Almanack Contributor John Sheehan

John Sheehan

Before John Sheehan joined the Adirondack Council's staff in 1990, he was the managing editor of the Malone Evening Telegram, and previously worked as a journalist for the Troy Record, (Schenectady) Daily Gazette, Watertown Daily Times and Newsday. For the past 20 years, John has been the voice of the Adirondack Council on radio and television, and on the pages of local, regional and national media.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

John Sheehan: EPA’s Budget, Acid Rain Research

dead spruce trees

The Adirondack Council on Wednesday praised New York’s Congressional delegation for its efforts to secure approval of a $1.3-trillion federal appropriations agreement that eliminated significant cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Congress has approved and President Donald Trump has signed a resolution continuing the current funding plan for the federal government through the end of FY2018. The plan increases EPA’s budget, while providing funds for other important environmental and public health priorities. » Continue Reading.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Lonesome No: Chad Dawson And His Boreas Ponds Vote

On February 2nd, as the Adirondack Park Agency’s board was listening to its staff’s proposal for a final agency recommendation to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the classification of Boreas Ponds and the 20,500-acre parcel surrounding the ponds, board member Chad Dawson asked some tough questions of his fellow board members.

Dawson is a professor at the State University of NY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and an internationally recognized expert on recreation, natural resources and wilderness management. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Testimony on Proposed Repeal of Clean Power Plan

Navajo Generating Station emitting flue gas emissions near Page, Arizona, United StatesOn January 9, Adirondack Council Chairman Robert Kafin called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to drop its proposal to repeal the federal Clean Power Plan, calling the notion “illegal and unreasonable.” He urged the EPA to instead begin enforcing the plan.

His comments were part of his testimony on the impacts that the proposed repeal would have on the Adirondack Park’s environment and communities. He presented his testimony during a hearing held in Manhattan by NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. Schneiderman and DeBlasio. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sheehan: Comptroller’s Letter Helped Move Rail Cars

stored tanker carsAll those who applauded Berkshire Hathaway’s recent decision to remove its derelict oil tank cars from a junkyard along the Boreas River should also applaud NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, whose unheralded Dec. 12 letter to CEO Warren Buffett helped to persuade the company to act.

It turns out that New York has a large stake in Berkshire Hathaway. New York’s Common Retirement Fund (CRF) owns 5.7 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock. DiNapoli administers the CRF. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 16, 2017

John Sheehan: Adirondack Land Bank Amendment Results

Article 14, Section 1 New York State Constitution Forever Wild clauseAdirondack Park local government officials and conservation organizations both spent a nervous few hours after the polls closed on Election Day this year, worrying that Proposal Three – the community health and safety land bank – would be defeated. It passed by a slim 52 percent to 47 percent margin (about 100,000 votes out of 3.1 million cast).

As Adirondackers from across the political spectrum look towards working together in 2018 and beyond, there are important lessons to learn from this close vote. The park’s continued success depends on our understanding the state’s voters. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Glamping Catches On Alongside The Forest Preserve

adirondack safari glampingWith New York State officials contemplating new ways to induce economic development in the Adirondack Park, the idea of connecting communities more directly to the surrounding Forest Preserve makes plenty of sense.

As Governor Cuomo said at the 2017 Adirondack Challenge this summer:

“You want to develop the asset (the Adirondack Park) because we need jobs, we need the economy, we need tourism. It has to be done in a way that doesn’t disrupt or deteriorate the asset. Because the Adirondack Park is not just an economic asset, it’s not just a state park, it really is a gift from God. I believe that. There is a spirituality to the Adirondack[s] … that is undeniable. And the last thing we would want to do is diminish that asset. Our goal is to leave it even better than before for our children.” » Continue Reading.


Friday, June 23, 2017

John Sheehan: Land Bank Constitutional Amendment Not Finished, Yet

NYS CapitolA bi-partisan team of NYS Legislators reached a tentative agreement on an amendment to the “Forever Wild” clause of the State Constitution Wednesday night, but were unable to get the final bills approved before members of both houses returned to their districts.

