Well, it’s happened again. Another state budget is proposed by the Executive, wherein the Adirondack Park Agency’s legislated job is mischaracterized by this Governor’s (and former governors’) budget divisions as working “to achieve a balance between strong environmental protection and sustainable economic development opportunities for the residents of the Adirondack Park” (2023 Executive Budget Briefing Book).
Balance is an important goal to strive for in our individual lives. However, nothing in the Adirondack Park Agency law, now reaching 50 years old in May, calls for “a balance between strong environmental protection and sustainable economic development.” That is merely an executive construct and interpretation that has been superimposed upon the law without legislative approval, most especially since Governor Andrew Cuomo began his first term in 2011, as in this example from that year: “The APA Act is a balance of the adverse resource impacts of the project with its potential benefits” (APA staff during the Adirondack Club and Resort public hearing). Many have stated similar “balancing” objectives since then.
The unstated assumption behind such a balance statement seems to be that natural resource protection and economic development are on a seesaw, oppositional in purpose and competing in nature, and therefore requiring a state referee to provide necessary balance. That is not what the APA Act is about. [Read more…] about The Adirondack Park Agency At 50: State Leaders Are Missing The Point