January 22, 2013

New acid-rain funds set for lake reclamation

ALBANY — A new $400,000 grant program will help reclaim Adirondack waterways damaged by acid rain.

The Adirondack Acid Rain Recovery program was announced recently by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman in an agreement with the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency.


The money comes from a settlement in civil litigation brought against Cinergy Corp. (now Duke Energy Corp.) in 2010 and targets programs designed to restore lakes and streams.

The lawsuit charged that Cinergy, based in Cincinnati, had violated the Clean Air Act in modifying its power plants to increase sulfur-dioxide emissions.

The settlement funds were dedicated to acid-rain research and mitigation projects focused through NYSERDA’s Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Protection Program.

Already, nearly a dozen local scientific research projects are sponsored through the Evaluation and Protection Program, according to the agency’s website.

Included among them is long-term monitoring done by the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corp., which tracks mercury deposits in fish along with toxin deposition in the atmosphere, forests, wetlands, snowpack and waterways. The data shows a moderate decline in the effects of acid rain since the Clean Air Act went into effect. 


The new funding looks to hasten repairs with new scientific methods.

“Hundreds of lakes and streams in the Adirondacks are still struggling to recover from this pollution,” Schneiderman said in a news release.

“The Adirondack Acid Rain Recovery Program will speed the recovery of hundreds of lakes and streams by identifying the most effective tools available for reversing the damages of acid rain.”

The program will be managed by NYSERDA and will conducted through an open, competitive project solicitation and grant process, Schneiderman said.

“It is expected that some projects will involve the testing of newly designed methods for neutralizing acidity in soils and waters.”


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