Thursday, November 7, 2013

Peter Bauer:
Reflections on the Vote to Sell 200 Acres of Forest Preserve

Article 14, Section 1 - croppedMuch is already being made about the great victory in passing Proposition 5 – the controversial Constitutional Amendment known as Proposition 5 that was approved by New Yorkers on November 5, 2013 to sell 200 acres of forever wild Forest Preserve in the Jay Mountain Wilderness to NYCO Minerals, Inc., a mining company that plans to incorporate it into its adjacent open pit mine.

I believe that some who are jubilant now will come to rue this day. If Forever Wild can’t be saved from the jaws of a mining company to be clearcut, blasted and mined, then when can it be saved?

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) and the Adirondack Council are crowing loudly about their victories on Proposition 4, the Township 40 land title dispute resolution, and Proposition 5, even touting a new alignment in Adirondack politics. The Adirondack Council sent a missive to its members about a new “Adirondack Council way” after the November 5th votes. This seems like a real stretch given their narrow victory on Prop 5. The gloating is also troubling given the lack of accolades for the enormous work by the Township 40 landowners to tell their story and promote Prop 4. Given that there was nary a peep of opposition to Prop 4, it’s remarkable that ADK and the Council are blowing their horns so loudly, and most uncharitably to those who worked the hardest to win Prop 4.

Prop 4 passed by a big margin (72% – 27%) and by over 1 million votes (1,651,043 – 622,600 according to the numbers reported late November 6th on the NYS Board of Elections website). Supporters of Proposition 4 won in a landslide.

If one was to crow about the effectiveness of unity across the political spectrum and among Adirondack conservation groups, then there is certainly a case to be made around the success of Prop 4. Unity wins in a landslide.

A 72% victory is a big deal. The lasting lesson about Prop 4 could be that it is an example, perhaps the best in recent years, of total unity across the political spectrum and that this unity delivered a resounding victory.

Prop 5 tells a different story.

The crowing by the ADK and the Adirondack Council around Prop 5 is funny given the narrow scope of their victory. The Council and ADK won 53% of the vote, but  the victory of Prop 5 was built on a temporary coalition with the unions (with a big assist from the pro-casino efforts) and lots of mining company money. ADK and the Council don’t mention those facts as they celebrate.

Prop 5 passed by a narrow margin 53% – 47% (1,204,966 – 1,066,742). Yes, NYCO will get to buy 200 acres of Forest Preserve and the winners get to boast, but in the larger context of a vision for the Adirondack Park this is clearly a split decision. Any talk by ADK or the Adirondack Council of an endorsement of their vision for the Adirondacks by New Yorkers should be qualified that only 53% of New Yorkers endorse that vision.

Before we look at the long-term impacts of selling a piece of the Forest Preserve, it’s instructive to take a look at the actual numbers of the November 5th vote. They tell a very different story from the immediate spin of the Council and ADK about what pushed Proposition 5 over the top.

One important question is: Why did Proposition 5 pass by such a smaller margin than Proposition 4?

Over 620,000 New Yorkers voted no on Prop 4 and over 1,066,000 voted no on Prop 5. What moved 440,000 New Yorkers to switch their votes and vote no on Prop 5?

Note that 2,271,708 voted on Prop 5 and 2,273,643 voted on Prop 4; very close. It’s reasonable to conclude that people who cared on some level about the Forest Preserve voted on both propositions. Yet, 440,000 voters shifted from voting yes on Prop 4 to voting no on Prop 5.

What was it about Prop 5 that moved 440,000 New Yorkers to the “no” column from the “yes” column? It seems there were 620,000 no voters on Prop 4 who had openly rejected the advice and advocacy of all the Adirondack green groups and others to vote yes to resolve the Township 40 land disputes. This block likely voted no on Prop 5 too. Yet some 440,000 New Yorkers were moved to vote no on Prop 5 after, likely, voting yes on Prop 4. Why did these voters, in essence, split their tickets between Props 4 and 5?

I think the story of these 440,000 voters is found in who supported or opposed the different propositions. There are some key factors that I believe minimized the shift from Prop 4 yes to Prop 5 no.

Local government, state leaders, state government, Adirondack green groups, and most state green groups solidly backed Proposition 4. There was zero opposition. Every public official and group that supported Proposition 4 also supported Proposition 5 with some notable exceptions.

The difference with Proposition 5 was that NYCO/Behan Communication and the unions were actively engaged in supporting it, while Protect the Adirondacks, Adirondack Wild, and the Sierra Club, among others (NRDC, Atlantic States Legal Foundation, John Davis, Bill Ingersoll, Catskill Mountainkeeper), were actively engaged in opposing Prop 5.

By all rights, Prop 5 should have cruised to approval by the same margins as Prop 4. The difference, of course, is that Prop 5 was actively opposed.

Two factors more than any others seemed to have been decisive for pushing Prop 5 over the top. The first was the union voter turnout efforts. Upstate and Long Island counties where unions are strong (Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk) all saw big yes vote wins for Prop 5, much larger than most other counties in the state outside of the Adirondacks. I expected to lose most of Upstate counties narrowly outside of Tompkins and Ulster counties and a few others. With the union efforts we got royally stomped in the big union counties. In the days leading up to November 5th, I saw a path to victory where we’d win New York City by a large enough margin to beat losses Upstate and on Long Island. In the end, the New York City edge was minimal, largely due to the union voter outreach.

In New York City, Kings and New York counties saw more no votes on Prop 5, but the margins were not enormous. Queens and Richmond counties were nearly 50-50, while Bronx County saw more yes votes. Yet, in all these counties Prop 4 won really big. In New York County, Prop 4 was lopsidedly approved 132,000 – 41,000, while Prop 5 was voted down 94,000 – 77,000.

Friends and PROTECT members who live in New York City called me in the last days before the election and on Election Day about union voter outreach efforts that paired Prop 1 (the casino amendment) and Prop 5. This seems to have had the impact of suppressing the New York City Prop 5 no votes and stabilizing the yes vote. The union voter outreach efforts clearly worked. (One could also make an argument that spin-off casino voters helped pass Prop 5.)

In addition to the union voters, Behan Communications was very effective. They organized lots of favorable press (see an example here where the reporter never even stated he was part of an official NYCO tour), amplified endorsements and built an active web presence. NYCO invested a lot of money to make its case. Initial reports showed $400,000 in expenditures by NYCO and additional reports will come out in the weeks ahead that add to this figure. The work of Behan Communications was certainly well paid, but it was also formidable, and when combined with the union voter outreach efforts, proved decisive.

