LEWIS — Two points rose repeatedly in comments at a hearing this week on proposed expansion at NYCO mines.
Residents support the continuation of mining for wollastonite in the Town of Lewis and the valuable economic benefits.
But they are somewhat concerned about how expansion in three mining zones, each taken separately, will impact overall truck traffic, quality of life and the environment.
Aside from proposed test mining on Lot 8, NYCO wants to increase hours of operation a half hour on each side of the day and add truck traffic from its 70 Road and Oak Hill mines to both Graymont crushing on Route 9 and to its Willsboro plant.
The new permit application doesn’t have anything to do with the constitutionally approved land swap and temporary mining permits for Lot 8, which is state land.
Two years worth of ore are left at the 70 Road mine, with about 600,000 tons of reserves in a section just south of the current mine where NYCO wants to expand.
Added excavation zones there would extend the 70 Road mine operation by three years.
A civil and open dialogue characterized the informational session held at the Lewis Volunteer Fire Department station.
STARVING FOR JOBS
NYCO’s spokeswoman Lindsay Stevens said the Lewis operation is one of only three wollastonite sites in the United States.
The average salary of NYCO employees is $53,000 per year, she said, about 50 percent higher than the median salary in Essex County.
“The (Adirondack) park is starving for good jobs,” Dan Richards stood and told the Adirondack Park Agency and NYCO officials at the hearing.
Richards is a truck operator with Abele Tractor and works for NYCO.
“These people (NYCO) are environmentally conscious. These jobs provide three to four jobs for other people. It’s not just about somebody wanting to make a profit.”