It has been a fairly typical winter in the Adirondacks this season: a series of snowstorms and ice accumulation events requiring winter road maintenance, and AdkAction’s continuing strong efforts to reduce the use of road salt.
The New York State legislature is expected to consider the Randy Preston Safe Roads and Clean Waters Act during the spring 2020 legislative session. The legislation (A.8767 / S.6824) has been introduced and is currently in the Senate Transportation Committee. Senator Betty Little is the sponsor in the Senate and Assemblymen Billy Jones, Dan Steck, and others are sponsors in the New York State Assembly.
The legislation will create an Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force which will take a strategic approach to reduce excess road salt usage and ensure clean water all while maintaining safe roadways. When implemented, these recommendations will address the diverse problems impacting the quality of water resources and the health of residents living along state roadways. This legislation directs the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health to conduct a three-year Adirondack Park-wide road salt application reduction pilot.
On a separate front, we continue to work toward the broader adoption of the Road Salt Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines the problems and recommended actions associated with the use of road salt. Throughout this winter we will be contacting the 28 municipalities that have already signed the MOU to determine what changes/ improvements have been made and whether savings have been achieved. As we continue to communicate with municipalities that have not yet signed the MOU, we plan to use this information to encourage their participation in our work towards the reduction of road salt use throughout the Park. This data will also be beneficial as we seek additional support for future events and educational campaigns.
AdkAction is planning to create the “Hold the Salt” partnership campaign to highlight what has been accomplished over the past 10 years, both regionally and across the state, recognizing that partners will be most effective as watchdogs and campaigners by working together. While the concept plan is being developed, some topics to be addressed include sustainable salt use, guidance for the driving public, and resources for homeowners impacted by road salt.