While the Adirondack Council and ADK are trumpeting a big victory on Prop 5, they benefited enormously from NYCO’s enormous financial investments and union voter outreach. Given that these factors were decisive in the election at suppressing no votes on Prop 5, I see claims by the Adirondack Council and ADK that Prop 5 shows an endorsement of their visions as flimsy.

ADK and the Adirondack Council benefited enormously from NYCO’s money and union voter outreach. These are hardly staple factors in Adirondack Park politics that will create a fundamental new alignment. Prop 5 was won by an effective, yet temporary coalition.

No matter how you spin it, this is a split decision. Any claim to leadership for a vision for the Adirondacks based on the Prop 5 vote is simply not credible. 53% is hardly a mandate for an overriding vision.

Protect the Adirondacks and the other groups who worked against Prop 5, were on the short end of the Prop 5 vote. This loss hurts, no doubt about it. But given the David-and-Goliath nature of this contest (and believe me I thought our slingshots had a chance to win it), we won a split decision.

On a much bigger issue the Adirondack Park lost in a really big way on November 5th. And this hurts even more. Passage of Prop 5 inflicts deep injury to Forever Wild and our vaunted Constitutional protections for the Forest Preserve.

When I look down the road at what the passage of Prop 5 means in the short- and long-terms, two things strike me.

In the short-run the big winner is NYCO Minerals, Inc. It stands to make lots of money from buying 200 acres of Forest Preserve.

In the long-run the big loser is the Forever Wild Forest Preserve. It will now face sustained troubled waters. Pandora’s Box has been opened.

The threats to Forever Wild are many and they are serious. The success of Prop 5 will embolden those who want a piece of the Forest Preserve or those who want to change it. The Common Ground Alliance’s signature success is the Adirondack Futures project. The majority of “futures” envisioned by this project involve ending or limiting Forever Wild. Adirondack Futures is managing a working group on a new land swap proposal that will streamline constitutional amendments. Undoubtedly, they are overjoyed by the passage of Prop 5.

In the months ahead, the Adirondack Park Agency will seek to expand clearcutting opportunities and streamline its rules and regs to make big clearcuts easier on private forestlands. A Wilderness classification for the former Finch lands around the Essex Chain Lakes is off the table at the APA and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as they map-out different options for a baby-Canoe area, Primitive area or a Wild Forest area all crisscrossed with road-sized snowmobile trails. If you think that the Boreas Lodge on Boreas Ponds will ever be torn down, keep dreaming.

The success of Prop 5 will embolden the Cuomo Administration and the APA and DEC to push even harder to rollback environmental protections for the Adirondack Park.

During the past 40 years, the Adirondack Park has experienced a number of profound environmental successes, from regional planning laws to the purchase and protection of nearly 1.4 million acres of Forest Preserve and conservation easements. Moose wandered back in and established a resident population. Turkeys and ravens, once scarce, now flourish. Bucking dominant national population trends for rural areas, the Park population has been mostly up through these decades. While over 36,000 new buildings were constructed since 1973 under APA zoning, there still remains in the Adirondacks a significant extensive core of intact forests unlike anywhere else east of the Mississippi River.

In the years ahead, many will come to rue this close vote on November 5, 2013. We’ll look back and see that the NYCO amendment marked the end of a period of sustained environmental protection and ushered in a new era of sustained environmental loss.

November 5, 2013 is hardly a day to celebrate.


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Peter Bauer is the Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks. He has been working in various capacities on Adirondack Park environmental issues since the mid-1980s, including stints as the Executive Director of the Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and FUND for Lake George as well as on the staff of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century. He was the co-founder of the Adirondack Lake Assessment Program (ALAP) in 1998, which has collected long-term water quality data on more than 75 Adirondack lakes and ponds. He has testified before the State Legislature, successfully advocated to pass legislation and budget items, authored numerous articles, op-eds, and reports such as "20% in 2023: An Assessment of the New York State 30 by 30 Act" (2023), "The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010" (2019), "The Myth of Quiet, Motor-free Waters in the Adirondack Park" (2013), and "Rutted and Ruined: ATV Damage on the Adirondack Forest Preserve" (2003) and "Growth in the Adirondack Park: Analysis of Rates and Patterns of Development" (2001). He also worked at Adirondack Life Magazine. He served as Chair of the Town of Lake George Zoning Board of Appeals and has served on numerous advisory boards for management of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve. Peter lives in Blue Mountain Lake with his wife, has two grown children out in the world, and enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the Adirondacks, and is a member of the Blue Mountain Lake volunteer fire department.Follow Protect the Adirondacks on Facebook and Threads.

62 Responses

  1. ADKinLA says:

    I am all in favor of protecting ADK land now and in the future but where is there any evidence of that this is the intent going forward?

    “The success of Prop 5 will embolden the Cuomo Administration and the APA and DEC to push even harder to rollback environmental protections for the Adirondack Park.”

    Any future swaps are subject to the same constitutional processes so Cuomo/APA cannot act unilaterally. I would be much more concerned about the cavalier attitude demonstrated in rebuilding Johns Brook after Irene and those actions than anything suggested by Prop 5. Just my two cents.

  2. Peter says:

    Emily Dickinson already wrote the response to this commentary.

    “How public like a frog
    To tell one’s name the livelong day
    To an admiring bog!”

    The tools of the environmental movement in the 1970’s no longer hold true. Shouting at the governor, the DEC, and the APA from afar, claiming that they will now be emboldened to “push even harder to rollback environmental protections for the Adirondack Park” simply no longer works. The broader environmental movement (not driven by ego) has learned that dialogue works better than diatribes. And croaking that the sky is falling (“Pandora’s box has been opened…..We’ll look back and see that the NYCO amendment marked the end of a period of sustained environmental protection and ushered in a new era of sustained environmental loss.”) might be good for the admiring bog, but it undermines actual results.

    Developing humility is a difficult thing for some, but it is particularly important when it comes to sensitive issues. In this particular column, the unrestrained ego is clearly a dangerous thing; and nobody on Protects board of trustees should underestimate the damage of insulting Governor Cuomo, the APA, and the DEC all at once. Or does the board, too, believe that publicly insulting these groups with blanket assumptions is an effective tool for progress.

    I don’t work for the government and I don’t work for the Council, but if I did, I’d simply check Protect off the list of who I’d listen to. It’s too bad, because the environment of the park needs as many advocates as it can get.

