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Old 09-23-2013, 07:12 PM   #1
Bill I.
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NYCO Constitutional Amendment

This fall NYS voters will be asked to vote for or against "Proposal 5," which would amend the "forever wild clause" to allow a land trade with an Essex County mine.

Here is my view:

http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/20...-preserve.html
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:23 PM   #2
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I don't want to see another one of these political fights on here but I am in the same boat: I am firmly against this!

I wonder how many voters actually know what this really means?

I'm also pretty disappointed in our appointed officials that it even got to this stage. It doesn't give me a good feeling for the future...
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:17 PM   #3
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Interesting article Bill. I was unaware of this, thanks for bringing it to attention.
After reading through I think I have to agree with you.
I think the line "The facts show little more than a corporation seeking public land for industrial purposes" says it all.
No thanks.

Last edited by Justin; 09-23-2013 at 09:11 PM.. Reason: added my first thoughts
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:40 PM   #4
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I'll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about any of this but my question is, would it be worse to extend the existing mine or to have them petition the state to develop a mine on another piece of land and have it voted on and passed so there's now 2 seperate mines? Forgive my stupidity but I would like to know more about this.

Last edited by rollinslover64; 09-24-2013 at 06:01 AM..
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:55 AM   #5
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I'll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about any of this but my question is, would it be worse to extend the existing mine or to have them petition the state to develop a mine on another piece of land and have it voted on and passed so there's now 2 seperate mines? Forgive my stupidity but I would like to know more about this.
NYCO already owns land nearby on another mountain where they can begin mining. When the current mine reaches the end of its life, they will be required by law to "reclaim" it--i.e., fill it in and plant trees.

So they can keep mining on their own land and not bother the voters of the state.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:07 AM   #6
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NYCO already owns land nearby on another mountain where they can begin mining. When the current mine reaches the end of its life, they will be required by law to "reclaim" it--i.e., fill it in and plant trees.

So they can keep mining on their own land and not bother the voters of the state.
Bill, do I read correctly that a no vote would shoot down the RL proposal?
If so I will be voting yes based on the RL situation. It's a shame that we couldn't vote for each case separately!
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Old 09-24-2013, 11:04 AM   #7
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I have been on the fence about this particular amendment for some while. At this point in time, I have made up my mind as being opposed to this proposal. Bill has made a well-organized and well-written explanation as to his concerns, and he states it far more eloquently than I do. However, it is clear from Article XIV that the lands of the CURRENT forest preserve are not to be exchanged. Perhaps it is appropriate in cases where we protect the livelihood of certain towns such as with ensuring power supplies, but this is simply in the name of corporate greed. It may not appear as such, but it is.

If the mining company owned land around Lake Colden, and made this proposal in such a (more scenic) portion of the park, would there be ANY debate about this? There would be an overwhelming ‘no’. In my opinion, this is only being considered because this is not a prime area of the park. This is setting a dangerous precedent for “defining” values of different portions of the park. The forest preserve IS the forest preserve. No one portion is more important or valuable than any other portion. Perhaps aesthetically, but certainly not actually.
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Old 09-24-2013, 11:46 AM   #8
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Here is what I find "interesting" if not scary. We have a governor whom is clearly on the side of development, who hasn't shown the appreciation for the wilderness that past governors have and now suddenly we are dealing with amending the Forever Wild portion of the Constitution.
My skeptical self warns me that this is but a precedent and that regardless of the issues, including the RL fiasco it's setting the plate for meddling with the amendment in favor of developers in the future.

Just for the record I agree whole heartedly with Bill.
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:35 PM   #9
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Bill, do I read correctly that a no vote would shoot down the RL proposal?
If so I will be voting yes based on the RL situation. It's a shame that we couldn't vote for each case separately!
I believe that the RL issue is Proposal 4, here is a copy of all the proposals http://www.elections.ny.gov/ProposedConsAmendments.html
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:16 PM   #10
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Bill, do I read correctly that a no vote would shoot down the RL proposal?
If so I will be voting yes based on the RL situation. It's a shame that we couldn't vote for each case separately!
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Originally Posted by Paleofreak View Post
I believe that the RL issue is Proposal 4, here is a copy of all the proposals http://www.elections.ny.gov/ProposedConsAmendments.html
Alpine1, I apologize if I gave the impression that both amendments were married to each other, but they most definitely are not.

If you follow Paleofreak's link, you will see that there are actually six amendments on this year's ballots. Proposal 4 covers Raquette Lake / Township 40, and Proposal 5 is NYCO. Each one should be its own line item on the ballot.
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:37 PM   #11
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Alpine1, I apologize if I gave the impression that both amendments were married to each other, but they most definitely are not.

