For 40 years, since the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, highway crews dumped salt all over this wilderness to clear roads of snow. The cleared roads were obvious, but came with hidden dangers to people and places.
Researchers, regulators and residents have worried, complained, studied and suffered for years — yet the state has done little to get its arms around the problem of road salt contamination, much less try to dramatically reduce the use of salt.
This year, maybe something changed. The Explorer, which has been covering the damage done by road salt for years, spent even more time talking to the victims of the pollution — people who suffered property damage and health problems they blamed on salt. We looked into the legal roadblocks the state puts up to avoid accountability.
It’s easy to dismiss problems caused by something we keep on our table to put on our food, but too much of anything is a bad thing. And, soon, we may learn from the state how bad: Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to study road salt damage done in the Adirondacks and ways to stop it.
In the end it’s a study bill that creates a task force, which means — well, who knows what that means, since the report it will produce is several years away and those recommendations may be too weak to matter or strong but never followed. That said, this could change the way we think about salt in New York and change how much we use. — Ry Rivard