    • Matt says:

      In so many ways: PROTECT=TEA PARTY

      • Running George says:

        So we’re supposed to cower and kneel before Cuomo, the DEC and the DEC… and this will get us what?

        As for the Adirondack Council… they are sounding more like the Chamber of Commerce than an advocacy group for the Adirondacks!

    • Avon says:

      Having an editor would benefit this article; it took 7 paragraphs just to ask why many voters came to opposite conclusions on Prop 5 and Prop 4. (And it never did get around to mentioning that the voters might have decided on the basis of the merits of the propositions, as opposed to tactical campaign reasons.)

      But toning down one’s argument never seems to win votes. I don’t favor insulting the people who will decide my fate, but you’ve still gotta speak the truth to the powers that be, or you’ll never progress.

      I don’t read the article as a plea to kowtow to Cuomo. But I doubt he takes offense that easily; he’s a bulldozer.

      I live in NYC. In my opinion, the factor that most led City folk to vote for Prop 5 was likely the NYTimes editorial last week that, in three sentences, declared Prop 5 a boon for the wilderness, mentioning that the restored NYCO land would be returned to the Preserve – but never mentioning that the mine would be open rather than deep-bore, or what future a reclaimed open pit has. (Less than 10% of NYC is union members, and I think tabloid readers or local-TV viewers were far less likely than NYTimes readers to cast votes either way on these propositions.)

      Responsible voters educate themselves on the merits of an issue before they vote. That’s the reason Prop4 won more easily than Prop5 in New York City.

    • Laura says:

      Peter, Those who were hired by NYCO to market Prop 5 spun a campaign based on fear mongering abt lost jobs which wasn’t true & promises of add’l lands that actually may or may not be available & the amount of acreage is actually unknown. NYCO isn’t going anywhere but regrettably the “Forever Wild” status left the Park on Tuesday. It’s extremely unfair to attack the environmental groups that actually stood up to corporate influence & did the right thing! Someday the truth will come out & people will be outraged but the damage can’t be undone! The ADK Park is “Forever Wild” no more!!!

  3. James says:

    Article 14 has been amended about 20 times now and it’s stronger than ever. This amendment wasn’t building a new ski resort or a road to the top of a mountain.

    And it’s still just 200 acres of 2.6 million acre preserve that will be growing for the foreseeable future.

  4. Matt says:

    Lots of rhetoric here. Of course, doubling down on ideology at the expense of good public policy is what recently shut down our government. You might think we could learn, but activists of all stripes tend to do funny things sometimes.

    All the people of New York today and in the future are well served by passage of prop 5(as for the casino prop, I’m not so sure). The tired old precedent/slippery slope argument simply isn’t one. Doomsday predictions only ring hollow. The people of New York can think for themselves Peter, and more land will now be protected FOREVER. This was a tough decision because it required much of our hearts AND our minds. We made the right call.

  5. Richard says:

    “53% is hardly a mandate for an overriding vision.”

    Well, 47% is even less so. The decision of the voters seems pragmatic given this particular set of circumstances. I am glad the proposition passed, that the operations will continue and perhaps even thrive, and that the area will be “reclaimed” when operations are finished….no open scars remaining in perpetuity. What’s not to like?

  6. Brian says:

    Wow, a lot of mean-spirited vitriol from Peter Bauer directed against a lot of thoughtful people (in the Adirondacks and elsewhere) who dared to disagree with him on Prop #5. This piece really makes me wonder about Protect. Mr. Bauer needs to leaven his spirited advocacy with a little humility when the people of New York disagree with him.

    Unlike Peter Bauer, I took the disparity in the size of the “Yes” votes for Props 4 & 5 to be an encouraging sign that the voters of New York State actually thought about the content of the two Propositions before they voted.

    Prop #4 was a relative no-brainer compared to Prop #5. So, the fact that some folks (maybe 440,000) voted for #4 and against #5 indicates to me that many people had some legitimate qualms about the details of the NYCVO deal. If this were an easy decision we wouldn’t still be talking about it.

    Although I live in one of the hated 5 Boroughs I’ve spent my entire adult life exploring the lakes and trails of the Adirondacks at every opportunity throughout the year. So, I’m conscious of the fact that we “flat landers” place an undue burden on the year-round residents of the North Country when we insist that the “forever wild” restriction in the State Constitution must be interpreted so strictly as to prohibit any flexibility whatsoever in its application. The NYCO case strikes me as a (relatively rare) fact situation where we need to temper our desire to maintain an absolutely pristine forest preserve the use and enjoyment of all New Yorkers, by considering the economic imperatives of local residents of the Adirondacks to secure those scarce employment opportunities in this region that still pay a living wage.

    • Avon says:

      I too live in the City, but my heart is in the High Peaks. I just don’t buy that 200 jobs mining 5 years of wollastonite make for an employment boon, either in quality or in quantity. And it’s nonsense that putting those 200 jobs in the Preserve instead of nearby (as NYCO said they’d do if Prop 5 failed) helps any workers at all.

      The prison industry has pretty much proved that paying 5% of the state to lock up another 5% of the state produces nothing of real value – and that house of cards collapses if we (gasp) reduce the crime rate. We need better jobs.

      If the economic situation warranted Prop 5 now, then how much of the Preserve would we need to rip up if the economic situation worsens? There’s a limit, folks, and it’s 6 million acres … when that’s gone, we’ll have to come up with an alternative anyway.

      People need permanent, Green, safe jobs. There’s plenty of stuff that needs to be done. Let’s work on that.

      • Laura says:

        Just a small clarification. NYCO was claiming 100 jobs would be lost which was not at all true. They would have possibly have been lost in 25 yrs. which is the life of their current operations. That doesn’t include the 404 acres of the Oak Hill mine that they haven’t requested permitting for yet or any of the other land they own in the immediate area that most likely has Wollastonite under it. They are currently removing Caprock & are permitted for 51 acres on the Oak Hill piece. How much Wollastonite is under the other 404 acres. The last time they attempted the same land grab in 1981, it was voted down. In all likelihood, if Behan Communications didn’t do such a good job of spinning the story for NYCO implying things that just aren’t true, the people of NYS would have voted it down w/a resounding NO! The bottom line is that NYCO is part of a big global conglomerate that engages in mineral extraction globally. They would have been crazy to not attempt a land grab for easily removed product! Hence the need to bring in a high priced marketing firm to spin the story. Truly unfortunate that Behan Comm. did a great spin job causing the good people of NYS to kick the “Forever Wild” designation of the ADK Park down the road. This will open the door for many others intent on exploiting the park to seek the same preferential treatment.

