One vote down, two to go for NYCO, state land swap

The Oak Hill Quarry entrance in Lewis

The Oak Hill Quarry entrance in Lewis Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— State Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, who is the former supervisor and current resident of Willsboro, co-sponsored the bill with state Sen. Betty Little.

“This amendment will assure continued operations benefiting both the Adirondack economy and the Forest Preserve,” Sayward said. “Gov. Cuomo, DEC Commissioner Martens and the Adirondack Mountain Club are to be commended for their efforts in assisting us through the process and to first passage.”

Sayward will not be in office when the second vote is cast, as she has announced her retirement from the seat.

“NYCO is one of our biggest employers in Essex County, and their continued success is vitally important to those who work there, their families and many other businesses in the area,” Little said.

The Lewis Mine has been mined for wollastonite since 1981 and is expected to be productive for only another three or four years. Lot 8, currently part of the state Forest Preserve, borders the west side of the Lewis Mine property. NYCO estimates that there is a potential 1.2-1.5 million tons of reserves in the lot, which would require 10 years of mining.

The amendment is part of a package deal to make changes to Article 14 in the state constitution, as it is coupled with a clause that would end the land dispute between the state and more than 200 residents of Township 40 in Raquette Lake.

The amendment must be passed again next year by the new state Legislatures and then ratified by New York voters, most likely in the November 2013 general election.

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