Top state officials sending representatives to salt talks
By Zachary Matson
The top leaders of state agencies in charge of implementing recommendations to reduce salt use in the Adirondacks will not be on hand Tuesday for an annual road salt summit in Lake George.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos were both invited to the event hosted by the Lake George Association but will instead send surrogates.
The two commissioners co-chaired the Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force, which in September released a report outlining strategies to reduce salt use in the Adirondacks to protect its waters. The agencies will be in charge of enacting the report’s proposals.
Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, a task force member and summit organizer, said he thought this year’s gathering was an opportunity for the state leaders to demonstrate commitment moving forward with salt reduction recommendations.
“We had hoped that the commissioners would be present to really show the importance of the task force’s report,” Navitsky said. “It seems like this summit, which is a well-established event that focused on the very issue, would have been the perfect venue.”
Sean Mahar, DEC’s executive deputy commissioner, and Rob Fitch, with DOT’s division of transportation maintenance, are scheduled to deliver remarks on behalf of the agencies.
The annual summit, celebrating its eighth year, brings together road crews, water scientists and advocacy organizations interested in new approaches to winter road management.
A panel of task force members will share thoughts on findings and next steps to see recommendations acted on.
“What are we going to do from here? I think that is the big question,” Navitsky said. “What’s next?”
The summit, scheduled for 8 a.m. Tuesday at the Fort William Henry Hotel conference center, will also include panels with road crews that have reduced salt use in recent years and organization leaders committed to engaging local communities to adopt new winter road strategies.
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