Hornbeck appointment turned down

ALBANY - Gov. David Paterson's nomination of Peter Hornbeck to the Adirondack Park Agency Board has been turned down in committee.

According to State Sen. Elizabeth Little, senators serving on the Senate Finance Committee indicated March 3 that Hornbeck's nomination will not be moved because there are not enough votes in support of it, and the governor's office has been advised as such.

"We were told yesterday that there were, at most, 14 votes in support of the nomination," said Dan Mac Entee, spokesman for Little. "The committee consists of 32 senators, so a vote would fall short of the amount needed to advance it to the Senate floor for consideration by the full body."

Paterson had nominated Hornbeck, a canoe builder and environmentalist from Olmsteadville, for the seat held by Lake Placid businessman Arthur Lussi, who remains on the Board even though his term expired June 30.

In a March 4 press release, State Sen. Elizabeth Little (R-Queensbury) said many of her colleagues, both Republican and Democrat, have shared her concern over the ethical issues Hornbeck's nomination posed.

"This appointment raised a lot of concern locally and many North Country elected, political, business and civic leaders made that known to senators on both sides of the aisle," said Little.

Hornbeck is a member of Protect the Adirondacks!, an environmental organization that filed a lawsuit against the Adirondack Park Agency in January for their decision against not to classify Lows Lake as Wilderness. The group has also opposed development projects in the park, namely the proposed resort at Big Tupper Ski Area.

"A clear and compelling argument was made that Peter's affiliation as a member of the board of directors of an environmental group that had just sued the APA was not the right fit," Little said. "It presented a conflict of interest."

Little led opposition to Hornbeck's appointment in the Environmental Conservation Committee, which ultimately approved his nomination Feb. 22 despite concerns from many committee members.

The committee's chair, Antoine Thompson (D-Buffalo) said Paterson had called repeatedly in an attempt to expedite Hornbeck's appointment.

Hornbeck's rejection allows Lussi to remain in his seat until he or another nominee is approved.

"As I've said before, Art Lussi has done a good job in the one term he has served as an APA commissioner and a second term is something I'm confident many people would support," Little said.

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