Thursday, December 26, 2019

Gibson: DEC Evaded Review of Bridge Over Scenic River

New York State’s expedient evasion of its own State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), has no better recent example than the Cedar River Snowmobile Bridge. The new bridge is being built north of Indian Lake, six miles inside the Adirondack Forest Preserve across a river designated by the State as Scenic.

A Supreme Court just rubber-stamped DEC’s actions in a ruling against Adirondack Wild and Protect the Adirondacks. There is plenty to say about how the Court’s decision (and DEC’s self-issuing Permit and Variance) sets a negative precedent for protection of Scenic Rivers under the State’s Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act, but for the present let’s address the SEQR evasion.

The State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) requires any State or local agency that undertakes, funds, or approves a project to evaluate the actual or potential environmental impacts of the project. SEQRA clearly sets forth the State’s policy that adverse environmental impacts be fully considered and either minimized or avoided.

The law states that “agencies shall use all practicable means to realize the policies and goals set forth and shall act and choose alternatives which, consistent with social, economic and other essential considerations, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize or avoid adverse environmental effects, including effects revealed in the environmental impact statement process” (Environmental Conservation Law, ECL 8-0109).

The law further states that an agency must identify all areas of relevant environmental concern with respect to the project, take a hard look at them, and provide a reasoned elaboration for its determination as to whether the action may have a significant adverse impact on the environment. The agency must require preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) if the proposed action may have any significant environmental impacts.

In the matter of the Cedar River Bridge, DEC considered its generic Environmental Impact Statement for the entire 19,000-acre Essex Chain of Lakes Complex Unit Management Plan adequate environmental review of the 140-ft long, 12 ft. wide steel bridge over the Cedar River.

“All areas of relevant environmental concern” (citing SEQR) were certainly never identified at the bridge site. According to DEC’s bridge permit application, construction of the new snowmobile roadway and bridge will require the cutting of over 100 trees and operation of heavy machinery, including trucks, excavators, and cranes, in the protected river corridor and along the banks of the Cedar River.  Lots of cement must be brought to the site to construct the abutments. Air and noise pollution will be created by heavy machinery and construction vehicles, and frequent use by snowmobiles. Then, there are the visual and aesthetic issues by introducing such a large bridge, road and frequent motorized use into this Wild Forest corridor adjacent to both Primitive and Wilderness areas.

No site specific Environmental Impact Statement was required for any of this activity, DEC told the Court, because the generic EIS for the entire Essex Chain UMP already sufficed for that purpose. However, as the plaintiffs pointed out to the Court, the Actual and Potential Environmental Impacts and Proposed Mitigation Measures section of the 2016 Essex Chain UMP never mentioned the Cedar River bridge. Not even once.

In the spring of 2016, DEC issued its required SEQR Findings for the Essex Chain of Lakes UMP, which included a statement that construction of the bridge “may result in significant adverse environmental impacts” but these were never fully identified and were never evaluated at all, as SEQR requires.

DEC affidavits to the Court attempting to show that they had been evaluated included statements that alternative bridge locations on the Cedar River had been assessed, and the preferred alternative explained. That is true. Alternatives analysis is part of SEQR requirements, but just a part. DEC Findings admitted that the bridge construction “may result in significant adverse environmental impacts,” so where were they described? They were not. The generic EIS failed to include the required, site specific “hard look” at the Cedar River project location required by SEQR.

I think the public assumes that a massive new construction like this anywhere in the Adirondack Park, whether sponsored by the State, local government or by a private entity, would have the benefit of site-specific environmental impact analysis. What the State of New York may be able to get away with is not an option for a private developer. That’s called a double standard.

Executive Law 150 originally signed by Governor Mario M. Cuomo in 1992, carried on by succeeding governors, was created to try to avoid a double standard in the Park. It seeks to assure the public that “new land use and development by State agencies within the Adirondack Park undergo the same level of Adirondack Park Agency review as is demanded of private developers.” That means that “any construction or other activity which materially changes the use or appearance of land or a structure, or the intensity of use of the land or a structure” must be, subject to notice from the APA, consistent with the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan and not have an undue adverse impact upon the resources of the Park.

