Final Papers Being Submitted
Two new developments in PROTECT’s lawsuit against the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) over its approval of the 6,000-acre Adirondack Club & Resort project in Tupper Lake should be highlighted. First, PROTECT submitted its Brief on September 9th to the NYS Appellate Division, Third Department. This Brief details the 29 allegations in this lawsuit for how the APA violated established official legal process and various parts of the APA Act in voting to approve this project.
The state and the ACR representatives now have 45 days to respond to this Brief. PROTECT will get 15 days to submit a Reply Brief to their responses. It is likely that the Appellate Division will schedule oral argument in early 2014. Once oral argument has been completed, a decision is possible in 2-4 months, sometime in the first half of 2014.
ACR Wildlife Studies are Weak and Incomplete
Second, an issue that was controversial in both the APA adjudicatory hearing and PROTECT’s lawsuit centered on the lack of a wildlife study by the ACR applicant. The APA kept requesting one and the ACR team kept refusing to provide one. In the end, the APA approved the project without a wildlife study, but requested that a very limited study of impacts to amphibians be provided at a later date
Obviously, the quality of an after-the-fact wildlife study could not be scrutinized during the public hearing; nor did it help the APA in making its final decision.
PROTECT has been submitting Freedom of Information Law requests to the APA every two weeks for updates on the ACR project. In July, we learned that the ACR team was negotiating with the APA over the scope of its amphibian study. We also found out that the ACR team had submitted a barebones amphibian study. We forwarded that proposal to Adirondack Wild, whose expert witness Michael Klemens had testified on this issue in the hearing. Adirondack Wild and Dr. Klemens filed a response here.