the arrest of a Clinton County man on charges for illegally disposing of asbestos laden debris in a wetland, DEC announced today.

On January 29, 2015, investigators from the DEC Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation (BECI) charged Randy P. Bedard, 57, of Rouses Point, NY, with endangering the public health, safety or the environment in the 2nd degree, a Class D felony. Bedard was also charged with two misdemeanors; unlawful disposal of solid waste and unpermitted activity in a regulated wetland.

The investigation stemmed from the collapse of the former Drown Funeral Home on Route 11 in Mooers on January 11, 2014, and the subsequent removal of 150 cubic yards of debris. Bedard allegedly brought the asbestos laden debris to the Clinton County Solid Waste Management Facility and to an unpermitted disposal site on North Star Road in the Town of Mooers. The site on North Star Road is a regulated wetland.

Staff from DEC’s Solid Waste and Wetlands programs assisted BECI Investigators.

Bedard was arraigned in the Town of Mooers Criminal Court where he entered a plea of not guilty. He was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear before the court on February 12, 2015.

Report environmental crimes to the DEC 24 hour dispatch at 844-DEC-ECOS (844-332-3267).

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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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2012 State of the Lake Report Released for Lake Champlain

August 2nd, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Lake Champlain Basin ProgramGrand Isle, Vt – The Lake Champlain Basin Program’s 2012 State of the Lake and Ecosystem Indicators Report was released today. The report, produced every 3-4 years, informs citizens and resource managers about Lake Champlain’s condition and provides a better understanding of threats to its health and opportunities to meet the challenges ahead.

“We use scientific data to determine what kind of progress is being made on the management of Lake Champlain water quality and habitat health,” said Bill Howland, LCBP Program Manager. “Again, in 2012, we share both good and not so good news, depending on which issue and which lake segment is being discussed. Certainly the Lake is not meeting phosphorus concentratios targets, but each jurisdiction remains diligent and active in their efforts to decrease loads.”

The public is encouraged to request a copy of the report to learn more about Lake Champlain’s health. Highlights include:

Water Quality

  • Lake Champlain’s nonpoint source phosphorus target loads and in-lake concentratios are still too high.
  • Phosphorus trends in some tributaries are improving, such as the Pike River which flows through Quebec and Otter Creek in Vermont.
  • Some of the Lake Champlain embayments are generally meeting their phosphorus targets including Cumberland Bay, Burlington Bay, Shelburne Bay, South Lake B.
  • 2011 spring and fall floods boosted nutrient levels in most sections of the Lake to the highest annual average since the initiation of the Lake Champlain monitoring program in 1992.

Fish and Wildlife

  • Data collected in 2011 for sportfish in Lake Champlain reveal substantial declines in mercury levels in the tissue of walleye, lake trout and yellow perch. Fish mercury levels should continue to improve with newly issued US EPA regulations on mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.
  • New York State has lifted most special fish consumption advisories for Cumberland Bay (near Plattsburgh) due to reduced PCB concentrations. By monitoring fish tissue samples, NYSDEC has been able to track progress over time on the decreasing PCB levels.
  • Sea lamprey wounding on lake trout and Atlantic salmon has dropped to the lowest rates since monitoring began in 1985.
  • Nesting populations of double-crested cormorants have dropped 50%.
  • Scientists have documented recent changes in the biological communities of the Lake’s food web, such as declines in zooplankton populations. These can cause a ripple effect all the way up to the top predators. State and Federal partners conduct annual surveys of the open water fish communities. Data suggest that native rainbow smelt numbers are declining while alewife are becoming more abundant.
  • More than 1900 acres of wetland habitat has been restored or enhanced through the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program since 2009. This success was due to willing landowners working with federal and state partners and nongovernmental conservation groups including local watershed groups and Ducks Unlimited.

Invasive Species

  • In the southern portion of Lake Champlain, water chestnut populations have been reduced to their southernmost point since 1999, about 6.5 miles south of Benson, Vt. More than 200 acres were mechanically harvested in 2011.
  • Round goby, Asian clam, and spiny waterflea are three aquatic invasive species on the doorsteps to Lake Champlain. Anglers, boaters and other recreational users must all remain diligent in preventing the spread of invasive species.

