Governor nominates Karen Feldman for APA board

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has nominated Karen Feldman, a lawyer from Hudson, to the state Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners.

She would replace Cecil Wray, who is serving on an expired term. He was first appointed to the agency in June 1999 by Gov. George Pataki.

Feldman’s nomination is now before the state Senate for confirmation. Sen. Betty Little, who represents much of the Adirondacks, told the Enterprise she received it Monday.

Little, R-Queensbury, said she supports Feldman for the position.

“I know her,” Little said. “I think she’s very thorough. I think she’s very balanced. She’s familiar with the conservation issues in the Adirondacks as well as the economic issues.

“I think all you hope for is that they are familiar with the Park, and I think she is.”

Little said she met Feldman through the Adirondack Landowners Association, of which Feldman’s live-in companion, Thomas Williams, is president. He represents the West Canada Preserve, a 1,600-acre tract of remote forests and creeks in the town of Morehouse, western Hamilton County.

Politically, Feldman is a Democrat and has been involved in U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaigns, Little said.

Rather than being suggested by one of the Park’s interest groups, Feldman wrote a letter to the governor herself about her interest in the position, according to Little’s office.

John Sheehan, spokesman for the Adirondack Council, said his environmental group believes Feldman would be a good APA commissioner.

“She has been a very strong environmental advocate in the past, and we think she will follow the law and follow science,” Sheehan said.

Little said Feldman’s nomination will first go before the Senate Finance Committee, even though the position is unpaid. The committee’s next meeting is this afternoon, although Little said she isn’t sure if Feldman’s nomination will come up.

The position is one of three out-of-Park seats on the APA’s 11-member Board of Commissioners, which meets monthly at the agency headquarters in Ray Brook. Wray, who holds that seat now, lives in New York City but has a second home in Keene Valley. He is also a lawyer as well as a former board member of the Adirondack Council, and in board discussions he tends to argue for environmental protection and development limits.

APA spokesman Keith McKeever referred questions on board nominations to Christine Pritchard at the governor’s office, who did not return a phone call.