Sponsors were hopeful today that the final agreement could be approved by both houses before the legislative session ends for the year. Neither house had declared its session to be formally ended when both houses sent their members home shortly before midnight Wednesday. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

John Sheehan: Adirondack Highlights of Proposed State Budget

NYS CapitolGov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal for FY2017/18 includes a $300-million appropriation for the Environmental Protection Fund.  This is complemented by a five-year, $2-billion dollar commitment to clean water infrastructure grants; a $50-million “AdventureNY” proposal for recreational infrastructure; $32 million in public and private funds to establish the former Frontier Town in North Hudson as a new High Peaks gateway; and, $153 million for an “Empire State Trail” that would include a leg through the Adirondacks, near Lake Champlain.  The Adirondack Council and others have been enthusiastic about these proposals. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 11, 2016

John Sheehan: Decision Makers Should Heed Booth’s Classification Advice

Dick BoothPrior to his retirement as a member of the Adirondack Park Agency’s board, environmental attorney and land-use regulation expert Richard Booth prepared a memo for all to consider as the APA decides how to recommend classifying tens of thousands of acres of newly acquired Forest Preserve lands — including the Boreas Ponds tract in North Hudson and Newcomb.

After eight-and- a-half years as an APA board member, Booth understands that the 11-member board has some discretion when it comes to making decisions. However, his memo reminds them that state policy strongly favors the creation of new wilderness (motor-free) areas in the Forest Preserve and places important limits on the board’s discretion in future classification decisions. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Acid Rain Reductions Should Inform Climate Change Strategy

acid rainAs nations engage in the Paris climate summit, we can take comfort in the fact that we have learned how to vanquish acid rain over the past 30 years and we can apply the same methods to curb global warming.

There was much to celebrate in New York when the International Acid Rain Conference: Acid Rain 2015 was held at the Riverside Convention Center in Rochester in late October. The pollutants that cause acid rain have been curbed sharply.

The amount of sulfur-based air pollution falling on New York State has been reduced by a whopping 92 percent since 1985. That was the year when New York enacted the nation’s first law to control acid rain.  Nitrogen oxides have decreased by more than 70 percent over those same 30 years. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 17, 2015

EPA’s Greenhouse Plan Protects Park, Sets Global Pace

1024px-Gavin_PlantOn August 3rd the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it had set tough new standards for controlling greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel power plants.

This final Clean Power Plan would reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.  That is a nine-percent deeper cut than EPA’s preliminary plan, announced last year. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Aaron Mair Named President Of Sierra Club’s Board

TMDA LogoMembers of the new Adirondack Diversity Advisory Council were pleasantly surprised on May 16 when the Sierra Club’s national board of directors elected Aaron Mair of Schenectady as its first African American president.

Since it was founded, Aaron has helped to spread the word about the ADAC to people who care about the Adirondack Park. He and we want to see the park become a more welcoming place to people of all races and cultures. He has also been a tireless advocate for environmental justice, social equity and political empowerment for under-represented minority voters in Upstate New York. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

It’s Time to Raise the Age for Criminal Prosecution

TMDA LogoThis spring, New York has an opportunity to modernize its criminal justice system so it helps children who get into trouble with the law, while also helping our communities become more diverse, prosperous and successful.

A goal for the State should be to help troubled youths lead more productive lives. This, in turn, will make our communities safer and more productive. The State Legislature can help the Adirondack Park build a brighter future for our communities, as it protects our clean water and wilderness, by raising the age as the Governor has proposed. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Feds Preserve Local Jurisdiction Over Cell Towers

Exit 29 Cell Tower - North Hudson (APA Photo)A coalition of New York’s environmental and historic preservation organizations is expressing its gratitude today after receiving a decision from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that preserves the rights of state and local governments to regulate the size, shape and visibility of telecommunications towers in scenic and historic areas, including the Adirondack Park.

In January, the groups sent a joint letter to the FCC, urging federal officials to recognize that scenic beauty and historic significance are the backbone of local tourism, both inside and outside of the Adirondack Park.  In public comments on a proposed FCC rule, they asked the commissioners to reject the notion that expansions of 10 percent or more in the height or width of cell towers would have no impact on the environment or historic preservation. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Adirondack Council: State of the Park Report Issued

Adirondack Council State of the Park 2014The Adirondack Council published our annual State of the Park Report today, covering the year 2014. It is a comprehensive and informative review of the local, state and federal government actions affecting the largest park in the contiguous United States.

You won’t find anything like this for other major American parks. We believe that the Adirondack Park is a special place, deserving of special attention.

Long time Adirondack Council members may be scratching their heads about the release of our State of the Park report just a day or two after Labor Day. Normally, our annual review of the actions of local, state and federal officials comes out in October.

This year, we decided to complete the report a month early to give our members the information they need to judge the efforts of any candidates who may be on the ballot for primary elections, normally held in mid-September. Up for election this year are the entire Legislature, the Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General, as well as candidates for the 21st Congressional District, which covers the entire Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.


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