Protect the Adirondacks supports a decision by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) to postpone action on a new draft General Permit to dramatically ease the rules for clearcutting in the Adirondack Park. Current rules call for any landowner who desires to clearcut more than 25 acres to secure a permit from the APA. The new General Permit will streamline rules to allow clearcutting of any size on over more than 1.5 million acres in the Adirondacks, including over 750,000 acres of lands where the state owns conservation easements. PROTECT urged the APA to drop this draft General Permit.
The APA meets next on Thursday January 10, 2013. See more information here on the APA’s controversial draft General Permit to ease rules for clearcutting.
The APA got the message that this new general permit to make it easier to clearcut Adirondack forests is not a good idea. It was clear that the APA was trying to rush this through without any supporting evidence and by not holding a formal public hearing. At its November 2012 meeting the APA controversially voted to issue a Negative Declaration under SEQRA, which meant that it did not have to hold an official public hearing, among other requirements, though it did have to take public comments.
Good data and good science makes good public policy. The APA provided no data and no science to support this controversial new program. The APA supplied no information to support the need for this new program.
One controversial aspect of this new General Permit is that it will ease clearcutting rules on lands where the state owns conservation easements. The people of the New York have spent well over $150 million to protect forestlands in the Adirondacks. The public does not support clearcutting on conservation easement lands. The public has a clear expectation that conservation easement lands will be well managed over the long-term and in addition to supplying wood to help the local economy will also protect wildlife, scenic viewsheds, water quality, and provide recreational opportunities. Clearcutting destroys all these other values.
PROTECT has submitted a Freedom of Information Request to review all clearcutting applications to the APA and permits issued over the past ten years. This data has not yet been released to PROTECT.