  7. I can’t remember the last time I had so many phone calls from downstate friends. asking for clarification on Adirondack issues – in this case Prop 4 and 5. I suspect that you would not agree with my responses. I suggested that 4 was a “no-brainer” and was worthy of their vote. I also told them that Prop 5 seemed to be drawing an equal amount of support and criticism from the environmental organizations that I pay attention to (including yours). Some of those organizations strike me as more pragmatic, and while they too focus on protecting the natural assets inside the blue line, they also understand that there is a population here that needs to make a living. You seem to lose site of that frequently, whether it be construction of a building, or a windmill, or a cell tower. I think the voters on #5 came down on the side of pragmatic development with the accompanying employment opportunities (explaining union support, with state oversight and reclamation of the affected area (I know not to your satisfaction). We all love the Adirondacks, and we all appreciate what you stand for. Sometimes, however you need to compromise, and the voters did exactly that.

    • Laura says:

      JC, I’m sorry that NYCO’s spinmasters Behan Comm. succeeding in getting you to believe their sad tale of jobs lost. It was a fairy tale. No jobs would have been lost for at least 25 yrs. I wish folks would have read NYCO’s 25 yr. plan that is on file w/NYS. I doubt that many who voted for this project would have had they known the truth. The environmental groups who took the stand for the park, PROTECT, ADK Wild, Sierra Club, NRDC, etc should be commended for not being sucked in by the promise of 1,500 acres being added to the park. Even the ADK Council admits in the letter of thanks sent out on Wed. that it was a poorly worded document. There is no set amt. of land & if NYCO decides after they do test borings on Lot 8 that they don’t want to proceed, which is highly unlikely, it appears in this poorly worded legislation that they don’t even have to do any reclamation, just deed the same amt of land as that which was destroyed & ten there will be no other land added. The above orgs took the time to really study the issue & make an educated decision to not support it. I can’t speak to the motivations for several groups to support it but it wasn’t to support what is best for the ADK Park. They will rue the day that they made this very ill-conceived decision! That you can take to the bank!!!

  8. Henrietta Jordan says:

    More thoughts on Prop 5, prompted by Peter’s comments.

    As a former legislator, I know only too well how the political process is swayed by private interests and how lawmakers who try to stand up to them are often swept away. So, while I understand that that process of amending Article 14 was deliberately made difficult by its framers, I also fear that an intense lobbying effort bankrolled by private interests with much to gain will succeed in convincing legislators that the public benefits of jobs, development, economic vitality, etc. (not to mention funds for re-election campaigns) should be placed above the public benefits of wilderness, clean water, unfragmented habitat, carbon sequestration and the healing of the human spirit offered by the Forest Preserve. And at the personal level, it can be a very difficult and impassioned debate, particularly when families feel that they are driven out of a community they love because well-paying employment opportunities are scarce.

    I was traveling in the New York City area during the week before the election and heard countless radio ads supporting Prop 5—it was astonishing how thoroughly they saturated the airwaves. Striking to me was how they framed the issue, describing it only as a question of whether to expand the Forest Preserve for the good of all New Yorkers. No mention of local jobs, economic vitality, or the fact that Prop 5 involved a land swap. Listening to these ads, I reflected on how easy it is to buy public opinion—or at least, frame a debate so that one side of the question is the only one heard.

    I fear we live in a very different world than when other amendments to Article 14 were proposed, and in many cases, defeated. Private interests have an unprecedented ability to dominate the media—now a diverse blend of print, broadcast, Internet, and social networks, but at the same time more homogeneous with fewer newspapers, fewer reporters, and fewer original sources of information. As natural resources become depleted, there will be increasing pressure on us to allow exploitation of the ones that remain. The debate over fracking is an interesting case in point. If natural gas reserves were found under the Forest Preserve (unlikely, at least in the Adirondacks), would we find ourselves once again voting whether to amend Article 14? As rising sea levels render more and more coastal regions uninhabitable, will we find ourselves beseeched by climate refugees to open wilderness areas to settlement?

    These questions may seem silly, but my point is this: we have little knowledge of what the future will bring and what questions we will be forced to decide in advancing the public interest. If we want to make good on Article 14’s promise of perpetuity and a Forest Preserve that endures for our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and their children (as our great-grandparents did for us), we need to keep the bright line of “forever wild” clear and uncompromised. In the long run, it matters less that Prop 5 passed than that the organizations created to protect it rededicate themselves to its survival as long as the winds blow through the Adirondacks and its rivers run.

    • Laura says:

      So very well said! That is the message that was attempted to get out to the people. Those who were really concerned about the future of the ADK Park staying “Forever Wild” and really understood what was being proposed & what was at stake voted no. It’s understandable with the rhetoric presented by NYCO’s PR team that many voted in favor. It wasn’t their fault. They were successfully misled!!!

  9. Charlie S says:

    Richard says: I am glad the proposition passed, that the operations will continue and perhaps even thrive, and that the area will be “reclaimed” when operations are finished….no open scars remaining in perpetuity. What’s not to like?

    The land will never be the same Richard once the mining company moves out.No matter how many trees they plant once they pack up their gear and leave that scarred landscape to the state it will never be what it was. For one… the fertility of the soil will be much diminished so that new trees will never have the potential that some of those (supposed) old growth trees had to reach the mature state they are now in. THAT SOIL WILL NEVER BE THE SAME! Henrietta is right on par with my thinking on this matter and she expressed it better than I could have and I thank her for that.
    I’d be willing to bet that a large chunk of the people who voted on this proposition had no idea what is was all about,or what was at stake. I think it is a very sad affair that this mining company won.But then who am I? Just another peon who can think for himself and is very concerned what is happening to what remains of the precious ecosystems on this planet earth.

  10. Charlie S says:

    Brian says: Wow, a lot of mean-spirited vitriol from Peter Bauer directed against a lot of thoughtful people (in the Adirondacks and elsewhere) who dared to disagree with him on Prop #5.

    Where do you get mean-spirited from Brian? There’s nonesuch in what he wrote.He’s expressing his angst over the win for this corporation in the recent elections.I’m with him on this. It smells. Just because NY’ers voted to allow the state to swap land with a corporation doesn’t mean it’s right Brian. When you say thoughtful people just what do you mean by that? As I see it there’s not too many thoughtful people left in this society. Compared to the mindless they are only a handful.Just listen to what most people talk about.It’s a very sad affair indeed.

