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Responses to the lawsuit
March 26, 2012 - Jessica Collier
I'm actually kind of surprised it took a little while for the tirade of commentary from the usual ACR boosters to come in on the lawsuit. We all knew the deadline for a challenge was coming up soon, so I thought they would have had it ready to go right away. And not much of what they are saying is super specific to the actual paperwork filed in the lawsuit.
But nonetheless, the chamber put out a press release on Friday blasting Protect, the Sierra Club and the three landowners (emphasizing that they are second-home-owners) for taking part in a legal challenge of the APA's decision on the ACR.
They said they are speaking for "The town and village of Tupper Lake, The Tupper Lake Business Community (an advocacy organization, not the actual business community, though I'm sure they would argue that organization speaks for the business community as a whole), The Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce, ARISE, and a majority of Tupper Lake residents." Paul Maroun, Roger Amell, David Tomberlin, Jim LaValley, Mark Moeller and Tom Lawson are all quoted.
Then today, Jim LaValley and David Tomberlin went on WNBZ radio to talk about it a little more. I'm going to write a different post about that later, because I started to write it here, but it was getting long!
Here's a copy/paste of the chamber press release:
Tupper Lake Responds to ACR Lawsuit
TUPPER LAKE — The Town and Village of Tupper Lake, The Tupper Lake Business Community, The Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce, ARISE, and a majority of Tupper Lake residents have come together in reaction to the lawsuit filed by Protect the Adirondacks, the Sierra Club, and three adjoining landowners, against the State agencies responsible for approving the Adirondack Club and Resort. To quote Village Mayor Paul Maroun, "The people involved represent the radical side of the environmental movement. Former APA Director Glennon should be ashamed of himself for participating in a frivolous suit."
"The residents of Tupper Lake find it especially unfair that the taxpayers of NY will have to pay to defend this unwarranted lawsuit that simply attempts to delay the ACR project while raising funds for these radical extremist groups," says Town of Tupper Lake Supervisor Roger Amell.
Jim LaValley, Chairman of ARISE said, "we said from the beginning that there were certain groups and individuals who feel that they are much smarter than the staff, administration, and Commissioners of the Adirondack Park Agency, and this shows the arrogance of the parties that have filed. I find it interesting that the strongest environmental group within the Park - the Adirondack Council, has chosen to not only accept, and support the approval of the ACR, but to also state that they don't understand why these other groups would want to file an appeal. This has nothing to do with environmental protection, and everything to do with them raising money. They also hope to kill the project, and the future hopes for Tupper Lake, by creating further delays, and running the investors costs up higher."
Just as news of the appeal was being announced, lead ACR developer Tom Lawson was reviewing the remodeling of the empty Ginsberg building that he intends to turn into a new restaurant on Park St. Amid the sounds of pounding hammers he noted the thirty men and women now employed because of the ACR permit. "The appeal is meant to stop this progress and to put these folks out of work" Mr. Lawson said.
Mark Moeller of the Tupper Lake Business Community added, "following eight years of review and a 10 to 1 vote by the Adirondack Park Agency Commissioners, the community of Tupper Lake is appalled over this action. I would think the APA Commissioners and staff are equally upset." Moeller went on to note that after the hearings permitting the ACR concluded, Dan Plumley of Adirondack Wild chastised the APA Commissioners saying that they failed in their duty and that they broke the law, Adirondack Wild then went so far as to call the Governor a "loser" and Bob Glennon of Protect the Adirondacks openly questioned the efficiency and effectiveness of the APA Commissioners and staff by saying the APA needed a "backbone implant."
Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce President and Town of Tupper Lake Councilman David Tomberlin said, "it is disappointing that these groups have filed, but it is even more upsetting that the landowners who have joined in the suit would join in. They should be embarrassed to be seen in a community that has overwhelmingly supported this project. We feel they have the crossed the line of sour grapes and now are using every attempt to further damage the community." He went on to note that the two adjoining land owners, Bob and Leslie Harrison and Phyllis Thompson own second homes in Tupper Lake. Mr. and Mrs. Harrison own an island on Tupper Lake and Phyllis Thompson enjoys waterfront on the south bay of Lake Simond. He finds it disappointing that they wish to lessen the chances for the residents of Tupper Lake who are simply trying to maintain one home, much less two.
Tupper Lakers are now asking why the Sierra Club has joined the appeal. They wonder why a national organization would want to take part in killing the human ecosystem in their community. Local attorney and past president of the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce Doug Wright asks, "At a time when the economy of the region has never been more fragile and when the Governor of NY is calling for economic growth, why would the Sierra Club expose their credibility for such a frivolous and offensive legal action? Are they going "rogue" along with Protect the Adirondacks? I question how versed they are on the topic, area and implications of the APA decision in the context of their procedure and regulations."
LaValley points to the following quote from Roger Downs, Conservation Director of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. "For years, the Adirondack Park Agency has failed to adequately protect land classified as 'Resource Management' under the APA Act... It is past the time for the APA to stop cutting corners with its existing laws and regulations and to act to protect New York's great wilderness legacy." Really?" questions LaValley. "The APA has been cutting corners for years? The visceral reaction by the extremists is all about the ACR permit pure and simple. The Sierra Club is simply being fed lines to regurgitate."
The Tupper Lake groups note that the stakes for their town could not be greater. First they must share in the cost of what is seen as a frivolous appeal against NY State simply meant to delay development and bleed off resources. But more importantly, they assert that the economic future of the town hangs in the balance along with hundreds of jobs. Tomberlin points out that "Businesses want to come to Tupper Lake but not until an appeal is over. Existing businesses want to expand but must place those plans on hold once again. One of the injustices is that nobody making the appeal has any real "skin in the game."
Neither Protect the Adirondack lawyers John Caffry or Bob Glennon — or anyone from the Sierra Club — owns or runs a business in Tupper Lake. They don't vote or pay taxes here, nor do they raise their children in Tupper Lake. In an ironic twist, Mr. Glennon is collecting a retirement check from the taxpayers of NY State while he now attempts to kill a significant economic opportunity for the taxpayers of NY State. While the three land owners who are party to this appeal pay property taxes their future is not tied to the local economy. After eight years of intense review, millions of dollars of private investments and an overwhelming vote of support from the APA Commissioners it's time to say "Enough!"
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