Unfortunately, in this instance APA had already sanctioned the Cedar River snowmobile bridge. APA had determined in late 2015 that the DEC’s Essex Chain of Lakes UMP was compliant with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. That doesn’t mean that the Cedar River bridge had received the same site-specific scrutiny as a similar bridge on private land. Irrespective of Executive Order 150’s lofty objective, the Park double standard is truly baked in.

For example, in 1992 the private Finch, Pruyn and Company wanted to construct a steel bridge of similar length across the Hudson River for its forestry operation. At that time, both banks of the Hudson at the river’s “Stillwater” were privately owned (they are now part of the Forest Preserve). The Hudson River was then and now a designated Scenic River, just as the Cedar River is. The Adirondack Park Agency took jurisdiction of the project application in 1991 and the next year evaluated Finch, Pruyn’s project (APA Permit 91-200) requiring a project site description, details about wetlands and vegetation on the shores, impact analysis, including the potential impact of spilling concrete into the river, conclusions of law detailing how the project as described could be lawfully built, and specific conditions of the permit including how concrete was to be delivered to the abutment site in the middle of the river to minimize potential impacts.

At the time I considered APA’s review of the Hudson River Bridge impacts to be insufficient, but at least APA did more to comply with SEQR on a private bridge project than DEC did for this new similar bridge project across public, “forever wild” Forest Preserve.

One of those potential impacts which SEQR says must be considered is visual assessment. To help the agency comply with SEQR, DEC created its own Visual Impacts Policy in 2000. It requires DEC to assemble an inventory of aesthetic resources at a project location; conduct a visual impact assessment; determine the significance of any visual impact; and identify measures to avoid, mitigate or offset aesthetic impacts.

In the Cedar River case, Adirondack Wild and Protect retained an expert in visual resource assessment, Dr. Richard Smardon of the State College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. Dr. Smardon had helped DEC come up with its Visual Impacts policy two decades before and his expertise is regularly sought because he is one of the country’s leading authorities in the field of visual resource assessment.

Dr. Smardon considered DEC’s claim that it had undertaken visual resource impact assessment of the Cedar River Bridge in the Essex Chain UMP and generic EIS. He reviewed the DEC Essex Chain UMP and could find no such visual impact assessment. In other words, the DEC was failing to follow its own Visual Impacts policy on river designated Scenic.

Dr. Smardon advised the Court that “it is my opinion that the bridge will have an adverse visual impact on the scenic and aesthetic attributes of the Cedar River and its protected river area. During bridge construction there will be motorized construction equipment generating noise and comprising a significant visual intrusion into the Scenic River environment and surrounding lands…the physical location of the bridge will introduce a large man-made structure constructed of non-natural materials introducing horizontal and vertical incompatible elements within a natural river setting.”

“Assuming that most recreational users are there to enjoy the remote and wild beauty of the Cedar River and adjoining lands, the bridge will be a major structural intrusion with steel and concrete abutments within a natural stream corridor that is otherwise free of man-made structures…Because of its size the bridge will be visible from a considerable distance above and below the bridge from the river and river shoreline. The bridge will have a significant visual impact because of the massive concrete abutments…and the strong horizontal elements of the bridge deck and railings, all of which are intrusive in the current natural context of the river and its adjoining lands.” Those adjoining lands are all Forest Preserve, variously classified Wild Forest, Primitive and Wilderness.

In this instance, DEC sidestepped its SEQR responsibilities because it felt political pressure from the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo to build the motorized bridge quickly. A Supreme Court deferred to DEC, which is too commonplace. Yet DEC is the sponsor of the SEQR Handbook used by hundreds of local government boards who receive interpretation and guidance on SEQR from DEC.

DEC sets their example. DEC sets their standard for how to do SEQR properly, how to do it right, how do it consistently well. DEC just set a terrible example for others to follow and should be embarrassed by its slipshod SEQR performance for a massive construction project across a Scenic River deep inside the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The Court should have called them on it.