  11. M.P. Heller says:

    Sour Grapes Peter.

    The only thing worse than a bad winner is a bad loser.

    You need to stop the blame game and move forward. There is a lot of important work to be done still. If PROTECT wants to be a meaningful part of that process the vitriol and tirades need to end or nobody will want to associate with you.

  12. Curt Austin says:

    Some think of the Adirondacks as a very delicate place, under constant attack by evil forces, with a precarious future. Slippery slope arguments are genuinely frightening to these folks.

    But my favorite places are pretty much the same as they were in the 1950’s, when I was a child. The forces between competing visions are in near-balance, and there is abundant red tape to keep it that way. The Adirondacks are tough, notoriously resistant to the will of man.

    Not much is going to happen.

    • Laura says:

      I sincerely hope your favorite places will remain as such Curt now that the ADK Park will never again be “Forever Wild”. This vote was based on mistruths & people still do not grasp the extent of what just happened. Someday, people will thank PROTECT & the others for taking the brave stand they did but it will be too late. The damage has been done!

  13. Bill says:

    The sky is not falling. Is this another attempt to scare people into sending checks to Protect? I should check your website and see what your latest pitch is.

    This ballot didn’t go the way you wanted – well these things happen. The people made a different choice and that is how things work here. Learn from it and move on. The Park will not die, in fact it will grow in size.

    My only other suggestion, along the lines from others here, is that nasty language aimed at others is not wise. As someone said earlier, this is not your 1970s style yell-at-em movement any more. Combined with Protect’s lawsuits, this sort of behavior makes Protect ever more radioactive. People will step away from it.

    This governor, in particular, has added historic amounts of acreage to the Forest Preserve. That isn’t easy and his administration deserves credit for making that happen, not this sort of blast. Your Board is probably aware of that.

  14. Running George says:

    The Adirondacks are much as they were because of protections caused to be put in place by Park advocates… not because of some invisible natural law.

    Unfortunately, the political gamemanship of so called collaboration has begun. For what? Some unseen promise from Cuomo, the DEC or APA? Conforming our principles to a political agenda rather than the other way around will be toxic to the Adirondacks… and the 200 acres designated to be strip mined by Prop 5 will be unable to resist “the will of man”. Sickening.

  15. Let’s all just call this what it really is, Eminent Domain. As is the trend nowadays, a law meant for government necessity and public benefit has been perverted by the almighty dollar. NYCO, had other holdings that were approved for mining use. They had stated that if this deal didn’t go through, they were still staying in the area and utilizing the tracts they already had. Somehow, this “convenience” to swap their other holdings for this tract, owned by you and me, was approved. So what did the people of New York State gain from this? A few more acres than we lost, but we lost 200 Acres of “Forever Wild”, we sold out forever and how has this benefitted the people of New York? I’m not saying it’s over but now that we’ve sold out how do we go back from here? The precedent has been set.

  16. Laura says:

    Just to clarify, it’s actually even worse, Michael. NYCO isn’t giving up any land that is suitable for mining. Actually, they only own 960 of the 1,500 stated acres & have options on several of the parcels & in negotiations for the rest. The 1,500 acres also isn’t a number cast in stone. The ADK Council used the words “poorly worded” in reference to Prop 5 when they sent out their thank you letter to their supporters. That makes it even worse because they supported something that they even knew wasn’t legislation with very clear terms. Someday the people will realize what was just allowed to happen!And they will be outraged that they were so misled into supporting something so detrimental to the ADK Park’s future!

    • Laura says:

      Left out a sentence. NYCO owns hundreds of other acres in the immediate area that they have not yet sought permits for to mine but it is highly likely that they have much more that has minable wollastonite under it & it will be submitted for permits in the future.

      • M.P. Heller says:

        Do your homework please. This is not precedent setting any more than the amendment to expand Whiteface or the amendment to consolidate International Paper holdings in the West Canada Lakes area.

        The ‘selling out forever wild’ language you used in your argument is a completely broken talking point. If it was the case, we sold out in the early 1900’s when the first amendment to the Forest Preserve was passed. Along this line of thinking, we must have sold out again a few years back when we altered Forest Preserve boundries to accomodate power lines for Colton and the surrounding area.

        Are those things somehow ok and NYCO therefore is somehow not? Does nobody have a right to live in Colton? If they do they could choose to live there, could they do so without electricity?

        Nobody has to ski Whiteface, and Lake Placid didn’t have to bid for the 1980 Olympics right?

        IP could have logged different lands than those in WCL right?

        Similarly NYCO could go ‘stuff it’ too I suppose, but there is a precedent, you are right. One that follows that if its in the greater interest of the people and the Forest Preserve as a whole, we make amendments. Thats why an amendment process exists. If the land was truly locked up ‘Forever’ there would be no process to allow for exceptions.

        Thats the reality. The reality is not that NYCO hoodwinked the people, nor that the Gov. is shilling for the development of our public spaces. Thats just crazy conspiracy talk that only serves to spread disinformation and divide people. It has no merit.

        What has merit is that Prop. 5 passed. We cannot un-do that without another amendment at this point. That amendment is not coming either. Largely because the legislature is not going to take up a bill in 2 consecutive sessions that will countermand the bill they passed in the last 2 consecutive sessions. No matter how jaded someones stance on government may be, I think that its plain that they won’t be wasing their time unwinding what they just passed.

        Everyone needs to put down their pitchforks now. The Prop. 5 fight is over. One side won, and one side lost. There was not a third option of not accepting the results and carrying on as if it never happened. Because of that we have to move forward now. Moving forward means making sure all the parties involved meet their obligations and the people come out on top. That is, afterall, what this was really about in the first place. The corporate and governmental conspiracy theorists will likely still be talking about this long after the final deal is inked, and for what? I would suggest to one and all to make themselves a part of the process going forward from here with regards to the NYCO deal. THE ELECTION IS OVER. That was only one part of the process. The important work hashing out the final details of the land swap is still to come.

        • Laura says:

          The reality is that no jobs would be lost at NYCO. They have a 25 yr. plan on file that brings Oak Hill online in 2016. They tried this before in 1981. There’s a big difference between actions for the public good & a land swap for the benefit of a private company. The Park & “Forever Wild” are the true losers! The PR firm ran numerous ads down in the city just talking abt adding 1,500 acres. The people would have never voted for this if it was presented truthfully! Have to wonder how many people who have been staunch supporters of Prop 5’s passage even bothered to read NYCO’s 25 yr plan on file w/NYS!

