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ACR supporters cry foul over green group involvement

Supporters of the Adirondack Club & Resort project in Tupper Lake want a pair of regional green groups to excuse themselves from upcoming adjudicatory hearings.

The chairman of the community action group ARISE - Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy - and the president of the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce say the Adirondack Council and Protect the Adirondacks need to step aside as the project enters into its final review phase.

The state Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners is preparing for adjudicatory hearings on the project's application. Once those hearings are complete, commissioners will have 60 days to decide whether or not to grant the project a permit.

Developer Michael Foxman says the design for his resort - which he hopes to construct on and around Big Tupper - is more or less ready to go, noting that the project has been scaled back and altered numerous times.

But environmental groups say it's not even close and they'll continue to play an active role in the upcoming hearings.

In a release issued this week, ARISE Chairman Jim LaValley says it "amazes" him that third parties like the Adirondack Council and Protect the Adirondacks are allowed to influence the regulatory process.

ARISE and its membership has been a vocal supporter of the ACR project, noting that it could rescue a desperate economy in the Tupper Lake area.

LaValley says APA staff should be "infuriated" that outside groups are questioning and second-guessing its review of the project.

He adds that ARISE has been supportive of the "professional people" involved in the regulatory process - that includes staff at APA and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, LaValley says.

"And it still puzzles me that the process allows for special interest groups to be able to influence an application to the degree that the Adirondack Council and Protect the Adirondacks can," he said.

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