Boosters of the Adirondack Club & Resort project and the editorial writers of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise have openly ridiculed the lawsuit by Protect the Adirondacks and others that challenges the Adirondack Park Agency's permits for this project. The Enterprise wrote about dark "ulterior" motives of those involved and extolled the "obvious integrity of the process" with nary a word about the merits of Protect's lawsuit. The Daily Enterprise has continued to actively promote critics of the lawsuits in their lobbying of the Cuomo administration and protests in Albany.
But what if the shoe was on the other foot? What if the APA had denied the ACR project and, in so doing, had illegally supplemented the public hearing record to justify its decision, had engaged in ex parte communications when making this decision, had failed to properly administer its public hearing rules and regulations, and had failed to properly administer its laws?
What would ACR boosters and the Daily Enterprise editorial writers think then?
Protect the Adirondacks and others believe that the APA did all these things in the process of approving a permit for the ACR project. I encourage the Daily Enterprise editorial writers (and everybody else) to read Protect's lawsuit, amended papers and reply - all posted at www.protectadks.org.
We believe that the APA illegally supplemented the public hearing record right at the end with information that no party ever had a chance to scrutinize and then used this information (from 1993!) to claim that it had somehow done its job to evaluate wildlife impacts (which it never did).
We believe that the APA failed to uphold its law with regard to development in resource management lands. Here, the APA managed to call legal requirements of the APA Act simply advisory or guidelines that the commissioners could somehow pick and choose from.
We believe that the APA engaged in illegal ex parte communications between ACR representatives and senior APA staff, and even commissioners, when drafting the final permit. We have uncovered such evidence through Freedom of Information requests and have put in motions for further discovery.
We believe that the APA failed to either uphold its law and/or obey its rules and regulations in more than 25 other areas, too. In short, we challenge the Daily Enterprise's conclusion about the "obvious integrity of the process."
Yes, Protect's lawsuit is about defending the natural resources of the Adirondack Park. And, yes, it's about stopping a ruinous precedent that could be used in other developments in dozens of locations in the Adirondacks.
But it's also about ensuring good government and making sure that public agencies that do not engage in open, honest and transparent administration of regulatory reviews are held accountable.
Protect's lawsuit deals with serious and important issues.
Peter Bauer is executive director of Protect the Adirondacks. He lives in Blue Mountain Lake and Lake George.