Human Health

  • Cyanobacteria blooms remain a concern especially in Missisquoi Bay. Similar to other lakes around the world, cyanobacteria blooms continue to be a nuisance with human health implications.
  • While most days it is safe to swim in Lake Champlain, beach closures remain a concern in the Lake, particularly in the northeast arm.

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy said, “Lake Champlain, the jewel of New England, is one of Vermont’s most valuable assets and defining features. Vermonters depend on the lake, and the future of the lake depends on us. This report makes it clear that the lake has never been more important to us — as a world class fishery, as a boating and recreational resource, as our primary water source. But these findings also make clear that all of us in Quebec, New York and Vermont need to work harder toward better stewardship. We need prompt progress in cleaning up nutrient pollution, we need effective steps to thwart the new invasive species now on the lake’s threshold, and we must begin planning for and adapting to a changing climate, if we are going to conserve this cherished resource for today and tomorrow. The lake’s future is our legacy, and our responsibility.”

The 2012 State of the Lake and Ecosystem Indicators report is now posted on-line: www.lcbp.org/PDFs/SOL2012-web.pdf.

For further information, contact, the Lake Champlain Basin Program at (802) 372-3213.

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Adirondack Council Commemorates First Earth Day by Reducing Price of Carbon Retirement to $19.70

April 17th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Donation Prevents Three Tons of Real Carbon Emissions from Northeast Power Plants, Helps Organization Buy & Extinguish Government-Issued Pollution Rights

Adirondack CouncilALBANY, NY  – The only environmental organization in America to compete with power companies for carbon allowances at government-run carbon auctions is asking the public to help retire those allowances in celebration of Earth Day. The Adirondack Council announced today that it has lowered the price for retiring three tons of carbon from the normal $25, dropping it to $19.70 to commemorate the first Earth Day in 1970. For a tax-deductible contribution of $19.70, donors will receive an embossed Carbon Reduction Certificate commemorating the permanent retirement of three tons’ worth of allowances.

The organization has participated in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s only government-mandated carbon emissions reduction program, since its inception in 2008. Power companies must purchase one allowance for every ton of carbon they emit from their smokestacks.

A limited number of allowances are sold each year, and each year there are fewer allowances sold, reducing the amount of carbon that may be emitted. As allowances become scarce and the price rises, the incentive to clean up emissions increases.

RGGI was created four years ago by 10 Northeast states ranging from Maine to Maryland. RGGI sells allowances at auctions. Auction proceeds go back to the 10 states to fund clean energy and energy conservation programs.

Celebrate Earth Day - Purchase a Carbon Reduction CertificateThe Adirondack Council is the only environmental organization that competes against the power companies and purchases allowances at RGGI auctions. So far, the Council has purchased 14,000 allowances and has retired more than half of those via Carbon Reduction Certificates.

“Anyone who wants to help us can retire three tons of carbon by buying a Carbon Reduction Certificate,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director Brian L. Houseal. “Every carbon allowance we retire causes a one-ton reduction in the total amount carbon emissions allowed by the government.

“You can keep the certificate yourself, or give it to your favorite environmentalist,” he explained. “We are happy to personalize them. It’s a great way to do something real, meaningful and personal to reduce carbon emissions and fight against catastrophic climate change.

“You could bid at the auctions yourself, but the minimum lot size is 1,000 allowances,” Houseal said. “That just isn’t affordable for most individuals. We have thousands of members, so it was easier for us to get started.”Houseal said it was time the nation got started too.

“Over the past decade, the Adirondack Park has been battered by severe storms and record-breaking floods. Winter is now two weeks shorter than it used to be up here,” Houseal said. “Americans have to get serious about curbing the effects of climate change now. We would like to see RGGI become a national program, and then an international model for reducing greenhouse gas emissions quickly and inexpensively.”

RGGI was the first carbon-reduction program in the nation. California and several Midwest states are forming similar trading programs.

“Allowance trading has worked wonders in reducing acid rain, smog and fine particle emissions from power plants across the country,” he said. “It is our best hope for reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases without causing economic harm. Allowance trading gets the job done, and has already saved the power industry – and we customers — billions of dollars.”

All revenue from the Adirondack Council’s Carbon Reduction Certificates goes back into the Adirondack Council’s advocacy, public education and carbon-reduction programs. To make a contribution and receive a Carbon Reduction Certificate, people can call toll-free (877) 873-2240 or click here.

