Streams

Land Swaps on the Ballot

Monday, November 04, 2013

Brian Mann, reporter and Adirondack bureau chief for North Country Public Radio (NCPR), talks about the two ballot proposals that involve swapping land in the Adirondacks, one to settle a title dispute and the other to preserve jobs.

How the Question is Framed on the Ballot

The proposed amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the Constitution would authorize the Legislature to convey forest preserve land located in the town of Lewis, Essex County, to NYCO Minerals, a private company that plans on expanding an existing mine that adjoins the forest preserve land. In exchange, NYCO Minerals would give the State at least the same amount of land of at least the same value, with a minimum assessed value of $1 million [≈ 1965 typical CEO pay], to be added to the forest preserve. When NYCO Minerals finishes mining, it would restore the condition of the land and return it to the forest preserve. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?

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Comments [15]

Nick from UWS

20 years from now there will be all this whining, sniffling and hand wringing about the endless rape, uglification, ground pollution, air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, decimation of wildlife and ruination of the Adirondacks. And I’m really going to enjoy all the misery, because people vote against their own interests, the interests of their children, the interests of the planet, every time. They thoroughly deserve what they get and fuck ‘em all. But it’s really too bad that smart people have to suffer for the decisions of imbeciles.

Nov. 06 2013 09:33 AM
Nancy Sinkoff from Morningside Heights

Kudos to the two Brians. The ADKS belong to all New York state residents and being as informed as possible is vital for our democracy--and tax dollars. Brian Mann has consistently reminded downstate environmentalists and ADK fanatics (I plead guilty) that protecting and supporting the human communities in the ADKS is vital to keeping the park 'forever wild.' We will vote 'yes' to both propositions.

Nov. 05 2013 09:55 AM
Lisa Feldman from Westchester, NY

Thanks for doing this segment on the propositions -it's very important and entirely overlooked.
I'm deeply conflicted about this amendment. There is alot of misinformation circulating regarding it. First, NOWHERE in the text of the amendment is 1500 acres mentioned. By law, NYCO is only required to swap 200 acres for the 200 it will get from NYState. NYCO's website is the only source that mentions 1500 (and the numerous articles re-porting that). Second, NYCO's name is misleading. It is NOT a NY based company. It was sold last year to a huge international conglomerate based in Greece. I can't imagine they will have New Yorkers' interests at heart. Third, NYCO has 2 other mines in the area. The Oakhill mine has at least another 15 years worth of Wollastonite to mine. Plenty of time to find an alternate site that's NOT in protected land. And finally, "Forever Wild" should mean "Forever Wild". While it has been amended before, never to a private, for-profit company. This would set a dangerous precedent.

Nov. 04 2013 11:59 AM
Nan from Hempstead, NY

There are TWO Adirondack land swap items on the ballot but Brian only addressed the controversial proposal in Proposition #5. I am dismayed that there was NO DISCUSSION of the unanimous support PROPOSITION #4 has received. This proposition also adds land to NY's Forever Wild Forest Preserve at NO COST to NYS taxpayers and will solve a century old title dispute. Proposition #4 is supported by the NYS legislature and ALL environmental groups.

Nov. 04 2013 11:57 AM
Nick from UWS

Why is an essential element of this story being ignored, as Todd From UWS points out below? What is this 1500 acres?

Nov. 04 2013 11:44 AM
Nick from UWS

Let's stop with the hedging. The ecology would not be "changed dramatically". The ecology would be ruined.

Nov. 04 2013 11:41 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Protecting the environment is not about how beautiful the trees are. It's about the carbon dioxide they absorb & the habitat they provide for other kinds of life, both animals & other kinds of plants that depend on the trees. If the trees are >100 years old, it would take >100 years for the forest to reach a similar state after they're cut.

Nov. 04 2013 11:39 AM
Todd from UWS

What are the 1500 acres we'd be getting?

Nov. 04 2013 11:39 AM
Nick from UWS

100 JOBS? In exchange for writing in stone in perpetuity, in the NYS Constitution, a green light for the exploitation of the Adirondacks? Are you people friggin' insane? DO NOT DO THIS.

Nov. 04 2013 11:35 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I love the Adirondacks and I have mixed feelings about this. I wish down-staters would visit the park more.

Nov. 04 2013 11:34 AM
Nick from UWS

Never do this. Never make so-called "deals" of any kind with corporations about wilderness or park land - it's an evil slippery slope that can never be reversed. Mining and energy corporations are evil, rapacious and destructive beyond imagination. This would be a mistake that would be regretted for generations. History has proven this to be true over and over and over. DO NOT DO IT. DO NOT APPROVE THIS.

Nov. 04 2013 11:32 AM
Alice McMechen from Warwick, NY

Regarding Proposal # 4, on this morning's news the reporter stated that there was no opposition to this proposal.

According to the Voters Guide prepared by The League of Women Voters, there is indeed opposition. I find their statement a game changer. I quote: "Opponents of the amendment argue that a legislative settlement would establish a poor precedent for other private land ownership disputes in the Adirondak Park, inviting an endless stream of private bills and constitutional amendments. They argue that similar land disputes have been resolved via the judicial system and that that is the appropriate vehicle to settle such disputes because it provides transparency and an independent authority, which they say the proposed process does not. In addition, they claim that the fees to be collected from the occupants is greatly less than the accessed worth of the land and will not be sufficient to acquire comparable or better land to be added to the forest preserve, thus delaying the private parties' clear land title until the town government and the state government can agree upon a land purchase."

Nov. 04 2013 11:25 AM
steve from upper west side

VOTE NO ON BALLOT PROP. 5. Do not allow NYS Adirondack Forest and Park Land, protected as "Forever Wild", to be handed over to a Greek-owned polluting mining corporation with no allegiances to either NYS or our environment. This ballot proposal is only designed to profit a private corporation with potential negative consequences for our State and our environment. It misleads us into thinking we'll get more land in return, yet how often have such compensatory swaps never been realized, or the land returned be of lesser environmental value? It would rely upon this polluting mining corporation to clean up their mess and return land in pristine shape, yet we have much too much history to believe this ever might happen. PROTECT NYS -- PROTECT OUR NATURAL ENVIRONMENT -- and VOTE NO on Ballot Proposal 5.

Nov. 04 2013 11:20 AM
Jon from Essex Cty NJ

I grew up in a town on the edge of the Adirondacks. Pretty easy sitting on UWS to rail about evil of corporations as nearly every part of NYC is dependent on their success.

Drive around up there in the north country away from the tourist towns and ski resorts. Some of the poorest parts of the state and many many people who just get by. If the state has control aka enforcement of how the mining is handled then this ia a no-brainer YES.

Decent non-govt jobs are very hard to come by up there and this is chance to bring back a small slice of an industry that used to bring benefit to rural NYS.

Nov. 04 2013 10:31 AM
Nick from UWS

Never do this. Never make "deals" of any kind with corporations about wilderness or park land - it's an evil slippery slope that can never be reversed. Mining and energy corporations are evil, rapacious and destructive beyond imagination. DO NOT DO IT.

Nov. 04 2013 08:22 AM

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