Letter to the governor calls for action
By Tim Rowland
Protect the Adirondacks! called on Gov. Kathy Hochul Tuesday to use her power to spring the release of a report aimed at helping to reduce the amount of road salt washing into Adirondack waterways.
The Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force report was mandated in December 2020, when the Randy Preston Road Salt Reduction Act was signed into law, creating the Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force.
The task force, which includes leaders of the state Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation, completed its deliberations in late 2022.
“As a new winter and road salt season approaches there has been no news or public information about the report, which has apparently been drafted for months,” Protect said in a letter to the governor.
Members of the task force themselves have criticized the state for failing to release the report, telling the Explorer in May that they were disappointed it was not released by an agreed-upon deadline in December 2021 that would have seen its publication in time for the state’s spring budgetary deliberations.
Assemblyman Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay, who sponsored the legislation establishing the task force, said at the time it was “ridiculous that the state continued to drag its heels.”
Protect agreed. “It’s intolerable that many of the Adirondack Park’s grandest lakes are polluted by road salt. The intolerable shouldn’t be tolerated. The Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task has had enough time. Adirondack communities must not be made to continue to wait another winter and continue to endure salt pollution as usual with no action,” said Peter Bauer, Protect’s executive director. “We urge Governor Hochul to demand that the Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task report is finalized and released as soon as possible.”
A spokesman for the transportation department indicated that publication is imminent. “The report is being finalized and we expect it to be released very soon,” said Joseph Morrissey.
The assurance was greeted skeptically by task force member Robert Kafin who emphasized that despite work being completed nearly a year ago state agency officials “have used every trick in the bureaucratic play book to obstruct and delay the publication of our report.” He said he’s even lost faith in the state Department of Health.
“Maybe they thought we would get tired and go away,” Kafin said. “The refusal to let the Governor, Legislature, and public see our recommendations sends a clear signal that DOT has little, if any, intention of changing its damaging and unhealthy practices or that DEC and DOH have the guts to call them on that.”
James M. Odato contributed to this report
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