The Adirondack Council reserved its highest praise for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation, while offering criticism to the federal government and State Senate in its 23rd Annual “State of the Park” report. The publication tracks the actions of local, state and federal officials who helped or hurt the ecological health or wild beauty of the Adirondack Park over the past 12 months.
A non-partisan environmental research, education and advocacy organization based in the Adirondack Park, the Adirondack Council is funded solely through private donations. It doesn’t accept government grants or taxpayer-funded contributions of any kind. The Council does not endorse candidates for public office.
The report is released each year before Election Day, to provide objective, non-partisan information on current public policy decisions to Adirondack Council members in all 50 United States, and to voters in New York State. The illustrated, 24-page, color magazine-style report is available for free from the Council by calling 1-877-873-2240 or can be viewed and printed for free online at www.adirondackcouncil.org.
“Attorney General Andrew Cuomo continued the tradition of his predecessors in fighting for cleaner air and for emissions reductions from smokestacks that cause acid rain and climate change,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director Brian L. Houseal. “He has worked to clean up New York utilities like Rochester Gas and Electric in addition to taking on Midwestern polluters such as American Electric Power. He has also lead multi-state efforts to sue the federal government when it has not acted to protect clean air.
“DEC Commissioner Grannis and his agency won the most praise, including accolades for the purchase of additional Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondacks, for tackling the issue of invasive species and for proposing to eliminate the practice of open burning of garbage,” Houseal explained. “The federal government was tied for the lowest rating,” he said. “We were disappointed with EPA’s inaction on limits for greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, with the US Senate’s vote on a climate change bill and with the Executive budget proposal to, yet again, slash funding for vital acid rain monitoring programs.”
“The New York State Senate improved upon its rating from last year, but still has a long way to go,” noted Houseal. “It is still not supporting critical programs such as expanding the bottle bill and strictly limiting the state’s carbon emissions, while it continues to encourage destructive activities such as all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use.”
The Adirondack Council also praised a host of local Adirondack environmental initiatives in the report’s “Tip of the Hat” section, offering encouragement to the Lake George Waterkeeper, Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (Keene Valley), Wild Center (Tupper Lake), International Paper (Ticonderoga), Brandreth Park Association (Long Lake), Adirondack Watershed Institute (Paul Smiths), Adirondack Nature Conservancy (Keene Valley), Adirondack North Country Association (Saranac Lake), Lake George Land Conservancy (Bolton Landing) and Audubon New York (Albany).
The 9,300-square-mile Adirondack Park is the largest American park outside of Alaska. Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Glacier National Parks would all fit inside its borders, with room left for Rhode Island. The Park is a patchwork of public and private lands, divided almost equally across the landscape, allowing more than 100 small communities to thrive alongside the state’s best-protected wild lands and waters. Its public lands have been protected from logging, sale and development by the NYS Constitution since 1894. Its private lands are managed under the Adirondack Park Agency’s land-use plan, established in 1973.
Founded in 1975, the Adirondack Council is headquartered in Elizabethtown, Essex County, and operates a media and government relations office one block from the Empire State Plaza government complex in Albany.