If you follow Paleofreak's link, you will see that there are actually six amendments on this year's ballots. Proposal 4 covers Raquette Lake / Township 40, and Proposal 5 is NYCO. Each one should be its own line item on the ballot.
Actually I was being lazy by asking...
Thank you Paleo for clarifying with your link
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Old 09-25-2013, 04:42 PM   #12
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Can someone please tell us where the 1,507 acres the state would receive in the swap lie? Bill Ingersoll's claim that they are lowlands without much scenic interest notwithstanding, I would prefer to judge for myself.

Edit: Never mind. Found it. There is some prime real estate in what NYCO wishes to swap. Direct access from a road to Slip and Saddleback, and the Arnold and Hardwood Hill parts I believe have vistas from open rock, don't they? Sure would like to get into those places . . .

Last edited by Gregory Karl; 09-25-2013 at 05:46 PM..
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:44 PM   #13
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Can someone please tell us where the 1,507 acres the state would receive in the swap lie? Bill Ingersoll's claim that they are lowlands without much scenic interest notwithstanding, I would prefer to judge for myself.

Edit: Never mind. Found it. There is some prime real estate in what NYCO wishes to swap. Direct access from a road to Slip and Saddleback, and the Arnold and Hardwood Hill parts I believe have vistas from open rock, don't they? Sure would like to get into those places . . .
There is already direct road access to Slip and Saddleback. I've been to both, and had no difficulty getting to both. The new lands would be primarily downhill from the Jays, along Derby Brook. If I were to do those mountains again, the routes I used in 2008 would still be more direct.

As for Hardwood Hill, read the very first line in this article.

The map below is my understanding of where the proposed parcels are located. Note that none of these are described in any way in the text of the amendment, meaning that these parcels are speculative.
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File Type: jpg NYCO-Land-Swap-Proposal.jpg (89.5 KB, 256 views)
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Old 09-26-2013, 06:49 PM   #14
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There is already direct road access to Slip and Saddleback. I've been to both, and had no difficulty getting to both. The new lands would be primarily downhill from the Jays, along Derby Brook. If I were to do those mountains again, the routes I used in 2008 would still be more direct.
I'm not worried about the directness of the routes particularly. I've climbed both as well, Slip from a rather indirect route, over the the shoulder of Saddleback and then through the beaver swamp in the saddle to which the Derby drainage leads.

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The map below is my understanding of where the proposed parcels are located. Note that none of these are described in any way in the text of the amendment, meaning that these parcels are speculative.
If the parcels are ultimately defined as illustrated on the map, I say take the deal, run, and don't look back.

Satellite imagery of Hardwood Hill sure suggests substantial open rock to me. Haven't been there yet.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:49 PM   #15
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The map below is my understanding of where the proposed parcels are located. Note that none of these are described in any way in the text of the amendment, meaning that these parcels are speculative.
I am not opposed to this amendment on basis of principle. But I do have some concern about the sincerity of those involved in this amendment for the simple reason that, as Bill says, the actual text of the amendment makes no mention of specific properties. None of this will be determined until after the fact. The cynical side of me would rephrase and say that "none of this will be announced until after the fact", i.e., the real deal may already be in place but with the deal makers unwilling to talk about the details.
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If the parcels are ultimately defined as illustrated on the map, I say take the deal, run, and don't look back.
Problem is that there is no way of knowing apriori "if the parcels are ultimately defined as illustrated". It will be too late before that detail is known.
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:13 PM   #16
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I'm looking forward to a night of drinking after Election Day. But until then there's work to do:
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:31 AM   #17
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Copied from my post in the Fay Mountain Bushwhack thread:

"...As to the mine - sure it's not pretty. But I'm not a fan of the philosophy that says "I want to claim control of everything I can see from the mountaintop." If I can see your house on your private land from a nearby state land hill, does that mean your house should be bulldozed because it doesn't look like "wilderness"? Next we'll be claiming that everything we can see on sat photos has to look a certain way...

Folks should decide on the land exchange proposal on the actual merits, not on the fact that the current mine looks like, well...a mine. The actual merits are well spelled out by ADK at:

http://www.adk.org/page.php?pid=291&...ews-amendments

I still stand by that. Now that we know how much excellent new land we are getting on the other side of the Jay Wilderness (enough to actually expand the JW to the 10K acre "wilderness" size!), I stand by it the more strongly. This land swap is a good deal for the Wilderness - we are gaining far more than we are trading away; and therefore it just doesn't matter what the traded away land is going to look like while it's being mined.

