ADK-ON Conservation Committee
7/7/14 Mary Coffin

The ADK Conservation Committee met as usual in August by conference call. The next meeting is 11/1/14. Let Kathy Disque or me know if you wish to attend with us.

CURRENT HOT TOPICS:
1.Rail transport of Alberta tar sands oil

[bitumen, heavy crude] from Montreal to Albany for processing: ADK is formulating its position on this issue. The hazard is risk of derailment or explosion due to the type of rail tankers used [older DEC111 thin walled tankers] and the proximity of the tracks to Lake Champlain, Mohawk and Hudson Rivers and the lack of a response plan for heavy crude [does not float but sinks in water].

Bakken, a very volatile, highly flammable, explosive, light sweet crude, is presently shipped to an Albany processer, Global, who has been given a permit by the DEC to build seven gas-fired boilers, and to allow the off loading of heavy petroleum products from tank cars by heating the contents of those tank cars. It is hoped that these tank cars will be required to be beefed up [thicker more puncture-resistant shell or jacket, extra protective head shields at both ends of tank car, and additional protection for the top fittings].

2. Aquatic Invasive Species [AIS] legislation: Watercraft are now required to be rinsed off and drained before entering a body of water to prevent transfer of AIS.
That means as responsible paddlers we should rinse off our kayaks and canoes after each trip. 94 lakes and rivers in the Adirondack Park have some of these invasives but the majority are free, so far. Examples include: Asian clam, hydrilla [acquatic weed], quagga mussels and spiny water flea. ADK supports this.

3.ATV permitted weight increase: There are proponents for increase in the permitted weight for ATV use on public lands. These larger 4 wheelers weighing up to 1500 lbs are really little utility trucks used mostly in agriculture. They seat 3 people side by side. ADK opposes this. One of our landowners in Cortland County was killed when his 4 wheeler rolled over on him.

ONGOING ISSUES:
1. Classification of Finch Pruyn/TNC lands AKA Essex Chain: Amendments are being made by DEC regarding the snowmobile/multi use trail up the middle between the two other units [Hudson George Wilderness Area & Essex Chain Primitive Area]. Does a bridge over the Cedar River violate the State Land Master Plan?

2. Rail Trail UMP reopened by DEC for public comment: DEC is now proposing to make the tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid [34 mi] into a muti use bike & snowmobile trail. The tracks between Tupper Lake and Utica [includes Beaver River and Old Forge] would remain in place. One reason is that this southern corridor owned by the NYS DOT passes through sensitive and remote wilderness. Look for public hearings this fall. ADK has not yet taken a position on this other tan to support the second look at the UMP and is concurrence with the SLMP.

3. NYCO-Jay Mt. Wilderness land exchange: A State court has placed a ban on drilling on State land [lot 8] by NYCO to test to see if these is enough wollasonite to make the land trade for mining feasible. This is a result of Protect the Adirondacks and other environmental groups filing suit. It is felt that the SLMP and SEQRA are violated. ADK is not listed in the suit.

4. Fracking- No change. It is election time!!! There is still a ban on high volume hydrofracting in NYS while the NYS Dept. of Health and DEC determine human heath hazards and environmental [ground water etc] hazards. But drilling companies are putting pressure on the Governor to lift the ban. ADK still advocates no drilling on or under State land.

Conservation/environmental focus hike: The Great Swamp Conservancy, Canastota, Nov 22. Wear boots!

Additional information on ADK’s positions is available by pulling down the “ADVOCACY” tab on WWW.ADK.ORG as well as by signing up to receive ADK TODAY on line.
Other good Adirondack environmental sites: www.protectadks.org, www.adirondackexpress.com, www.adirondackalmanack.com,