SIERRA CLUB URGES “NO” VOTE ON PROPOSITION #5 TO ALLOW MINING ON FOREVER WILD LAND

ON NOVEMBER 5, SIERRA CLUB URGES “NO” VOTE ON PROPOSITION #5 TO ALLOW MINING ON FOREVER WILD LAND IN THE ADIRONDACK FOREST PRESERVE
Atlantic Chapter For immediate release:

Contact: Roger Downs, Conservation Director, 518-426-9144, Charles C. Morrison, Adirondack Committee, 518-583-2212

ON NOVEMBER 5, SIERRA CLUB URGES “NO” VOTE ON PROPOSITION #5 TO ALLOW MINING ON FOREVER WILD LAND IN THE ADIRONDACK FOREST PRESERVE

The Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club urges New Yorkers to vote “no” on Proposition 5, which would amend the State Constitution’s “forever wild” provision and allow NYCO Minerals Inc. to mine wollastonite ore on a 200-acre parcel of Adirondack Forest Preserve. The proposed land (Lot 8) adjoins one of NYCO’s currently operating open pit mines, the Lewis mine, in the Town of Lewis, Essex County, in the Adirondack Park. NYCO proposes to “buy” LOT 8 by gifting private land (currently amounting to about 1500 acres) of “equal or greater value” to the State.

Roger Downs, the Conservation Director, Sierra Club’s Atlantic Chapter, said: “The term “forever wild” loses meaning when we allow parcels of our remaining wilderness lands to be developed for private commercial gain. The Forest Preserve and the 119-year old protection afforded to it by Article 14 of the State Constitution should not be for sale at any price. The proposed land exchange does not represent any real improvement to the wilderness legacy of the Adirondacks. The agreement would provide new protection to land that isn’t imminently threatened, while leaving a massive hole in the ground where wilderness protections were once guaranteed. This kind of horse trading sets a lower bar for legislative behavior and if approved by the voters will lead to even greater pressure from mining, logging and real estate development interests to convert New York’s wild forests into private cash cows.”

Section 1 of Article 14 reads as follows: “The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged or be taken by any corporation public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.”

Charles Morrison, a spokesman for the Atlantic Chapter’s Adirondack Committee said: “The State legislators who voted for this proposal in the closing days of the legislative session have not been given the full facts. For example, proponents of this deal have kept quiet that NYCO has been planning for the closure of the 1970s Lewis Mine all along and the company opened a second mine at Oak Hill in the late 1990s, two miles away from the Lewis mine, to replace it. In 2006, NYCO submitted a 25-year plan to State agencies to phase out its Lewis mine and transition to full operations at Oak Hill by 2016 where the ore is as good or better than at Lewis. There is no economic emergency here that requires the voters to amend the constitution.”

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Morrison continued:

“NYCO has made baseless threats to shut down, leave the Adirondacks and eliminate 95 mining jobs at Lewis, if they don’t get Lot 8. But the reality is that NYCO isn’t going anywhere. Those jobs will be transferred to the Oak Hill Mine by 2016 and it has invested a hundred million dollars in a mill in the Town of Willsboro, where NYCO also has a third mine. If the voters allow NYCO to destroy “forever wild” Forest Preserve through exploratory drilling and if it is found that the ore vein on state land is not to their satisfaction then NYCO can walk away without giving the State any mitigation land or other compensation for all the damage caused. This is a poorly conceived land swap and undeserving of voter approval.”

SIERRA CLUB URGES NEW YORKERS TO VOTE “NO” ON PROPOSITION # 5 THAT WOULD ALLOW NYCO MINERALS INC. TO PROFIT BY MINING THE FOREST PRESERVE.

The Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter is a volunteer led environmental organization with 38,000 members statewide committed to protecting New York’s air, water and remaining wild places.

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353 Hamilton Street Albany, NY 12210 (518) 426-9144 – fax (518) 426-3052 http://newyork.sierraclub.org
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