One of the Adirondack Explorer’s priorities over the last couple of years has been to thoroughly explain the park’s hidden water quality issues, including the problems associated with New York State’s heavy use of road salt in winter. So it was a nice affirmation recently when the Society of Environmental Journalists honored that work, and reporter Ry Rivard, with an honorable mention.
Here’s what the judges wrote: “We awarded an Honorable Mention to the Adirondack Explorer and reporter Ry Rivard for dogged reporting on New York state’s overuse of salt on roads. The work was an impressive demonstration of how a tiny staff can carry out aggressive investigative oversight of issues valuable to the community. Rivard tracked down a mystery of what was killing crops, harming cows and poisoning wells in areas close to the roads. And he painstakingly documented, with very readable stories, how a decision to oversalt roads for the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics was never reversed, threatening the area’s pristine water. The series of stories helped prompt the New York legislature to call for reform of the practice.”
You can read about the awards, and all the great competition from around the country, at this link.
That kind of dogged work is what we’ve invested in, and what we intend to continue. It also got Ry a job a Politico, but policy reporter Gwendolyn Craig has picked up the issue, most recently writing about how a task force that was supposed to make some recommendations by next month hasn’t even been appointed yet. We’ll continue following that story. It could take a while now, given the governor’s announcement that he will resign.
Photo: A state highway truck dumps road salt in Tupper Lake. Photo by Mike Lynch/Explorer file photo
Editor’s note: This first appeared in the Explorer’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.