          • M.P. Heller says:

            Your response proves my point. Nowhere did I mention jobs, Oak Hill or PR firms in my comments. You are still not accepting the reality of the results, you are still arguing your case. The case is closed.

            If you really cared, you’d be finding out what you can do next, not still obsessing on whats already done and over. Cry in your milk if you want, its your perogative, but don’t claim you are somehow concerned or involved on any meaningful level if thats all you can do.

  17. Dale Jeffers says:

    It will be interesting to see how the value of Lot 8 plays out. NYCO obviously thinks that it is worth a minimum of $1.6 million, the sum of the $1 million minimum set forth in the constitutional amendment and the amount that NYCO spent to buy the amendment, reportedly $538,961 and rounded up for a wild guestimate of NYCO’s remaining soft costs.

    Anyone else think that it is “funny” that the enabling legislation refers to the price of Lot 8 being its “value” but that the valuation of the replacement property is based upon its “assessed value”. These can be two different value concepts, the result of which could be good or bad in terms of the acreage to be conveyed to NYS.

    What do you think? Could be very sloppy legislation draftsmanship or something more sinister.

  18. Scott says:

    Will we have another prop in 4 or 5 decades for NYCO to exchange more land in the Jay wilderness? If so how will voters reacte to that?

    • Bill Ott says:

      Scott et al,
      Please help me do some research. Find the Essex County Geographic Information System. These systems are goldmines of information. (For instance, try the Hamilton County system; on my Google I have it bookmarked as Hamilton County supersharp maps, because their maps are double sharp, though without some positioning formats.) Back to Essex County, click on Economy; then Industry; on the right side where it says layers, click on “parcel” (I just did this the first time a few minutes ago); refresh the map; on the left side click the binoculars and type nyco in the spot that shows up below, click find string, and a list of 25 nyco properties appears. At the bottom click zoom and see the map.

      This is as far as I have gotten. From here one should be able to find how much land nyco has under that name, which should give an idea of what cards are on the table. Tired, going to sleep, will check in early.

      Bill Ott

      • Bill Ott says:

        Continuing: I found 31 NYCO properties in the Essex GIS. Three are listed as mining including the active site. Sixteen are forest, 3 private forest, 4 vacation, one family residence, one multiple residence, one media studio, and 2 sites that are listed as manufacturing. Four of the sites the state may receive are listed as forest. Two sites, Arnold Mountain and Hardwood Hill, did not come up on the GIS when searching NYCO.
        This is just raw information with no judgements or conclusions. Too often I read statements here that do not have a lot of backing. Now here is some backing without a statement.
        Bill Ott

        • Laura says:

          Bill, NYCO only owns 960 of the 1,500 acres. They have options on part of the other property & negotiating for the rest. Hope that helps! I didn’t ck our lists but the numbers you have sound abt right. But the “poorly worded” (ADK Council’s words)Prop 5 doesn’t really specify acreage or where so that’s really a crap shoot at this point.

  19. Alex McKay says:

    I had the same thought as Scott. What if the deposit extends further than the 200 acres? I’ll also be waiting to see how many of the 1,500 acres ever get added to the forest preserve. I’ve had the forever wild clause framed in my camp for several decades – might as well take it down now. The language always seemed pretty clear but it has some blurry edges now. November 5, 2013 a sad day for the mountain fastness!

  20. adkDreamer says:

    You can easily find Essex County property information here.

    Just click on the Public Access button and search by Owners Name, Street, Tax Map ID, etc.

  21. Wayno says:

    To me the real comforting idea is that the voters were paying enough attention to make the prop 5 vote so close. The bottom line is that it was a pretty good deal and the Council etc were supporting it. It tells me that a bad deal with cohesive opposition would have been easily defeated. I see the Forever Wild clause as safe and the future of the environment is strong. I support the Council’s decision to work to bring the local governments to a consensus that may make the Park forever wild and economically viable for all the residents.

    • Bill Ott says:

      I agree that the Forever Wild clause is safe since it does take a constitutional amendment to change it. The constitution, unlike the Ten Commandments, is not set in stone and has to be modified to keep up with the times. I have read that too many items required to be decided at the constitutional level would be just as well or better served at the legislative level. Example: “Allowing bills to be delivered to legislators desks in electronic rather than hard copy”. That put the “example” on the same level as Props 4&5. But this dilemma could not be altered without a new constitution, or could it? Bill Ott

      • ZYXW says:

        How can anyone argue that Forever Wild is “safe,” since we just witnessed it being subverted by money, politics, and slick PR work in order to profit a single company with very little, if any benefit to the public good. If it happens once, it can happen again. I am not comforted by the vote being close either. Forever Wild lost, close vote or not, and a piece of wilderness is forever destroyed.

  22. Little Buckaroo says:

    Some good points have been made about appraisal values re the upset price of $1.0 million. How this plays out if the vein goes all the way across Lot 8 onto the next lot (who owns that?) will be interesting. Will NYCO want another amendment? Right now NYCO estimates that they will only mine 50 of the 200 acres.As this goes forward there are several things that could go wrong. The ore vein in Lewis could peter out just across the boundary of Lot 8 and the mineral value of Lot 8 could be worth next to nothing. Then NYCO gives Lot 8 back to the State and the whole hassle of being for or against Prop 5 has been wasted.The public gets nothing.There also are no time limits as to how long it will take to do the test drilling on part or all of Lot 8 nor is it clear how many test sites there will be, how many roads to test sites, how many trees lost, etc.

    If they do mine Lot 8, the promise in law to reclaim the land afterwards is a bad joke. Lot 8 was acquired in the 1890s at tax sale and the timber certainly is older than 120 years, some of it being close to Old Growth if not actually Old Growth. (Why doesn’t somebody just grab a Swedish Increment Borer and start counting rings to get a real firm handle on that?)If NYCO intends to just continue the existing Lewis deep open pit onto Lot all you will see by way of restoration is a little dirt hauled in and some pine trees planted on benches on the face of the cliff and a little more of the same in spots on the floor of the pit but that may fill part way with water. Above the pit, all of the trees near the pit will be stripped off as the pit advances onto Lot 8, following the vein.Sure that can be re-planted, and it might grow back the way it was in another 130 years.

    There are a lot of things about this “deal” that I don’t like. First, someone clearly lied about loss of jobs when the Lewis mine closes in a few years and if another 8-10 years (NYCO’s estimate) of mining is not available on Lot 8, whether it was Behan Associates or other proponents, but I heard legislators and others say it who should have known better. ADK, the Council, the League of Conservation Voters and the unions and others kept repeating it even if they knew better. They didn’t bother to check because it aided the result they wanted.

