Support for Hornbeck nomination wanes

MINERVA - The chances of Minerva boat-builder and environmentalist Peter Hornbeck serving on the Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners are look increasingly slim.

Hornbeck's gubernatorial appointment to replace Art Lussi on the APA board has been stalled for seven months in the state Senate Finance Committee.

And on Monday, during what was expected to be the committee's final meeting during Gov. David Paterson's term, Hornbeck's name was not on the shortlist drafted by the governor's staff that senators considered.

State Senator Betty Little vehemently opposed the nomination and was able to sway the opinions of several of her upstate Democratic counterparts.

"I don't foresee additional appointments being approved between now and the end of the year," Little said.

Paterson's selection of Hornbeck incited an often contentious battle between Little, her few Democratic supporters, Paterson and environmentalists.

Little painted the noted canoe-builder as an environmental extremist opposed to almost any development in the park.

"With a new administration preparing to take office, the expectation is the Senate will wait until next year to allow Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo the opportunity to weigh in on many of these appointments," Little said.

She argued Hornbeck would have a fundamental conflict of interest because he sits on the board of directors of the green group Protect the Adirondacks. Protect is suing the agency because it didn't classify the waters and lakebed of Lows Lake as wilderness late last year.

Environmentalists countered that Hornbeck, owner of a small business, is a prime example of balance in the Adirondacks.

Over the summer, Adirondack Council spokesman John Sheehan took part in a public battle with Syracuse-area Democratic Senator David Valseky - who backed Little's position.

Finance did approve a handful of the 147 gubernatorial appointments that have been stalled in legislative review. The Senate Judiciary Committee also approved the nominations of a dozen judges.

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