Essex County supports mining proposition

ELIZABETHTOWN – Essex County supervisors support a ballot question that would swap state land with a private company.

NYCO Minerals Inc. wants to continue its mining operation in Lewis, expanding into neighboring state Forest Preserve land. That would typically not be allowed, so NYCO wants to trade land worth at least $1 million to the state in return for the about 200 acres of state land the company wants to mine.

The proposition will be one of six on voting ballots across the state in the Nov. 5 electionl. It was already approved last year by the state Legislature and this year received approval from the Legislature once again. It just needs to be approved by voters this fall to become an amendment to the state Constitution.

Lewis town Supervisor David Blades proposed Monday that county supervisors pass a resolution in support of the proposal. They agreed unanimously.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas said the New York State Association of Counties also passed such a resolution at its fall seminar last week in Saratoga County.

Douglas said it’s unfortunate the issue has to be on the state ballot, since its main impact is local. He said a lot of time and money is being spent to educating voters across the state about the issue.

Newcomb Supervisor George Canon noted the proposition will be on the back side of ballots, so if people don’t turn the ballot over, they may forget to vote on it.

Environmental groups have been split on the proposal, with the Adirondack Council supporting it and Protect the Adirondacks coming out against it.

The question, known as Proposal Five, is one of six propositions that will be on state ballots this fall. The other that would specifically affect the Adirondacks, Proposal Four, would settle a long-standing land claim dispute in the town of Long Lake.

The text of all the proposed constitutional amendments can be found on the state Board of Elections website at www.elections.ny.gov/proposedconsamendments.html.

Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or jcollier@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.