Resort advocates blast green groups

Proponents of the Adirondack Club & Resort are getting in their last jabs before public hearings begin this afternoon, but environmental groups aren't taking it lying down.

The groups have competing visions for the large resort development proposed for the Big Tupper ski area.

Developers and their supporters insist that plans to spread the resort and building lots over more than 4,000-acres are vital to attracting wealthy investors. They've attacked environmental groups for trying to limit the scope of the project; something they argue would cause it to fail.

An economic lobbying group called ARISE is particularly perturbed at the amount of money green groups intend to raise in their effort to push the state Adirondack Park Agency to either deny a permit or limit the project scope and environmental impacts.

The environmental group Protect the Adirondacks, which has taken the strongest position against the resort, recently announced that it received a $15,000 grant that it must match through its own fundraising.

The organization ultimately hopes to raise $100,000 to pay for legal fees and expert witnesses who will testify during the upcoming APA hearings.

"This clearly shows the lengths to which Protect will go to kill this project and do further damage to the Adirondack economy," ARISE Chairman Jim LaValley said in a press release.

Protect attorney John Caffry conceded that their goal is to block the project from getting a permit; but he said their aim is to protect the environment and the community from a failed or partially completed resort.

"Protect's ultimate goal is to see this application denied," Caffry said, adding that "minor modifications to this project are not going to make it approvable."

Meanwhile, the town of Tupper Lake has approved the hiring of an expert witness to testify at the upcoming adjudicatory hearings.

Public hearings will be held at 3 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. today in the cafeteria at the L.P. Quinn Elementary School in Tupper Lake. Officials recommend that members of the public arrive early.

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