    DEC, ADK, the Council, NYLCV and others said nothing about the relatively new Oak Hill mine, where the ore is even better than Lewis but deeper under overburden and caprock. There is nothing in the backup papers of the Legislature about it So I guess they weren’t told either. Yet the mine is there for everyone to behold and there was a lot of involvement when State permits were obtained in 1998 (and NYCO lied when they said there was only a few years left at Lewis and here we are 15 years later and there are still a few years left. Then in 2006 DEC and APA approved NYCO’s 25 year mining plan for Oak Hill, of which all of the Adk organizations were well aware. (There may be more ore there than that. 25 years is just the length of the plan which presumably was based on test drilling between 1998 and 2006.) The plan made it clear that in the near future the Lewis mine workers – 105 of them- would be switched to Oak Hill along with equipment when Lewis finally ran out of ore. Meanwhile, NYCO has been leasing Oak Hill, or part of it, to Gramont Gravel, to strip the overburden and caprock off the ore so the ore will be ready to mine when the switch from Lewis is made. Meanwhile NYCO is making money selling this the overburden and caprock from Oak Hill.

    So, there will be no gain or loss of jobs. It is a wash. The only new consideration is that the mining of Lot 8 will extend the Lewis mine operations by 8-10 years (again, NYCO’s estimate). But, apart from the mining years at Oak Hill, NYCO is prospecting for more ore in the area and probably will find some. So was going into Lot 8 for 8 or 10 years really worth the damage that was done to Article 14, treating it as if it really was not a serious principle but just some minor roadblock to be fast-talked out of the way?

    And NYCO really put their foot in their mouth when they said on TV that getting Lot 8 was just a “convenience ” to them so they could mine that lot before moving their large crusher and truck garage out of the Lewis mine to Oak Hill. Since when do we sell Forest Preserve to a private company for their profit and short-term (8-10 years) “convenience”?

    I use the word “sell” advisedly but that is exactly what the State is doing. The word “exchange” is a smokescreen but in any case it’s all the same, leasing, selling, exchanging and cutting are all equally forbidden under Article 14. I think that some of the opponents of Prop 5 had it right when they said that the Council’s silly criteria for amendments to Article 14 didn’t even take into consideration the need to treat Article 14 with respect, to respect it as a precious principle that is a level of protection treasured by New York conservationists for 120 years and widely envied by other states and the federal government. The Council’s criteria are just a list of ways to circumvent the protections of Article 14 without ever giving due consideration to what it really means.They aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.

    The State’s payment for its sale of 200 acres of Preserve, the 1500 acres, has been sitting there for a long time without the State feeling that it was important enough to add to the Preserve. I haven’t looked, but if it is on the wish list in the State Open Space Plan it was just added recently for this “deal.” In other words, it is private land that until this deal was proposed had no special meaning, the kind of land that exists all over the Adirondacks and to which the State would normally give no special priority for acquisition except as trumped up by DEC for this occasion.

    I appreciate the thought that since there was no public purpose or benefit to Prop 5, it just helps the bottom line of NYCO. Whether the State gets equal value in payment is irrelevant. It is true that all of the other 22 amendments had a public purpose, even though some of them, like a highway up Whiteface or Prospect Mtn may not be environmentally desirable today, whether dressing up the prop by naming it for veterans or not. The Perkins Clearing amendment did have some public purpose in that it dealt with float planes on Whitney Lake and it addressed the problem of a checkerboard land pattern for the benefit of both IP and the State Forest Preserve.So that one was only partly to the benefit of a private company.

    In the case of NYCO, it was all about benefitng a private company. I think that the State and ADK and the Council and NYLCV thought in very simplistic and greedy terms, 200 acres for 1500 acres, and never got past that to really think about Article 14.

    So, where does this leave us? I think that the 47% of the voters who voted against Prop 5 had it right and if the opponents had a little more time to get their message out, working uphill against NYCO’s expensive advertising and PR blitz, the numbers would have been reversed.

    I think the opponents were correct in saying that DEC reverted to its pre-1894 pre-Forever Wild abuses and inclinations to play games with the Forest Preserve, look for good deals and sell pieces of the Preserve to the highest bidder. Makes me think about ways to further tighten the amendment process, just for Article 14, not for the rest of the Constitution. Clearly the Prop 5 situation shows that it is too easy to fool the voters (and maybe the Legislature too) with a slick and prolonged PR job about “good deals.”

    • Laura says:

      Well said, Little Buckaroo! If I may just add one item concerning Oak Hill. At this time they are permitted for & have Greymont operating on 51 acres but the entire piece is 450 acres. I seriously doubt that there is no Wollastonite on the rest of the parcel so I’m pretty certain now that they have this land grab out of the way that they will be applying for permits for add’l acreage. They tried this land grab in 1981 but the Legislature must have been wiser than. ADK Council said it well in their congratulatory letter to their supporters on Wed. when they referred to Prop 5 as “poorly worded”!

  23. Little Buckaroo says:

    ZYXW has it right. Short and sweet. How can anyone possibly say, as some have, that this was a “victory for the Park?’ The “victory” badly undermined and trivialized the Forever Wild and the State sold a big piece of wilderness. The “victory” was to Behan, the Council, ADK, NYLCV and others for the slick PR job they did.

    • Paul says:

      It is funny to see one group of environmentalists throwing other groups of environmentalists under the bus. These disagreements are probably bad news for both sides. The Adirondack Tea Party movement is in full swing.

      • Running George says:

        The Tea Party in this case is the Adirondack Council, ADK, and the NYLCV.

        This disgraced group sold out Forever Wild to corporate and political interests just like the Koch run Tea Party.

        In this case we have the NYCO run Tea Party crowd throwing Forever Wild overboard.

        By the way, it was the above mentioned crowd that through environmentalists under the bus. Will the Adirondack Council change there slogan from “Forever Wild” to “We Collaborate”? Sell outs!

  24. Little Buckaroo says:

    Graymont Gravel = correct spelling

  25. Paul says:

    Why did we put our Wilderness next to their mine in the first place? Makes no sense.

  26. David Thomas-Train says:

    The last few comments above are getting into the turf of shrill and smug choir-preaching and name-calling. It seems to me that is what the Tea Party often does. Prop 5 was a question that thoughtful people who genuinely care about the Adirondacks could differ on.
    I find Peter’s piece to be a bit paranoid, also shrill, and not at all nuanced in its references to ADK, the Adk Council and Adirondack Futures.

