Monday, December 11, 2023

Dear Governor

low salt road sign

Hochul hears from salt reduction advocates

A pair of letters sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul last month urged the governor to do more to follow through on the road salt reduction proposals outlined in the Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force report.

The 10 members of the task force Hochul appointed joined a letter that asked her to empower state agencies to develop an action plan to implement the task force’s numerous recommendations.

A coalition of seven Adirondack organizations — including the Adirondack Watershed Institute, Adirondack Council and AdkAction — signed a second letter that outlined the groups’ proposal for moving forward. That letter suggested Hochul establish an interagency council that could bring together state officials to focus on salt reduction efforts. They also called for a new staff position to coordinate the interagency work.

A similar government body exists to facilitate work on invasive species, and the groups said it could serve as model for salt reduction.

Chloride Standards

The advocacy groups also called on the governor to back a proposal for the state to adopt a chloride water standard for aquatic life. The task force report also made this recommendation.

Water standards pertaining to aquatic life set thresholds that if passed could require pollution control plans to mitigate negative impacts.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency in 1988 recommended chloride standards of 230 mg/l for chronic exposure and 860 mg/l for acute exposure. Many states across the country adopted that standard over the years but never New York.

There may be movement for the state to finally change that. As the state Department of Environmental Conservation develops proposals for the latest update to the state water quality standards, a new chloride standard could be in the mix, according to a DEC spokesperson. More to come on water quality standards in 2024.


Photo at top: Signage indicating a reduced salt use area near Lake George. Explorer file photo.

This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park. Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.

7 Responses

  1. Peter and the boys better be quiet when the flood of applications for mines come for road sand.

  2. Rob says:

    A few flurries in the air here today. Supposed to get “maybe” an inch of snow. Plows have been out for a couple hours dropping salt. Don’t think it will change anytime soon.

  3. Rob says:

    Trying to figure out why any of my comments that await moderation on an article Zachary Matson writes never end up in the comment section????

  4. peter says:

    It is no surprise here that the major players supplying road salt are doing quite well and the Adirondacks are suffering as a result. It was mentioned that the salt finds its way into our cleanest bodies of water which will severely limit if not eliminate sources of clean drinking water which are essential. It is similar to pharmaceuticals – significant efforts are being made to ask people to bring unused outdated pills to pharmacies for proper disposal to avoid poisoning our drinking water sources.
    For anyone who knows business, Cargill is huge, Minnesota based – not being political here because both sides of the aisle do it yet Cargill was the major contributor to Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar when she ran for president. Could Cargill be contributing to Kathy Hochul? We citizens, taxpayers of NYS have a right to know if there is influence peddling here.

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