Vice-Chair, Conservation: Gene Kaczka
Given the difficult economic situation confronting New York State, Governor Spitzer is proposing several actions in his budget proposals that jeopardize the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The fund was established to insure that environmental projects are protected from the fluctuations of the state budget. Over the last 15 years it has been the main source of funding for open space, water quality and recycling programs. The Governor’s budget proposal spends the minimum amount mandated by a recent law—$250 million—but at the same time proposes to add about $10 million in new categories into the fund, which reduces the amount of money in existing categories and “sweeps” out $125 million of cash in the fund to pay for the general obligations of the state. This amounts to an unacceptable raid on the fund when the states’ needs are high.
There are at least $200 million worth of unfunded land acquisition projects in the Adirondacks alone. ADK has sent out an Action Alert inviting members to write the NYS Assembly and Senate to influence the budget negotiation process. There is much at stake for the future of Adirondack Park lands.
Erie Boulevard Hydropower and Brookfield Power have released their Pre-Application Document (PAD) for the Oswegatchie Hydroelectric River Project as part of the relicensing process. ADK and the Laurentian Chapter will participate in the hearings to try to insure that environmental, cultural and aesthetic resources are protected and that recreational access is maintained and expanded. These hearings resumed on March 12 and will be followed with further efforts to solicit input through the license application submittal in 2010.
The PAD identifies existing recreation facilities opportunities and notes the need for canoe portage trails at all developments on the river. Any chapter member who has insights to share regarding recreation, land use and aesthetics issues relating to the hydropower facilities on the Oswegatchie are encouraged to share your concerns or perspectives with chapter members John Omohundro or Bob Wakefield.
The chapter will consider some trail development work on county parcels near Postwood Park. Still in the early stages of the discussion, this opportunity would provide some very attractive locally-accessible recreational resources. Stay tuned.