Photos, from above: Bridge location on the Cedar River provided by Adirondack Wild, and the type of steel truss snowmobile bridge DEC plans to build across the Cedar River, from DEC’s Bridge Permit Application.

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David Gibson

Dave Gibson, who writes about issues of wilderness, wild lands, public policy, and more, has been involved in Adirondack conservation for over 30 years as executive director of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks and currently as managing partner with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve

During Dave's tenure at the Association, the organization completed the Center for the Forest Preserve including the Adirondack Research Library at Paul Schaefer’s home. The library has the finest Adirondack collection outside the Blue Line, specializing in Adirondack conservation and recreation history.

Currently, Dave is managing partner in the nonprofit organization launched in 2010, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.




53 Responses

  1. Expediency wins. As the former WSR Counsel with NYSDEC in the early ‘90s, I cannot see justification for this decision. It makes a mockery of the WSR Act.

    • Chuck Parker Chuck Parker says:

      Expediency wins? How can you say this when there is a paper trail of Adirondack Almanac articles that date back to 2015 on this subject matter ( Click on Cedar River at the beginning of the article.) To date nearly 5 to 6 years of discussion is not expedient. I would say that it is a case of merit versus positions of opposition that the court has determined did not have merit. I find this to be a good, ethical, and legal court decision that will allow this bridge to be built / replaced. Such a decision is permissible under the Adirondack State Land Master Plan.

  2. Gary and Nancy Hartwick says:

    We support DEC’s view. The bridge is not massive nor is it unattractive nor does it damage the environment.

  3. Chris says:

    Both this project and subsequent decision runs roughshod over the law and regulations. Terrible governance.

  4. adkDreamer says:

    Vague laws create an infinite amount of wiggle room. ECL 8-0109 as quoted above and as here: “…and choose alternatives which, consistent with social, economic and other essential considerations, to the maximum extent practicable…”

    So DEC and the courts focused on the operative word: ‘economic’. The law as written can and will be used to support whatever is desired by the State – and depending upon which outcome is desired, these vague laws include all the necessary words to choose from at any given time, for any given purpose. Such is the design and implementation of the Star Chamber.

    Watching TV helps:

    BONANZA What Are Pardners For? Season11 Episode 27

    (Hoss Cartwright in court on an alleged bank robbery charge, speaking to his defense attorney)

    Hoss: Did you think about what I told you?

    Attorney: Yes, but I don’t think I can use it there’s no proof.

    Hoss: But it’s the truth.

    Attorney: Hoss. This is a court. And the court wants to hear evidence. And evidence consists of those facts which we can prove. Now the truth without proof is not considered evidence.

    Hoss: How are you going to get justice if you don’t have the truth?

    Attoney: We use the law, it’s an acceptable substitute.

  5. Beth Stalker says:

    Currently when traversing this route from Newcomb to Indian Lake it is necessary to swim/wade the river. The flow of the river and the temperature of the water often makes this dangerous. It is ludicrous to abandon a route with roads that already exist and have historically been kept cleared. Since we can’t rewrite past history in this section of forest, it is good common sense to replace the bridge. We should be thanking the Towns and the snowmobilers who work in tandem to ensure the maintenance of these routes which are also used year-round by hikers, skiers, snowshoers, etc.

  6. Roger Dziengeleski says:

    With respect, David does not mention the bridge is a replacement for a pre-existing structure at the site. Replacing the a bridge which pre-existed the Adirondack Park Agency Act and State Land Master Plan is not the same as a process used to build a new bridge at a new site.

    • John Warren John Warren says:

      There is no bridge there to replace. There was one there when it was owned privately.

      • roger dziengeleski says:

        The site was where the original bridge was, a bridge used for many decades. The court recognized this and ruled based upon the pre existing nature of that bridge. It is incorrect to imply the court and DEC did something counter to the law.

        • Scotty says:

          I think that pre-existing bridges at the same spot, even after they’re gone, even if they were private, have been used to get permits to replace them from the APA. So, yes, this is the legal position that won. If they tried to move it at all, upstream or downstream, it would have failed legally. But in the same location, it is ok. Such are the oddities of ADK legal stuff. Gibson knows this, of course.

