Park agency requests more company data
By Chloe Bennett
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) on Thursday held off from voting on an application to expand a mining operation along the southern border of the park.
Coeymans-based Carver Sand & Gravel owns an operation in Ephratah in Fulton County and requested the expansion to increase the supply of larger rocks and deliver materials for offshore wind projects near Long Island, according to a presentation. The company said it is also involved in the Living Breakwaters, a project designed to protect against storm waves and long-term erosion.
The application changes sought would increase loading and trucking hours by 2 hours, starting at 6 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m. Trucking trips would grow from 75 to 200 a day. Blasting would increase from 18 to 30 times a year.
Board members including Art Lussi expressed unease over the proposed changes. “My 7 a.m. is not negotiable, so if I have to vote against this because they’re starting at 6 (a.m.), I’ll vote against it,” Lussi said.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Some public comments to the APA, including from the town of Ephratah, called for the company to reconsider its proposals. Hours of operation, not notifying residents of blastings and excessive speed were among areas of concern. The town did say it wants to work with the company to ensure a smooth process.
Nearby residents including Kenneth and Barbara Mosenthin expressed concern about dust, noise, traffic and possible contamination of their water well. “We can not see why a business feels it must run those hours disrupting peace and quiet at early hours and running past normal,” they wrote.
In response, the company told the APA that the expansion is mainly to increase vegetation buffers along the site to decrease dust and noise coming from the mine. They said changes to its hours are only for truck loading and maintenance operations, according to the presentation.
A 2021 enforcement case involving the company was also noted. The mine exceeded its monthly blasting limits, trucked outside of permitted hours and began expanding into the adjoining lot, according to the APA. It settled the case with an unspecified fine.
Before agreeing to table the vote, the board called the company with their concerns, resulting in a request from Carver to extend its application for 30 days.
The board requested more data from the company, including information on how new climate resiliency projects, such as the offshore wind project and the Living Breakwaters, have increased its production.
The State Land Committee proposed changing land classifications for around 6,000 acres within the Blue Line. Members of the committee surveyed sites in need of updates to see their infrastructure, remoteness and ecological features.
The work is part of a reclassification project of 25 state land proposals, including six map corrections. An interactive map and description of the project was published on Oct. 12.
Eight of the reclassification proposals suggest taking the land from a more restrictive to a less restrictive land classification. Rollins Pond in Saranac Lake, for example, meets the criteria for intensive use, not wild forest. A 31.9-acre storage area for the Department of Environmental Conservation in Harrietstown, which was once used as a landfill, would be reclassified from wild forest to administrative use.
Among the committee’s proposed map corrections was reclassifying a 208.5-acre camp owned by the State University of New York at Cortland, which was listed as moderate intensity use. The land would be updated to state administrative should the package be approved.
A public comment period opens on Oct. 13 and lasts until Nov. 27. Comments can be directed to SLMP_UMP_Comments@apa.ny.gov. The APA is also holding three public hearings on the package. One will be virtual from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 1. Attend by going to https://tinyurl.com/APAClassPkg or calling 518-549-0500, access code: 2331 477 3001. Another hearing will be held in person from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the same day at the Adirondack Park Agency headquarters in Ray Brook. The final hearing will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 13 at the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s public hearing room, First Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany.
The committee’s full presentation is available on the agency’s website.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the public hearing information. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated an APA email and its website publishing date.