Tuesday, November 21, 2023

APA develops battery storage application

Battery modules

We have quite a bit of news to share with you out of last week’s Adirondack Park Agency (APA) meeting.

In light of a proposed battery storage system in Raquette Lake and the state’s working group studying battery fires, the APA announced it is creating an application for such infrastructure when it falls under the APA’s jurisdiction. You can read more about that, and the state’s working group update here.

 

My colleague Zach Matson also wrote about the agency’s approval for herbicide use in Paradox Lake to combat invasive Eurasian watermilfoil. Read more on that here.

Invasive Eurasian watermilfoil.

Invasive Eurasian watermilfoil. Explorer file photo by Mike Lynch.

The agency also voted last week to approve expanding the trucking hours and monthly blasts for Carver Sand and Gravel’s mine in Fulton County. You can read more about that here.

construction site

Carver Sand & Gravel owns an operation in Ephratah in Fulton County and has requested an expansion through the Adirondack Park Agency. Photo courtesy of the APA via screenshot.

During a break in the meeting, I asked APA Executive Director Barbara Rice for an update on the agency’s headquarters and the feasibility study for moving to the village of Saranac Lake. Rice said there was nothing new. Bob Glennon, former executive director of the APA, also asked Rice if there was an update during the agency’s final public comment period of the day. Rice said a decision has not yet been made.

“We’re continuing to evaluate the Saranac Lake site, but we continue to have the Ray Brook site as an option,” she said. Rice told Glennon she hoped the feasibility study could be complete by March.

I also asked Rice for an update on the agency’s hiring of a new counsel. Chris Cooper left the post in September. Associate Counsel Sarah Reynolds has been filling in at the board meetings while the agency searches. Communications Director Keith McKeever said about 20 people have applied. They did not have an update on when a new counsel may be hired.

David Gibson, managing partner of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, publicly questioned the agency about another open position on its website for an executive assistant with a salary between $79,410 and $99,213. During the morning public comment period, Gibson said he thought the job duties were redundant and such funds could be used for other high-priority jobs. I asked Rice about this, and she said it is an existing position that has been vacant for almost two years. The title was changed from secretary (Rice said she felt this title was outdated), to office assistant, to executive assistant. Rice said the agency had advertised for an office assistant three times and didn’t get any applicants. She has been operating without an assistant for nearly two years, she said. The job posting has since been removed from the agency’s website. I’ve inquired whether it has been filled.

Also of note, agency board members stayed after the Thursday meeting for a training on adjudicatory hearings. The agency has not held an adjudicatory hearing, the only way it can deny a permit, in over a decade. APA Chairman John Ernst said the training was not held because an adjudicatory hearing was to be expected soon, but rather it was held to inform new board members about them. Reynolds said the training was closed to the public because trainings do not fall under the definition of meetings in Open Meetings Law.

 

Forest preserve:

The APA held three public hearings this month, two in person and one virtually, on a slate of state land classifications. The only member of the public to show up at the Albany public hearing was yours truly.

McKeever told APA board members that attendance for all three hearings “was less than glorious,” but said the package didn’t appear to have many controversial issues. The last time the APA had hearings on land classifications involved the Boreas Ponds, where McKeever recalled overflowing hearing rooms.

The agency is accepting written comments on the current package until Nov. 27. If you’d like to look again at the story map staff created, click here: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/62e2d75c42844667a4f5bba0f52e1a29. The interactive map at the start allows you to zoom in on specific parts of the Adirondacks and see the differences between state land in 1972 versus today.

We likely won’t see this package of land classifications get adopted until sometime next year.

 

APA public comments:

View all APA public comment and hearing opportunities at: https://apa.ny.gov/Hearings/index.cfm. The latest project is below.

  • National Grid proposes to install a 43.25-foot-tall utility pole with antenna along an existing electricity distribution line within the East Hill Road transportation and utility right-of-way in the town of Parishville. Comments are due Dec. 14. To see a site plan and to comment, go to https://apa.ny.gov/Hearings/ApaCommentPopup.cfm?ProjectNumber=2023-0207.

 

Environmental Notice Bulletin:

Last week’s state Department of Environmental Conservation’s environmental notice bulletin had no new projects out for public comment.

 

Postscript: 

I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving. We’re grateful for your readership. Leaving you with a photo I snapped of the reflections on Chapel Pond last week along state Route 73.

 

Photo at top: These battery modules, supplied by the battery company BYD, show a similar-sized project to the one proposed in the hamlet of Raquette Lake. Photo courtesy of BYD.

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.




8 Responses

  1. Joe Kozlina says:

    As for the APA putting pesticides in paradox lake. Have we not seen this play out for the last 50+ years? ……New chemical from Dupont or Monsanto, ……..10 years later it is toxic to everything including humans. PFAS for example or Roundup or Sevin. And you still have the thing you are trying to get rid of? Sure lets go ahead and experiment with a new untested chemical and use the Adirondacks and its wildlife for the proving grounds .
    Again headed down the same old path of self destruction and thinking we are doing something benificial to the planet.

    • Paul says:

      This is just the usual spread of false information.

      This chemical has been thoroughly tested and approved for safe use by the EPA.

      It is not from Dupont or Monsanto (who no longer exists).

      What would you prefer? We let the lakes get choked with invasives that we know have a terrible negative impact on the environment?

      • Joe Kozlina says:

        First, all the BANNED pesticides and herbacides were at one point given the green light and proved “safe”by the EPA, only later to be found to be just poison. At this point the entire planet is covered with invasive species. We continue to react with chemicals to respond to a problem we continue to encourage. We humans caused this problem, we humans need to deal with it in a sustainable way. Spreading poison in our waterways is not sustainable or smart. I dont have all the answers but I do know it is time to bite the bullet and respond to these problems and not be reactionary. We put these plants into the water without chemicals,we need to remove them without chemicals.

  2. Pat Boomhower says:

    What Joe K says is exactly my argument too!

  3. Joe Kozlina says:

    This solution should raise a few eyebrows! I read that the milfoil can spread by boats churning up the water and spreading it to other locations in the lake. Also that cleaning the bottom and motor and trailer of the boats is difficult and invasives are brought from other lakes in the state. So a solution, If we continue to clean the milfoil by divers and suction and also stop the churning of the waters by motorized boats we may have a chance of eliminating or slowing the spread of the milfoil. I would guess cleaning the bottom of a non motorized boat would be easier than cleaning all the crevaces of a motorized boat. And also the reduction of the carbon smoke, oil leakage, and noise pollution on the lake and Adirondacks would be welcomed.
    Cost was also mentioned in the article. “Being the herbicide is cheaper than using divers to clean it up”. It also seems that the chemical solution puts the divers out of work in order to go the cheaper route.
    In summary this suggestion is about keeping local divers employed, limiting the pollution on the lake, eliminating the milfoil, and having a quieter and cleaner environment all around. Trying this before dumping poison in a lake seems a safer way to go .

    • Paul says:

      Most of the divers (maybe all of them) are volunteers. But your idea would put lots of people who work in the water sports industry and the Adirondack tourism jobs related to it out of work.

    • Fisherking says:

      The only thing more depressing than watching a lake get overrun by itinerant boaters is to watch a lakes shoreline be developed beyond recognition in a lifetime.

      • Rob says:

        Ah another person who wants to take away all recreational activities on a lake except for sitting there and watching still water

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