To the Valley News:
There has been much written about the upcoming decision to the voters about the Land Swap with the State of New York and NYCO Minerals. Hardly a mention has been made of the Oak Hill Mine in Lewis, almost adjacent to the Seventy Mine. What is missing is the fact that the Oak Hill site was permitted: project 96-76 June 12, 1998. Statements were made and assurances given that NYCO would be moving it’s operations to the Oak Hill site by the year 2000. Therefore, in good faith, the citizens, Residents for Responsible Mining (RRM), NYCO, The Adirondack Council, RCPA, and other involved organizations participated in an Adjudicated Public Hearing held by the Adirondack Park Agency in Ray Brook. These hearings took about two years preparation, expert witnesses, thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and intense negotiations with attorneys and officials. These efforts were rewarded with very workable and acceptable Permit Conditions for ALL. This included air quality monitoring, water quality in the streams, private water well monitoring, noise decibel levels, blasting controls, hours of operation, trucking routes, etc.
Will these conditions be applied to this new expansion? The Seventy Road mine has none of these reasonable conditions in place, and I have seen a previous expansion within a year of the Oak Hill permit. The Oak Hill site has it’s own access road and has only been used for extracting “cap rock” for Graystone (Graymont?) - gravel. How much reclamation has occurred since 1982 at Seventy Road Mine?
It may well be that this swap is indeed a good idea, but people should know the facts, details and make decisions based on reality and consequences. NYCO Minerals does NOT need more land to continue it’s operations and viability. They already have a new mine. The very same claims were made to increase the Seventy Road operations in 1998. Therefore the north country is NOT in peril of losing a major employer, nor is NYCO in danger of collapse. What will be the governing Permit? There are not great numbers of residents that will be affected, but do they have a voice? And what are the long-effects to not only the citizens, but the Adirondack Park and it’s environment??