The Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith’s College collected data showing that two-thirds of the wells it tested downslope from state roads were polluted by sodium beyond the federally recommended health limit of 20 parts per million. State crews spread salt to de-ice the roads, and it ultimately spills into nearby streams and leeches into the groundwater.
State Supreme Court Justice Richard Aulisi, after hearing three weeks of trial testimony this summer, reversed his own initial ruling in the eight-year-old lawsuit brought by the landowners who want strangers kept off their lands and waters.
Hydroelectric companies previously had paid most of the dam’s operating cost and passed it on to their customers, until a federal court in 2008 ordered the formula changed to comport with federal regulations.
Water is the lifeblood of the Adirondack Park’s tourism, adventuring and second-home economy, as well as its wilderness. Its lakes and rivers face multiple threats ranging from salt to human waste and invasive plants and aquatic animals.
Federal authorities have halted consideration of whether the 30-mile rail line from North Creek to the former Tahawus mine in the central Adirondacks should be declared abandoned, ordering the current owner and a potential buyer to file a status report by Jan. 22, 2019.
The original 1999 easement, for which the state paid $1.7 million, allowed six hunting camps in perpetuity, requiring removal of 30 others from the tract in Colton within 15 years. That deadline fell three years ago.
New York spent about $214 million in the last snowplowing year, according to New York’s Office of General Services.
New York’s Department of Transportation this winter plans to test better salt management practices for 17 miles of Route 9N north from Lake George Village and 16 miles of Route 86 from Lake Placid to Wilmington.
A new ruling is expected by year’s end in the eight-year-old lawsuit that pits landowners against outside paddlers over rights to a two-mile waterway in the remote northwestern Adirondacks.
New York officials said the Tahawus line has no active shippers and the owner has “no reasonable prospect for developing future freight service.” That permits a federal finding of abandonment under the test of “public convenience and necessity.”