Not to mention the jobs, although it's obvious most people don't give a rats ass about the jobs...it's seldom even mentioned - "let them eat bark."
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Old 11-02-2013, 12:08 PM   #18
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The problem as I see it is we do NOT know what other land NYS will be getting in return. The maps only indicate possibilities. If there were specific parcels then I might consider it. However that brings me to issue #2.

My second issue is the principle. We, NYS, if the passage of this amendment goes through, point ourselves towards a slippery slope in which we begin to trade our wild lands to commercial interests. This is the slippery slope towards eliminating Article XIV and the forever wild clause in its entirety.

Right now it is just one trade, what next? After a few more "good deal" trades, someone (likely a business person with commercial interests) will say "hey, instead of having to amend the Constitution every time for each of these trades, lets just amend the constitution to allow it all the time and save everyone all the trouble." After that will be the epiphany to "lease the land to commercial interests that way NYS doesn't lose the land and still makes some money off of it."

Do not be deceived, this is the ultimate goal. They to know repeal of Article XIV will not happen all at once so the strategy is to chip away at the edges until "it makes sense" to the masses. Then they will strike. This proposition is the first chip at the edges of Article XIV.

You have been warned. Vote NO on Prop 5.
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Old 11-02-2013, 12:44 PM   #19
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I'm voting no as I think this will open a huge can of worms in the future.

I also don't put much stock into what ADK thinks. After all, they want Wilderness for the Essex Chain, but Wild forest for the Boreas tract.

Last edited by dundee; 11-02-2013 at 05:51 PM..
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Old 11-02-2013, 12:58 PM   #20
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I still stand by that. Now that we know how much excellent new land we are getting on the other side of the Jay Wilderness (enough to actually expand the JW to the 10K acre "wilderness" size!), I stand by it the more strongly. This land swap is a good deal for the Wilderness - we are gaining far more than we are trading away; and therefore it just doesn't matter what the traded away land is going to look like while it's being mined.

Not to mention the jobs, although it's obvious most people don't give a rats ass about the jobs...it's seldom even mentioned - "let them eat bark."
The map of the proposed new lots was shared earlier in this thread. Look at it real closely. Yes, some of the lots are adjacent to the Jay Mountain Wilderness, but the largest pieces are closer to the roads. Somebody is even apparently proposing a road INTO the Derby Brook parcel for whatever reason. Because roads are non-conforming in Wilderness Areas, most of these lots could not qualify as Wilderness additions.

Furthermore, Lot 8 is very close to Slip Mountain, one of the Jays' largest peaks. When you climb Slip, Lot 8 is the only thing providing distance between you and NYCO. Lot 8 is therefore the buffer that makes the Jay Mountain Wilderness feel like a wilderness, despite its small size. So by subtracting Lot 8 from the Jay Mountain Wilderness, you are not just subtracting 200 acres from a total of 7896 acres, you are diminishing the Jays' core area. By contrast, those new lots that might qualify for wilderness additions--assuming they aren't encumbered by third-party ROWs or other non-conforming uses--are peripheral and nowhere near the core area.

I question whether the Hardwood Hill and Arnold Mountain lots would even have public access, since Nugent Road ends at Ward Company lands, as I recall.

As for the jobs, Proposition 5 is employment-neutral. NYCO has +/- 100 employees today, and they will continue to have them on Wednesday November 6 regardless of the vote results. The actions prescribed in Proposition 5 have nothing to do whatsoever with hiring and firing decisions. The pro-NYCO crowd are assuming that NYCO will mine wollastonite at one consistent, plodding pace--so if it takes them 10 years to exhaust one mine, it will take them 20 years to go through two mines, thereby keeping people employed longer. We usually call this "job security."

But no one can seriously make such a prediction, because no one has any idea what future market conditions will be--and this is what will really influence NYCO's staffing decisions. If the price of wollastonite spikes, NYCO will mine faster. If the price tanks, they could stop mining altogether. They could burn through both mines in a short amount of time, which would negate that benefit to its workers--who I'm guessing are paid by the hour, not the tonnage. Or NYCO could just drag out Lot 8 indefinitely, keeping it active just enough to avoid the legal requirement of having to close it; Prop 5 has no sunset provision.

The point is that no one can possibly know these things, because they will be driven by the global market. Any projections of prolonged employment beyond the exchange of lands is merely speculation, because once NYCO has Lot 8 they can mine it at whatever pace they choose.

Last edited by Bill I.; 11-02-2013 at 01:10 PM..
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