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Maroun criticizes Adirondack Council's 'elitism'

The fallout of a resolution opposing the fee acquisition of nearly 75,000 acres of land near Tupper Lake and in the southern Adirondacks continues, with one area lawmaker blasting an environmental group's supposed "elitism."

Earlier this year, the Adirondack Local Government Review Board unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the state's impending purchase of former Finch Pruyn lands and acreage near Follensby Pond.

The resolution prompted outcry from one of the region's largest environmental groups, the Adirondack Council. The group's executive director, Brian Houseal, said the review board resolution was out of line, alleging the taxpayer-funded organization stepped outside its mandate under the state Adirondack Park Agency Act.

But last week, APA Chairman Curt Stiles said the review board was free to comment on issues pertaining to state land acquisitions.

The Adirondack Council also said review board Exectuive Director Fred Monroe should recuse himself from voting on such resolutions, noting that he belongs to an exclusive hunting club that would be removed from the Finch lands should the state follow through with the land purchase.

Monroe has since noted that as executive director, he doesn't actively vote on review board resolutions.

Then, late last week, Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun got into the mix. The Republican lawmaker called the Adirondack Council "elitist."

"Someone has to start opposing the Adirondack Council's representatives for the way they treat local governments and local government officials," Maroun said in a statement sent to area news outlets.

The council had called the review board resolution "shameful" and "baseless."

Maroun disagrees, noting that he challenges Brian Houseal to put him "out of office" in his next election. Maroun adamantly opposes the state purchase of more land for the forest preserve.

"I am elected to represent my district and the only thing I have heard from most of the constituents from my district is that the state already owns too much land," he said.

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