    • Running George says:

      When it comes to smug choir preaching, your comment takes the cake. The entire comment was self righteous and judgmental and where is it written one has to be nuanced when exposing a sell out?

      Keep up the good work, Peter.

      I noticed in one of the Adirondack Council’s replies on their Facebook page an attempt to sidestep their culpability in the passage of Prop 5. They stated that voters decided the fate of “Prop 5, not the Adirondack Council.” Yeah, at whose encouragement? I would call those “weasel words”, except for my admiration of weasels!

  27. M.P. Heller says:

    I find it quite ironic that the folks against NYCO and Prop. 5 are still beating the drum of ‘foul-play’ so hard.

    Its done folks. Move on. Take up another cause, or make sure NYCO follows the rules set out for them under Prop. 5. Everything else is sour grapes, just like the piece Peter wrote which started this discussion.

    The nay-sayers above remind me of spoiled childeren who, when they didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas, are still complaining about it on July 4th.

    There are plenty of good causes for activists to involve themselves with, including making sure the NYCO amendment goes forward in good faith with the interests of the People and the Forest Preserve at heart. If these same activists choose to take the unproductive tact of constantly complaining about whats already been LAWFULLY done, who will ever care about what they think in the future when they have already so clearly demonstrated their inability to cope with the current reality that Prop. 5 passed and the arguement is now over?

    Conspiracies, hoodwinking theories, and finger pointing are NOT productive ways to achieve the common result all folks who take time out of their day(s)to discuss these issues want. Its clear that if you post here or elsewhere for folks to see, you have passion for the topic. Passion does not indicate productivity though, and I would like to see some acceptance of Prop. 5, (after all its OVER)and some productive discussion on what it means going forward, and how we can ALL ensure a fair shake for everyone involved. Anything else is just rhetoric which does nothing to move us forward. I am amazed by the amount of people who are stuck on Prop. 5’s passage, and while claiming to be staunch supporters of The Park, are demonstrating their blindness to how its going to proceed.

    Wake up out of your trance folks. The election is over, but this issue is far from settled. If you spend too much time complaining about Prop. 5’s passage, you will miss important issues surrounding its implementation. Don’t miss out on the remainder of the process because you have your head in the sand.

  28. Adam says:

    Yeagh, you should just forget about how your government sold you out. You have been done wrong on many fronts, but hey, get over it. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

  29. Adam says:

    Funny, The Adirondack Council will not publicly defend the very thing they supported and have banned me from posting on their facebook page so as to not have to answer for their actions.


    • M.P. Heller says:

      Banned you for flaming them on their own page. Geez. I can’t think of a reason they’d want to ban you for that.

      • Adam says:

        Maybe they should man up and admit what they actually supported, instead of talking out of both sides of their mouth. At least defend what you did. Do not try and play innocent in this whole thing and turn around and play the forever wild leave no trace game when in essence, the council supported the very opposite of that. Hypocrites.

  30. Jan Hansen says:

    Mr Bauer,
    Blaming unions for a vote that did not go the way you wished is ridiculous. This is just plain old union bashing. Unions are blamed now a days for every bad thing that happens in the country. The environmental movement in the country has a loud voice and for some reason it did not prevail in this particular occasion. I am a former union member and I vote with environmentalists 90% of the time. I just did not believe that voting against Prop 5 was the correct thing to do. Do you drive through the towns in the Adirondacks? Thriving communities are a thing of the past. Why not preserve a business that is actually contributing jobs to Park residents for another 10 years or so? Yes strip mining is heinous. I agree, but there must be some sort of a balance. You cannot lock up every piece of land in the Adirondacks.

    • Adam says:

      “You cannot lock up every piece of land in the Adirondacks”

      No one is claiming locking up every piece of land in the Adirondacks.Half of the park is already privately owned. What part of that concept do you not get? The idea is to protect what is left of it to ensure it does not turn into NYCO’s or anyone else’s feeding ground. Should we just level everything so that everyone can work in the “park”….I would love to live and work in the park, but guess what, I cant. There is no industry for me there. Should the state just start tearing everything apart so that everyone who wants to live there can?

  31. Running George says:

    I’m afraid your comments, Jan, made Peter Bauer’s point. For the record, I support unions and see them as necessary
    for working people everywhere. Regardless of individual points of view, unions have a knee jerk reaction to claims of job creation whether or not the claim is accurate.

    In this case it’s pretty clear that jobs will neither be created or retained. “Thriving communities are a thing of the past”… trading away this wilderness is not going to make any community “thrive” and NYCO will be the only beneficiary. “there must be some sort of balance” Really? The purpose of “forever wild” was to put some areas off limits… to “balance” against the worst effects of development and in this instance, the destruction created by strip mines. Your last statement seals the deal for Mr. Bauer’s point of view, “You cannot lock up every piece of land in the Adirondacks”. Now, that is apparently so. Should a corporation plead the case of “thriving communities” or that jobs will be lost, and whether the claims are true does not matter, now it is clear that “forever wild” is just a meaningless slogan.

    Last point… there are towns outside the park that have lost industry and are no longer thriving. Blaming the Park is inaccurate at best and as a union member you should know that. Industry has been lost by trade deals contrived by multinational corporations that hurt both labor and the environment. These trade deals have created a race to the bottom for labor standards and environmental protections. The leverage used by NYCO and their misguided allies such as the Adirondack Council, is an example of that race to the bottom. A piece of the forever wild character of the Park was sacrificed to remedy economic conditions that the Park is neither to blame for, nor in this case will correct.

  32. Little Buckaroo says:

    The unions were sucked in by the Behan-NYCO axis with all of the nonsensical talk about “jobs” being at stake with the reality being that no jobs were going to be lost or gained. The 105 jobs are going to be transferred to Oak Hill along with the crusher and truck garage at Lewis once the mining at Lot 8 is over with in 8-10 years.

    The unions had a knee-jerk reaction to the word “jobs.” After all, what do they really know about Article 14 and the nature and importance of Forever Wild.

    Yet the unions, along with Behan’s $500,000 plus PR campaign in targeted areas of NYC telling people simplistically that 1500 acres for 200 acres is a “good deal”were really the deciding factors in the 53-47 % vote, not to mention the PR work done by the Council, ADK and NYLCV. The opponents. with just a grass roots PR campaign did well against these odds. With a little more time they could have reversed the end result.