    • Boreas says:

      And it is definitely not the same when said bridge spans a river classified as Wild & Scenic. That is why there is a WSR classification – to keep the river both wild and scenic. Nothing wild or scenic about a bridge. But then, the Cuomo administration did not come up with the WSR designation, so why pay any attention to it?

  7. Todd Eastman says:

    The damned thing will likely get flushed away in the first big storm after completion…

    … then bill the DEC for the clean up! 😊

  8. Nancy Stock says:

    Oh good grief. People use the Adirondacks. It is public land. There WAS a bridge there. Now there is a bridge there again. A bridge means a few things:

    1.) People stay out of the river. Better for the river and less chance of introducing invasive Species.

    2.) People stay on the trail/road so there is less impact on the surrounding forest preserve.

    3.) More people than ever come to the Adirondacks. The bridge helps to constrain people to the road and bridge

    You are not going to shut the door and keep people out of the Adirondacks. Get over it and be THANKFUL for ways to keep people on trails! This bridge addresses that.

    • Boreas says:

      Many people come here specifically to paddle these few wild rivers. I guess they should just be ignored. Wild-ish and kinda scenic should be good enough on a river designated as both Wild and Scenic. Heaven knows paddlers can just go elsewhere to find wilder rivers.

      • Hope says:

        I’m a paddler. I’m not offended by bridges, especially if they are well designed for the site.

        • Boreas says:

          Then we should eliminate the WSR designation? Why have such a designation if we don’t defend it? That is the point – not whether one paddler minds seeing a bridge. This isn’t about “just one bridge” as snowmobilers seem to be using as the reason to build this particular one. Will it be the last one?? What other structures will now be allowed to be built along, over, or in WSRs? If there was a tannery or sawmill there 100 years ago with possibly a dam does that mean we can revert back to those types of structures?

          On a broader front, as ADKDreamer states above, vague laws are next to worthless if it requires a judge to make a decision on every step the DEC wants to make, since virtually every judge has a different opinion. No direction, no consistency. NYS, APA, and DEC need to come up with a comprehensive plan for the future of the Park and stick to it. Pandering to special interests on all sides to circumvent laws should be the exception, not the rule.

          • John Warren John Warren says:

            The law is not vague, it’s being ignored obviously and plainly. It speaks to the level of conservatism and willingness to destroy the last remaining remaining natural areas east of Mississippi. It’s nothing more than a reflection of the Trump era and Boomer mentality.

            • Boreas says:

              I don’t disagree…

            • adkDreamer says:

              OK. I concede that ‘vague’ is not the best adjective. Perhaps better to state that the law is overly broad and has enough ‘outs’ (disclaimer words) available to any textual lawyer such that many positions can be supported under a general affirmative defense. The more wordy the law, the greater the variability of supportable positions.

              Remember there are nuances to law – there is the text, the written law (hence the textual approach) and there is the spirit of the law (John speaks to that), which is far more difficult to nail down.

            • JohnL says:

              Reflection of the Trump era……REALLY? Last I heard our state is run COMPLETELY by the ‘other’ party, you know, the Democrats. Are you saying our governor is a Trump puppet? Interesting.

          • Hope says:

            You just indicated that many paddlers would not come because of the bridge. I just disagree with that premise. There might be some but I don’t believe it’s the detriment you state it is. There are many WSR with bridges and dams. Would you rather just take WSR designation away and let all Development be a free for all? What the environmental community is espousing is re-developing, previously classified industrial and recreational forest land, into, limited access state parkland. Nothing wrong with that as long as the community with the land agrees with that re-development plan.

  9. roger dziengeleski says:

    bridges span many wild and scenic rivers. They don’t prevent paddlers from enjoying the trip and frequently they provide convenient put in or take out points.

  10. Tim-Brunswick says:

    Beth, Roger, Nancy, Hope and anyone else who actually used some common sense in reading through Mr. Gibson’s slanted/one-sided article….THANK YOU!

