Monday, November 6, 2017

At Boreas Ponds Will Governor Cuomo Learn From His Mistakes?

There will be no decision on the classification of the Boreas Ponds at the November meeting of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). The APA often does not meet in either December or January so it could be that there is no decision until February 2018 or after. The Governor has made it clear that he will make the final decision on Boreas Ponds and will instruct the APA on what to do. For it’s part, the APA has prepared the paperwork for the Boreas classification, but patiently awaits the decision by the Governor.

The Boreas Ponds sit as the centerpiece of a classification package of over 50,000 acres of Forest Preserve lands that the APA took to public hearing one year ago. Once the hearings concluded in mid-December a decision was supposed to be speedy with management set by the summer 2017 field season. Yet, here we are a year later with no decision in sight. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Adk Tanker Storage: Actions Governor Cuomo Could Take

stored tanker cars“They own the track so they believe they have the right to store their trains on their track in the Adirondacks. It is unsightly. It’s out of character with the Adirondacks. We don’t own the tracks. There’s a question as to what legal right we have to oppose it. But we oppose it one hundred percent and we are going to do everything we can do to stop the owner from storing the trains on those tracks.” – Governor Andrew Cuomo

So said Governor Andrew Cuomo to media gathered in Glens Falls last week concerning Iowa Pacific/Saratoga-North Creek Railroad (SNCRR) storage of old, supposedly cleaned tanker cars on rails in Minerva, Essex County, close to the designated “Scenic” Boreas River. The underlying land below and on either side of the tracks where tanker cars are being stored is “forever wild” Forest Preserve (Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest). » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Legal Case Against Storing Tank Cars In Adirondacks

A lot of people in New York State, including the governor, are upset that Iowa Pacific Holdings is storing empty tank cars on tracks in the Adirondacks. But what, if anything, can be done about it?

Iowa Pacific says that railroads are overseen by the federal government and so the state doesn’t have legal grounds to stop the storage.

But Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, argues that storing rail cars has nothing to do with rail transportation and so the state can assert jurisdiction. And he believes the state can take steps now to force Iowa Pacific to remove the cars. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 30, 2017

More Oil Tanker Rail Cars Moved Into Adirondack Park

oil tanks in the adirondacksSome 25 more out-of-service oil tanker railcars were brought through North River, alongside the Hudson River in the Town of Johnsburg, Warren County en route to little used railroad track in Essex County Monday evening. This is the second shipment of out-of-service oil tanker cars delivered to the Adirondack Park. More than 50 tankers have arrived, some parked across ‘forever wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve land.  The cars are being brought for indefinite storage by Iowa Pacific Holdings.

Despite strongly worded statements of opposition to this activity by Governor Andrew Cuomo, neither the Adirondack Park Agency nor Department of Environmental Conservation have acted. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Forest Preserve Oil Cars And Iowa Pacific Intentions

stored tanker carsI have a history of missing the big picture. When I see that a cleaning product “kills 99.9 percent of household germs,” instead of being comforted I worry about that one tenth of 1 percent. What’s that germ got? And will it destroy us all?

So I might be missing a perfectly logical reason why the Chicago-based Iowa Pacific Holdings LLC would think it a good idea to junk 2,000 flaking old oil tankers in the heart of the Adirondacks, where hikers and fishermen are seeking natural and spiritual repast, not a chain of rolling testaments to a (nearly) bygone era of dirty energy.

You wonder how this is this even possible in a land where, to hear some people tell it, you can’t even look at a spruce sideways, and the regulators sit around just waiting for you to commit some overt act that they can take you to court for. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Paul Smith’s Sustainability and Resilience Forum

Ma’ikwe Ludwig, a TEDx speaker and longtime sustainable community activist, will lead a presentation and workshop at the Paul Smith’s College VIC on Nov. 1.

The TED-style talk, which begins at 9:30 am, will be based on Ludwig’s recently published book Together Resilient: Building Community in the Age of Climate Disruption and touch on ideas such as sustainability initiatives taken at a community level. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Governor Cuomo Speaks Out Against Storing Oil Tanker Railcars

stored tanker carsAt an address at the Glens Falls Hospital on October 25th concerning a new cancer study by his administration in Warren County and Upstate New York, Governor Cuomo addressed the recent controversy around storing used out-of-service oil tanker rail cars by Iowa Pacific Holdings on a remote line in the central Adirondack Park. The Governor starkly denounced the plan.

The Governor said: “It is unsightly, it is out of character with the Adirondacks, nobody goes to the Adirondacks to look at old trains, they go there to look at the natural beauty. We don’t own the tracks, there is a question as to what legal right we have to oppose it, but we oppose it 100% and we are going to do everything we can do to stop the owner from storing the trains on those tracks.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Mirror Lake Water Quality Workshop November 2nd

mirror lake water quality workshopThe Ausable River Association will hold a workshop on Thursday, November 2nd from 1 to 4:30 pm at the Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid to discuss issues related to the protection of Mirror Lake.

