Vice-Chair, Conservation: Peter O'Shea, 315-848-2178
The merger of the Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks (RCPA) and the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks will become official on July 11, 2009. The new organization, to be called Protect the Adirondacks, intends to hit the ground running to confront the many threats that now face the Adirondack Park.
One of those threats is the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort near Tupper Lake, which would be the largest project ever proposed to the Adirondack Park Agency and which is proposed to be financed in part by public funds. The project was in mediation as a prelude to adjudication when the developer abruptly discontinued the process, apparently to shore up his support with the business and political community. The APA has ordered the developer back to the mediation process. A new group has formed in Tupper Lake to support the resort, threatening to demonstrate in the APA parking lot. The developer for his part is stridently blaming “environmentalists” for the delays in the project while ignoring the fact that much of the required application on his part is incomplete. Stay tuned!
The Environmental Protection Fund has been reduced due to the current fiscal crisis, decreasing the amount for land protection. Several crucial projects in our area have temporarily been put on hold, including the Clerical Medical and Lassiter lands that were to form the proposed Boreal Wilderness Area. The Nature Conservancy holdings of Finch Pruyn and Follensby Pond appear to be going forward. The Nature Conservancy incurred substantial debt with these two wonderful acquisitions. Those wishing to help defray the expenses of the “Finch-Follensby project” may call the Nature Conservancy at 518-576-2082 and ask for Nancy Van Wie.
The now-defunct St. Lawrence Aquarium and Ecological Center was to receive $16 million from the New York Power Authority in compensation for environmental damage incurred during the building of the power project. The funding was to be for both economic development and environmental enhancement. The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Authority and the four towns involved—Lisbon, Massena, Waddington and Louisville—have applied to NYPA to use the $16 million, apparently for economic development only. At a meeting of the NYPA Board of Trustees on May 19, NYPA President and CEO Richard M. Kessel assured local environmentalists that the interests of the environment would be taken into consideration in the disbursal of these funds. He directed VP Paul F. Finnegan to work with local environmentalists to achieve that goal. An informal coalition of groups has been established in this regard with Richard Grover (315-379-9697) coordinating at the outset. Environmental and educational projects in the above four towns will be considered for funding.