    Your comments reflect some common sense in direct contrast to the dramatics displayed by the usual cast of characters who cast a negative cloud over a common sense decision by NYSDEC.

    A bridge is going to be built…..and as Nancy Stock so succinctly put it….GET OVER IT !

    • Jim S. says:

      Why do you think it is common sense to tame the few wild places that exist in the Northeast ?Huge numbers of people are drawn to the Adirondacks to avoid signs of mans hand.

      • Boreas says:

        Jim,

        Conservation vs. development. Every situation seems to be viewed from a personal point of view instead of what is best for the future of the Park and the Forest Preserve. In essence, isn’t the Park itself simply a type of development – one side pushing for a uniquely wild nature park and the other side pushing for a recreation Mecca? Both are essentially types of development as they both require changing the status quo by laws and actions. The direction of the Forest Preserve as a whole needs to be driven by the citizens of NY, not individual judges.

        • John Warren John Warren says:

          A wild natural park is not developing the park. That’s a false equivalency. Building a bridge over a remote bridge designated for protection as scenic is development. There is a significant difference between the two.

          • Boreas says:

            I agree – there certainly is a difference – a big difference as they are diametrically opposite. My point was in order to create a more “wild” park takes a commitment and “development” of laws and planning that do not seem to exist today – not just maintaining the status quo. Removing dams, bridges and infrastructure are all part of “developing” a wild area.

  11. Charlie S says:

    ” the Trump era and Boomer mentality.”

    An era we will too soon forget!

  12. Charlie S says:

    “The direction of the Forest Preserve as a whole needs to be driven by the citizens of NY, not individual judges.”

    If that citizenry is a rational, intelligent, futuristic one!

    • Boreas says:

      Charlie,

      In response to both of your comments, you are absolutely correct. Us old geezers sitting around stating our opinions on what the Park should or shouldn’t be will die out as we die off. I think you and I are both concerned more about the future than the past and present. The state of the Park (and Earth) in the future depends not only on what we do today, but the philosophies we pass on to our children.

      Should we be teaching that “Swiss cheese” management catering to special interest exceptions should be the model going forward, or should we be teaching SLMPs and land/river classifications are instituted for a good reason and should be respected? Everyone is happy with SLMPs until those plans step on their toes. Then out come the lawyers and the people ultimately making the decisions about the future Park are judges that may never have stepped off Albany pavement. Is this the best way to manage a resource that belongs to all citizens of NY?

      As Mr. Nash says: “Teach your children well…”

    • JohnL says:

      Providing that citizenry agrees with you, huh Charlie? Having said that, we’re not a direct democracy anyway, so everyone doesn’t get to vote on all individual issues. We have a Republic, if we can keep it, and we elect people, judges, and others to make our laws and define the parameters by which we live. Sorry pal, but that’s the way we created the greatest country in the world, and hopefully that’s the way we’ll keep it.

  13. Boreas says:

    I am waiting for a statement from Basil Seggos regarding this kerfuffle. I am wondering if this is the same attitude and amount of care DEC will take with its responsibility to determine “carrying capacity” of trails and popular hiking areas. My expectations have just been lowered.

  14. Steve B. says:

    Begs the question, if there hasn’t been a bridge at the same site for a decade ?, don’t know the history, are they “replacing” a bridge, or building a new one ?. Seems like they waited a long time before deciding this location needed to have a new bridge. When was the old bridge removed and why and how ?

    Bottom line though was if Finch-Pruyn had applied to replace, the state would have said no, based on the WSR. There’s no way they can justify that it’s OK for the DEC to proceed.

  15. Charlie S says:

    JohnL says: “Providing that citizenry agrees with you, huh Charlie?”