Mirror Lake is the jewel of the Village of Lake Placid and serves as a hub for many recreational activities in the Village and the Town of North Elba. For the past three years, AsRA, in partnership with the Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI), has been studying the water quality of Mirror Lake. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Pete Nelson: Be Wary of Corporate Power in a Constitutional Convention

Article 14, Section 1 New York State Constitution Forever Wild clauseOn Tuesday, November 7th, New Yorkers have an opportunity to vote on Ballot Proposition 1: whether the State will hold a constitutional convention in 2019. Many of my colleagues in the Adirondack environmental world are urging a “No” vote. Anticipating that such a convention would be heavily influenced by moneyed special interests, they are concerned with possible threats to the legendary “Forever Wild” constitutional amendment that protects the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserves. They reason correctly that Forever Wild, being the gold standard in wilderness protection, cannot be improved, only weakened, and they don’t want to see State take that risk.

I share my friends’ concern about Forever Wild and I agree with their basic argument, but I do not join them in urging a “No” vote. My political DNA is too deeply imbued with grassroots, democratic activism for me to oppose this opportunity for the people of New York to directly act on the condition of their government. I also recognize that simply convening a constitutional convention does not expose the welfare to the Adirondack Park to unfettered abuse by special interests who would exploit it. No matter the goings on among the delegates to the convention, the people of New York will have the final say in the process, by virtue of their vote on any amendments in November of 2019.

But count me as wary.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Municipalities Can Save on Zero-Emission Vehicle Purchases

elelctric carDEC and the Office of General Services (OGS) have released details on their upcoming aggregate bid for plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles. All authorized users of the New York State Vehicle Marketplace (e.g., municipalities and state agencies) can participate.

Bid forms are due by the close of business on Tuesday, October 31, 2017.

The goal of this initiative is to reduce the costs associated with adding zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) to government fleets across the state. The first aggregate bid resulted in an 11% discount on Chevy Volts. The second round included a discount of 13% on the Prius Prime and a 28% discount on a Nissan Leaf. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Major Grant Funds Watershed Institute’s Invasives Work

Adirondack Watershed Institute stewardThe Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute has received a $594,276 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its ongoing work in controlling and preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The funds will go toward work carried out by AWI stewards at approximately 10 different locations, including Upper St. Regis Lake, the St. Lawrence River and the lower Raquette River Reservoirs. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

First Oil Tanker Rail Cars Moved Into Adirondack Forest Preserve

stored tanker carsOn October 17th the first used oil tankers were transported through Saratoga and Warren counties by the Saratoga and North Creek Railway, part of Iowa Pacific Holdings, to a section of siding track along the banks of the Boreas River in the Town of Minerva, Essex County.

On October 18, twenty-eight used oil tankers cars were lined on track north of the North Woods Club Road on rail line traversing the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest area of the Forest Preserve. Each tanker car is roughly 58 feet in length and the 28 cars line nearly one-third of a mile of rail track. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Opinion: Clean Power Plan’s End Will Mean Littered Landscape

Railroad train of tanker cars transporting crude oil on the tracks earth justice photoFew places would have benefited more  from the 2015 Clean Power Plan than the Adirondack Park. Had the plan been enacted, it would have abated mercury poisoning, cleared the air above the High Peaks of smog and checked acid rain, while, of course, slowing climate change. (It committed the US to cut greenhouse gas emissions by one third before 2030.)

Now that the Environmental Protection Agency has repealed the plan, not only will our air, water and wildlife suffer. Our landscape will too. Thirty miles of railroad tracks deep within the Adirondack Forest Preserve are more likely than ever to become a warehouse for surplus coal cars. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Study: Artificial Lights Disorient Migrating Birds

Migrating birds circle through the light beams during the 2017 Tribute in Light Billions of birds undertake migratory journeys each spring and fall. Most of these spectacular movements go unseen, occurring under the cover of darkness.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides some of the most compelling evidence yet that artificial light at night causes radical changes in the behaviors of migrating birds. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pete Nelson: To Address Overuse, Focus on Parking

This Columbus Day weekend I decided to put the issue of overuse in the High Peaks region to a little test.  I visited three of the most crowded trail heads in the area and hiked from two of them.  I also investigated the State’s grand relocation of the Cascade trail and parking.

What I saw confirmed a working theory I have been informally discussing with both private folks and local and state government employees.  The theory isn’t mine, indeed a number of people have the idea.  It’s a simple concept, really: back country overuse can be mitigated in large part simply by addressing parking issues.  In other words, we can manage recreation capacity by more effectively managing transportation capacity. » Continue Reading.