Conservation Archive gene

Conservation Report

July, 2007

Vice-Chair, Conservation: Gene Kaczka

ATV Clubs and local roads It appears that local ATV Clubs are lobbying Pierrepont and Colton to open some local town roads to ATV travel. One can currently observe illegal road use in Hannawa Falls and Colton. Efforts to open roads have been rejected by the courts in recent years in Jefferson and Lewis Counties.

Trail Partnership Patrick Ames, Program Leader of 4H Youth Development for the Cornell Cooperative Extension of St Lawrence County, has asked to collaborate with the chapter on local trail work projects. He would like to join us with a group of young people from the 4H program who are interested in acquiring experience in trail improvement or maintenance. If you are planning a project, Pat has asked that you contact him by calling (315) 379-9192 ext. 226 or by email at pta@cornell.edu.

Oswegatchie The relicensing of projects on the Oswegatchie River will be considered soon. The St. Lawrence County Environmental Management Council (EMC) plans to develop a proposed resolution with supporting information by its July 18th meeting. The proposed resolution will then be passed along to the county legislature for their consideration in late July or August. Many members of the Laurentian Chapter have enjoyed canoeing on various portions of the river and may have valuable knowledge and information about the river that should be shared with the EMC. It could help in the alignment of the ADK and EMC positions. Please contact David Katz, our webmaster, and member of the EMC, with suggestions and supporting information about what ought to be included in the draft resolution.

ADK & Supreme Court On April 30, ADK learned that the United States Supreme Court turned down the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and utility industry’s attempt to seek Supreme Court review of our recent New Source Review victories in the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. ADK’s theory of the case ultimately was the basis of the Circuit Court's opinions. To read the states' and ADK's legal petition requesting that the Supreme Court deny EPA and the utility industry's appeal visit http://www.adk.org/issues/NSRIISupremeCourtDecision.aspx.

Under the Clean Air Act and subsequent amendments, existing sources (utilities) of air pollution were not required to immediately install pollution controls. However, Congress provided that whenever a grandfathered power plant undertook a service life extension project or replaced major components that increased its emissions it would have to incorporate pollution controls like flue-gas scrubbers. The intent of Congress, affirmed by the above-referenced victories in the Circuit Court of Appeals, was that existing older plants would, in the near future, be retired and replaced by new generating plants with the latest air pollution control technology. If the older plants were rebuilt to extend their service lives, they would have to be retrofitted with flue gas scrubbers. EPA and the electric utilities unsuccessfully argued for several exceptions to the program to indefinitely delay installing such controls on these old dirty plants. This should begin to end the plague of acid rain and mercury deposition in the Northeast. This decision builds on ADK's recent U.S. Supreme Court success in the Duke Energy case. Refer to http://www.adk.org/issues/Clean_air.aspx for more information on the Duke Energy case.

2007-2008 NYS Budget The final budget, adopted by the governor and legislature on April 1 for the current fiscal year, increased the total Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) amount from $225 to $250 million. Only three years ago the EPF was only $125 million. The figure for land acquisition rose from $50 million to $55 million this year. The land stewardship category is $22.5 million— 50% more than the previous year. The land stewardship funds pay for hiking trail work, summit stewards, and unit management plan implementation. Also, the 109 staff positions that Governor Spitzer proposed to restore at the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have been approved, as well as the 55 new staff at the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the five new staff at the Adirondack Park Agency.

Unfortunately, the additional $25 million for the EPF came from an additional percentage transfer of the real estate transfer tax (RETT), not from the passage of the “Bigger Better Bottle Bill” (BBBB). This is a one-time boost in the RETT transfer, so it does not represent a permanent increase in the EPF. Thus, ADK will either have to work on getting the BBBB passed before the end of this legislative session or lobby for another means of increasing the EPF in the 2008-09 state budget. Had the BBBB been approved as proposed, the EPF would have been increased by an additional $100 million by 2008-2009. Some Laurentian Chapter members responded to ADK’s Action Alert on the EPF and BBBB by writing to or calling their Assembly member and senator asking them to support an EPF increase funded by the BBBB. We may need to call on your help again. Of course, we invite all ADKers to join in the effort.