ALBANY – The Adirondack Council has formed a Ballot Issue Committee with the New York State Board of Elections for spending that promotes the proposed $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act.
A statewide bond act vote was approved by the State Legislature in April. In the Adirondacks, it would provide capital projects funding to address climate change, clean water and overcrowding/overuse on the Forest Preserve.
The Council’s new committee will be known as the New Yorkers for the Adirondacks committee.
“This would be a jobs bond act as much as it is an environmental bond act,” Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway said in a news release.
“Investments in clean water bring new filtration plants and treatment plants, and the people to run them. Clean energy investments mean new jobs building, improving and maintaining solar, wind and hydro-power facilities. Energy conservation brings new jobs in building and installing modern heating and cooling equipment, and in buttoning up leaky buildings. Managing crowds on public lands and waters in a post-pandemic world will require serious planning and local people to carry out those plans.
“Long term, these are great investments in the environment and public health,” Janeway said.
“Short term, they will get the economy moving again.”
Our need to address climate change, secure clean water and manage crowds on the Forest Preserve didn’t go away when the corona-virus hit, he said.
“Our public lands grow more precious every day,” said Janeway. “They are a place of refuge in times of trouble; a place of healing and solace as we recover from this blow; a place of celebration, when we can be closer together again.
“It’s more proof that Forever Wild isn’t just a cliché,” he said.
“The Adirondack Forest Preserve is one constant in a world of never-ending change. It is the bedrock that steadies us when the whole world’s foundations have been shaken to their core.”
Due to the potential economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Legislature granted Gov. Andrew Cuomo the authority to rescind its authorization of the bond act this spring or summer, if the economy slows to the point where he believes the state cannot repay the loan. Otherwise, it will be on the Election Day ballot in November.
Janeway said the Adirondack Council is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization, and is therefore limited in the amount of time and money it can devote to promoting a state ballot issue, such as a bond act. Such organizations are prohibited from supporting or opposing candidates for public office.
To be sure that it is tracking its spending carefully, the Council formed New Yorkers for the Adirondacks. The group intends to remind voters that the Adirondack Park would be among the many recipients of benefits if the bond act is approved.
The Council said it would invite other advocates to join the committee and help advance the approval of the bond act. The committee’s work will compliment bond act educational efforts by other conservation, clean energy, business, conservation, community and state-wide environmental groups.