Governor Andrew Cuomo is being urged by environmental groups to sign a measure meant to reduce road salt usage in the Adirondack Park.
The legislation would create the task force and pilot program for reducing road salt usage within the park from October 2021 to 2024. The program would test measures that have been shown to reduce road salt usage and cost for winter road maintenance.
The Adirondacks have some of the harshest winters in the United States. But at the same time, it's estimated millions of tons of road salt have been applied to roads within the Adirondacks since 1980.
Adirondack environmental groups signing onto the push for the legisaltion, including AdkAction, the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Wild, and Protect the Adirondacks, pointed to the salt's potential to contaminate lakes and ponds, as welll as the 30,000 rivers, brooks and streams within the park, which is the source of the Hudson River.
“Salt-contaminated drinking water is a serious public health concern,” said Brittany Christenson of AdkAction, a group that has been calling for road salt pollution reduction.
“When it strikes a private well, it becomes a hazard for people with high blood pressure and other health conditions. Salty water can become a costly crisis for local families. They need to buy bottled water and replace appliances, pipes, and even drill new wells. As salt contamination spreads, it can affect entire community water supplies. It has already spread too far.”
The measure had been approved in honor of Randy Preston, a town supervisor in Wilmington who died of brain cancer a year ago and had pushed for local government support in protecting water sources within the Adirondacks.