    Unfortunately it seems a feeble sensibility has gotten hold of the minds of many good people, which distorts and misleads their judgement JohnL, people who should know better but don’t! The safety of our institutions, never mind the safety of what few wild places remain, in a great measure, depend on the intelligence of those entitled to the privilege of choosing our leaders and making the right choices when it comes to measures regards protecting all things which supposedly makes this country so great, including those few wild places which remain. It would benefit society better, rich and poor alike, ignorant or smart, if we were all educated properly which we aren’t as you should well know. How are we to make the right decisions regards the protection of what few wild, untainted, habitats remain on this planet, unless intelligence goes with those decisions?

  16. Charlie S says:

    Boreas says: “you and I are both concerned more about the future”

    We should all be Boreas! Tell that to a narcissist!

  17. Charlie S says:

    JohnL says: “Sorry pal, but that’s the way we created the greatest country in the world, and hopefully that’s the way we’ll keep it.”

    Greatest country in the world? The same country where school shootings were born! Where a white American misfit goes in and point blank shoots not a few harmless, little innocent boys and girls!The same country where we okay our leaders to sell off our national parks, our heritage, to oil and gas corporations! The same country which invaded Iraq, a country who were no threat to us at all, killed a million of their citizenry, most of them women and children………… we forgot about that already. How about our pollution problems with nothing being done to correct it, our prison population….. How about the division between us! We take little Mexican children away from their parents, snatch them right from their mommies arms, and carry them off to who knows where some of them are to this day. This is outright horrible and how anybody can be okay with this is beyond me. Geez! I can go on and on JohnL. I just don’t get this “greatest country” line and I’m in high hopes that this is not the way we keep it!!

    • JohnL says:

      Yup, that country Charlie. Funny, if everyone believed your incredibly negative vision of this country, nobody would be trying to move here. We’re flawed, because we’re human, but the beauty of our country is that it provides the freedom to evolve and solve problems as they show up.
      I’m very sorry that you’re so unhappy living in a country that you obviously have no love or respect for. I sincerely hope 2020 is a better year for you. Happy New Year.

  18. David Gibson David Gibson says:

    In reply to Steve B. question: I believe the Cedar River bridge conveying Finch,Pruyn private leaseholders north was destroyed by flood/ice c. 1978. These lands and river shorelines (without a bridge) were sold to The Nature Conservancy c. 2007 and then sold to New York State (as Forest Preserve) in 2012-13. The unit management plan for a new bridge was approved by NYS APA and DEC in late 2015.

  19. Joe Martens says:

    Interesting dialogue as always. From where I sit, the judge’s decision was sound and well reasoned and I hope you all read it. What’s often forgotten is that local governments have a right to veto state land acquisition in the Park (using the Environmental Protection Fund, which is pretty much the sole source of land acquisition funding). In the case of the Finch acquisition, 27 towns affirmatively approved it. And what those towns wanted out of the process, from day 1, was community connector snowmobile trails. So DEC worked with the towns and the environmental community to lay out trails in the UMP process that complied with the SLMP, were the least disruptive and used, to a large extent, preexisting roads and trails. Not everyone agreed with the final plan, but that’s rarely, if ever, the case. But would opponents of the Cedar River bridge and the snowmobile trail seemingly fail to recognize is that we would have nothing to fight or argue about if local governments didn’t agree to the acquisition in the first place. This is a classic case, in my opinion, of not seeing the forest for the trees.

    • Boreas says:

      Joe,

      I feel the NYS land acquisition process is seriously twisted if not broken when taxpayers are not given the same right to “veto” large Forest Preserve acquisitions involving numerous municipalities. Currently, taxpayers are expected to buy a pig-in-a-poke under the lofty guise of land “protection” without knowing the environmental laws Albany intends to circumvent or ignore to accommodate local wishes. I certainly agree local governments should have the power to guide and veto state land purchases, but taxpayers (the buyers) typically do not find out about the details of these recreational development plans and the laws that may need to be circumvented until after the purchase has been pushed through in Albany. SLMPs with public input (rarely heeded) are developed after a purchase, not before.

      I don’t feel taxpayers should feel beholden to local governments who hold the power of veto over the process IF it is recognized up front that their recreational development wishes require ignoring or circumventing existing laws. It isn’t much different from a political flim-flam when taxpayers are left out of the process until after the ink has dried.

