There will be a proposition on your ballot on Election Day asking you to vote to swap 200 acres of forever wild forest land for 1,500 acres of land owned by NYCO Minerals Inc. NYCO claims that the strip mine it’s presently working will be depleted in three to five years, and the land swap will allow NYCO to keep operating and save 100 jobs. When they’re done mining the 200 acres, they’ll return it to the Adirondack Park.
On the surface, this sounds like a good deal. But what NYCO is not telling you is that the 200 acres is old growth forest with some trees so large they’re estimated to be between 150 and 300 years old, and the 1,500 acres they’d swap has been logged. The present NYCO operation in Lewis is a strip mine, an open pit presently 150 feet deep and 1,200 feet across. The land swap would expand this open pit mine, which is what they would later return to the Adirondack Park. They’re also leaving out the fact that NYCO owns another mine near Oak Hill that they estimate has enough wollastonite to last another 20 years. In 2006, NYCO presented a plan to the Adirondack Park Agency to close the Lewis mine and continue at Oak Hill, so what this is really about is corporate profits.
This land swap sets a bad precedent for our beautiful, constitutionally protected forever wild forest preserve. While I’m certainly pro-jobs and pro-business, I think it would be in the Adirondack Park’s best interest to vote this proposition down and let NYCO mine its Oak Hill land. Come back in 20 years for reconsideration.