A national leader on acid rain and climate change, the Adirondack Council is a privately funded, not-for-profit organization founded in 1975. The Council is dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity and wild character of New York’s 9,300-square-mile Adirondack Park.

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.

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DEC Seeks Assistance in Oil Dumping Investigation in Jefferson County

July 28th, 2011 · No Comments · News

Oil From Transformers Dumped to Access Copper

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking information from the public throughout the north country and central New York relating to the draining of up to 4,000 gallons of transformer oil and the theft of copper from transformers at the former Deferiet Paper Mill located in the Village of Deferiet, Jefferson County.

4-inch diameter Copper Conduit CableCopper Buss BarDEC is investigating the deliberate dumping of the “non-PCB” transformer oil which was done to facilitate the theft of copper. In addition to copper wire, three inch-wide solid copper “Buss Bar” in various lengths, and four inch-diameter conduit which contained three one-half-inch twisted strands of copper wire were stolen. The oil release is believed to have occurred between June 16 and 29, 2011.

Brookfield Renewable Power owns the two transformers that were damaged. After discovering the release, Brookfield notified DEC. Cleanup efforts and an investigation began June 30, including efforts to keep the oil out of the Black River.

The investigation is being conducted jointly by the New York State Conservation Police and State Police.

Anyone with information regarding this theft and spill is urged to contact DEC Division of Law Enforcement on its tip hotline at 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332). Information pertaining to the sale of the large copper “Buss Bar” and copper wire would be extremely helpful. Brookfield Renewable Power has offered a $1,000 dollar reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in this crime. Callers may remain anonymous.

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Mercury Standard Will Reverse Damage to NY Lakes

March 17th, 2011 · No Comments · Adirondack News

US EPAThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed mercury standards for power plants are a major step in reversing the contamination of New York’s lakes, particularly in the Adirondacks.

In response to a court-ordered deadline, the EPA has proposed the first-ever national standards for mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollution from power plants. The new standards would require many power plants to install state-of-the-art pollution control technologies to cut harmful emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and gases that cause acid rain and smog.

“After 20 years of uncertainty, the federal government will now have the authority to regulate these toxic chemicals that have had such a devastating impact on the Adirondacks, Catskills and other natural areas,” said Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). “Because of the technology required to meet this standard, it will not only cut mercury contamination by 91 percent, it will also reduce fine particulate matter, low-level ozone and acidic precipitation.”

1,350 coal and oil-fired units at 525 power plants emitting mercury, arsenic, other toxic metals, acid gases, and organic air toxics including dioxin.

The proposed standard is the result of a 2008 U.S. Court of Appeals decision that threw out EPA’s Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR), a cap-and-trade program that allowed polluters to buy pollution credits and emit mercury without pollution controls. CAMR resulted in regional mercury “hot spots,” and recent studies have linked coal-fired power plants to mercury hot spots in the Adirondacks and Catskills. The appeals court ruled that CAMR conflicted with the clear language of the federal Clean Air Act, which requires each power plant to install the best pollution-control technology available to reduce mercury emissions.

The lawsuit was brought by a coalition of national health and environmental organizations. ADK was the only New York environmental group to participate in the lawsuit.

The Adirondacks and Catskills are downwind of numerous coal-burning power plants, whose mercury emissions contribute significantly to mercury pollution in these regions. A 2007 independent study by the Charles Driscoll and the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation estimated that mercury emissions from U.S. coal-fired power plants are responsible for 40 percent to 65 percent of mercury deposition in the Northeast.

Current levels of mercury deposition in the Northeast are four to six times higher than the levels recorded in 1900. Ninety-six percent of the lakes in the Adirondack region and 40 percent of the lakes in New Hampshire and Vermont exceed the recommended EPA action level for methyl mercury in fish.

Because of high mercury levels in fish from a number of reservoirs in the Catskills, state health officials have warned that infants, children under 15 and women of childbearing age should not eat any fish from these reservoirs. Mercury is also present in two-thirds of Adirondack loons at levels that negatively impact their reproductive capacity, posing a significant risk to their survival.

More information about the new APA mercury standard is available at: Reducing Toxic Air Emissions From Power Plants

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Leroy Douglas (Douglas Corp) Linkdump

January 4th, 2011 · 2 Comments · News

LeRoy Douglas (Douglas Corp) was just indicted and arraigned for environmental crimes. So many stories and angles, most missing details.

Map of Douglas Resort

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