Tuesday, May 9, 2023

State budget takeaways for the Adirondacks

a rowboat in a lake

The state budget is one month late, but we are finally seeing some budget bills. As of 4 p.m. on Monday, lawmakers were just beginning to vote on some of them. Of particular interest for Adirondack Park projects is the capital projects budget bill. This bill includes the Environmental Protection Fund, where many Adirondack-specific projects are appropriated. The recently released bill has the EPF at $400 million.

I’m in the process of noting some proposed spending, and will have a story if and when the bill passes. But in my quick skim so far here are a few things that stood out:

  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry is slated to get $2.1 million for the Timbuctoo Summer Climate and Careers Institute;
  • Adirondack and Catskill visitor safety and wilderness protection, a carve-out not part of the proposed executive budget, appears back at $8 million. Many groups hoped it would be increased to $10 million;
  • The Ausable River Association could get $2 million for studying climate change and Adirondack lake ecosystems, money that was not part of the executive’s budget. Groups originally had hoped for $4 million;
  • The village of Lake Placid may get up to $300,000 to purchase land associated with the Adirondack Rail Trail parking area;
  • Cornell University could get up to $500,000 for controlling hemlock woolly adelgid;
  • The Olympic Regional Development Authority could get $90 million for maintenance and upgrades to its ski and other facilities.

Editor’s note: You can read Gwen’s story on Adirondack budget wins here (The story was published after this newsletter was sent).

Pushback against APA’s proposed comment policy changes

I filed a Freedom of Information Law request with the Adirondack Park Agency for public comments about its proposed public comment policy changes. Over 600 pages arrived. While many of them were signed form letters, it was clear, most people are unhappy with what the APA has proposed.

Of note was a joint letter from four former APA officials that read:

“The limits in the policy proposal read like public comments are a bother to be pushed off to a time when people have one foot out the door or are otherwise beginning to think of the next event.”

The APA is scheduled to meet on May 11. It’s not clear if it will vote on these proposed changes. You can read our story about the public’s feedback here.

New development

A Key West, Florida developer bought a more than 900-acre former Boy Scout camp near Lake George for $9 million in cash. I spoke with Pritam Singh about his plans for the property. He is in the pre-application process with the Adirondack Park Agency for a class A regional project in resource management lands permit. You can read more here.

Photo at top:Phil Snyder, Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation program manager, and Sue Capone, longtime ALSC staffer, row down Avalanche Lake on the way to collecting water samples in September 2022. Photo by Mike Lynch

This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Gwen is the environmental policy reporter for Adirondack Explorer.

One Response

  1. It’s great to hear that the state financial plan is at long last being decided on, despite the fact that it’s a month late. The capital undertakings financial plan bill is especially significant for Adirondack Park projects, as it incorporates the Ecological Security Asset, which appropriates assets for some Adirondack-explicit tasks. It’s promising to see that the EPF is at $400 million, and I’m intrigued to see what explicit tasks will be supported. It’s uplifting to see that different associations might get subsidizing for significant ecological examinations and undertakings.

    Elsewhere in the world, the proposed changes to the Adirondack Park Organization’s public remark strategy have gotten critical pushback from people in general, including previous APA authorities. The APA is planned to meet soon, and it is not yet clear assuming that they will decide on the proposed changes.

    At long last, it’s fascinating to find out about the new improvement nearby, with a Florida engineer buying a previous Boy trooper camp close to Lake George. It will merit watching out for the designs for this property and what it might mean for the general climate.

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