Friday, October 2, 2015

Cuomo Nominates Basil Seggos To Head DEC

seggosGovernor Andrew Cuomo has nominated one his top advisers, Basil Seggos, to serve as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Seggos joined Cuomo’s administration in 2012. He has served as the governor’s deputy secretary for the environment since 2013.

If approved by the legislature, Seggos will replace Joe Martens, who resigned the post this summer. Marc Gerstman, who has been filling in as acting commissioner, will continue as executive deputy commissioner.

John Sheehan, a spokesman for the Adirondack Council, said his organization is pleased with Cuomo’s choice. “He cares about the environment, and he cares about communities,” he said.

Asked what he’d like to see Seggos accomplish, Sheehan replied, “We’d like to see him purchase Boreas Ponds as soon as possible and classify most of it as Wilderness.”

The 22,000-acre Boreas Ponds tract, which abuts the High Peaks Wilderness, is the last piece of former Finch, Pruyn land that the state intends to buy from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy. The purchase is expected to be made by March 31, the end of the state’s fiscal year.

In a news release, Cuomo called Seggos “an exceptional public servant, a strong advocate for the environment.”

Seggos previously served as an attorney for the Hudson River Riverkeeper. He also has held positions with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Council on Environmental Quality in the White House.

In January 2015, Tony Hall, the publisher of the Lake George Mirror, took Seggos to task for trying to oust David Wicks as executive director of the Lake George Park Commission. The Cuomo administration, Hall wrote, was not happy with Wicks’s efforts to stop invasive species by requiring boats to be inspected before entering Lake George.


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Phil Brown is the former Editor of Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack. Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing. He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.

13 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    Is there sufficient EPF funds to make these two purchases? In the Adirondacks we tend to think that all these funds are for FP purchases. Given some of the details here I am surprised that the council supports this choice.

    Should be good for those of us that like to fish. Is he also a hunter? He is in the reserves so I bet he does.

  2. Woody says:

    Neil Woodworth got burned again. Bummer. He’ll just have to reapply for the job again the next time it opens up.

    • Big Burly says:

      We need Neil on the outside to keep the whole shebang honest — Basil is the right choice, IMHO.

      • Woody says:

        If it isn’t blatantly obvious, Neil Woodworth is a political player whose dream job is to be DEC Commissioner. He is no outsider. Look at all those damn photo ops with all those governors over the years. Outsiders don’t get photo ops with sitting governors. Those are pictures of someone trying to impress a potential employer. With Neil Woodworth at the helm, ADK marches to Albany’s drumbeat.

  3. So this guy got hired because he was an adequate attack dog for Emperor Andrew? We in the southern Adirondacks remember his attack on the LGPC. Wick was a good public servant who didn’t deserve to get smeared like that.

    • Paul says:

      Given that why do you think these groups are saying they approve of this pick? Are they just sucking up?

  4. M.P. Heller says:

    This guy is Governor Andy’s attack dog. What he did to David Wick was reprehensible. Wick, a good guy, good leader, and great steward got placed in the crosshairs for doing his job, protection of the water quality in Lake George. Purely a political move, Seggos, under orders from Cuomo, attempted to ruin this mans career, reputation, and personal life because Wick wanted to implement a planned boat washing program aimed at combating invasive species. It’s interesting to note that when a judge reinstated Wick, ruling that Albany had acted inappropriately, that not only did the boat washing program in Lake George get inplemented, but a state wide policy shift occurred which brought these stations to other locales around the park. Seggos would likely still say he was acting under orders, but that was also the same excuse used by so many officers of the 3rd Reich as well, it doesn’t change anything, the actions are still disgusting.

    Seggos leading DEC is not an encouraging development. He has an abysmal record dealing with other Adirondack agencies, he’s a bully, and a puppet of the Cuomo Administration. Governor Andy might as well have nominated Papa Doc Duvalier to head DEC for all the good Basil Seggos will do for the agency. I feel bad for our public lands, and I feel bad for those who will have to work under this bully.

  5. Charlie S says:

    “Wick, a good guy, good leader, and great steward got placed in the crosshairs for doing his job, protection of the water quality in Lake George. Purely a political move, ….”

    That’s the way I was feeling about this event when it took shape.

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