      Taxpayers should be involved in as much of the up-front acquisition process as localities, since it isn’t the localities that are purchasing the land – but rather it is NYS using the taxpayer funded Environment Protection Fund. I’ll repeat – ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. When recreational development in the Forest Preserve conflicts with existing environmental law, the details should be worked out prior to purchase. If it cannot be worked out, perhaps the land should stay in private hands until it can be worked out. This may ultimately result in fewer state land acquisitions, but it may keep policy decisions above-board and out of the courts. Private and non-profit landowners are often better stewards of wild lands, especially since they are required to adhere to environmental law. Apparently this is not so with NYS.

      Buyer beware.

  20. John Boy says:

    I fully agree with the very pertinent/factual comment made by Joe Martens who pointed out that all parties had a seat at the table day one. The minority folks who did not get there way can and do head to the courts to oppose the majority. I can feel for a minority as that is what the Upstate folks have to live with /endure as a fact of life . More so now that downstate demographic fully runs/controls Albany I may not love are current liberal governor but he does try to give the Upstate a chance to make it $ on there own.

    • Boreas says:

      John Boy,

      First, I am not sure who you mean by the “minority folks”. Was there some sort of a vote I am unaware of?

      Yes, SOME parties had a seat at the table prior to purchase, but certainly not all had the same power. Of the parties at the table, did everyone have the same power of veto? Not at all. Some essentially had no power at all in the process – just the chance to voice their concerns. (I guess these groups would be the “minority” to which you refer.) So their only option is to try to block the steamroller in the courts. It is a silly process, but filing lawsuits is the only way to bring attention to environmental law being twisted and broken. It is essentially the only power the environmental community has. But it is arrogant and presumptuous to refer to taxpayers with environmental convictions as a “minority”.

  21. Charlie S says:

    JohnL says: “if everyone believed your incredibly negative vision of this country, nobody would be trying to move here. We’re flawed, because we’re human, but the beauty of our country is that it provides the freedom to evolve and solve problems as they show up.”

    I speak the truth and I’m being incredibly negative. So let me see black and white only hey John! We are ‘deeply’ flawed and until we all start feeling it in our wallets, or pocketbooks, which, unfortunately, seems to be the only thing that stirs people, only then will we wish for, and start making, real change, change for the better….for the better of us all not just the select few! Better for the environment and precious ecosystems which should be the #1 issue always! Happy New Year to you too!

  22. Charlie S says:

    Joe Martens says: “From where I sit, the judge’s decision was sound and well reasoned and I hope you all read it.”

    “we would have nothing to fight or argue about if local governments didn’t agree to the acquisition in the first place. ”

    It seems to me that Mr. Gibson states a solid case on how very wrong this decision was in accordance to New York State law. Who are we to believe? The townships desperate for revenue at any cost or Mr. Gibson?

  23. Charlie S says:

    Gary and Nancy Hartwick says: “We support DEC’s view. The bridge is not massive nor is it unattractive nor does it damage the environment.”

    How about the snowmobiles it will accommodate? How about the cutting of over 100 trees? Etc….

  24. Charlie S says:

    adkDreamer says: “Watching TV helps”

    Society sure has changed since the advent of television not necessarily for the better which would make the above statement moot at best.

  25. Paul says:

    The court didn’t “rubber stamp” anything – they made a ruling. This “rubber stamp” label is what people put on a ruling that they didn’t like.

    • Boreas says:

      Paul,

      I agree – this court decision was not a rubber stamp. The rubber stamping occurred when the controversial UMP was implemented despite the legal issues brought to light and ignored by the administration at that time. Despite this administration’s soft spot for the snowmobile lobby, there is no overwhelming, widespread support for motorized access to the Forest Preserve backcountry. The continued support of one type of motorized access while prohibiting others by citing questionable environmental differences is folly. Internal combustion motors, wide trails, large bridges, and the continued purposeful circumventing of existing environmental law is something that needs to be addressed at the constitutional level, not individual court cases.

  26. Adk Resident says:

    Sorry David, the courts don’t agree with you.

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