The High Peaks region of the Adirondack Park. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman intends to use a settlement with a Midwestern energy company to aid the damage to the area by acid rain. A competitive grant award project will be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and is created to find “newly-designed methods of neutralizing acidity in soils and waters.” Photo by AP.
January 28, 2013State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman intends to use a $400,000 settlement with a Midwestern energy company to aid acid rain recovery in the Adirondack Park.
According to Schneiderman, more than 500 lakes, streams and ponds continue to suffer from acid rain despite state and federal legislation in place to help decrease air pollution.
"The Adirondack Acid Rain Recovery Program will speed up the recovery of hundreds of lakes and streams by identifying the most effective tools available for reversing the damages of acid rain," said the attorney general in a statement.
The program, a competitive grant award project, will be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and is created to find "newly-designed methods of neutralizing acidity in soils and waters."
According to Schneiderman's office, the $400,000 for the project came from a 2010 settlement with Cinergy Corp. because its Midwestern coal-fired plants did not keep up with federal standards for controlling sulfur dioxide emissions, violating the Clean Air Act.
The money will be distributed via competitive grants to help foster research that reduces the impact of acid rain.
"Through this program and my office's legal action against acid rain polluters," said Schneiderman, "we will help to restore the Adirondacks for future generations of New Yorkers."
Acid rain is a result of air pollution from coal-fired power plants that emit gases, such as carbon, nitrogen and sulfur, which mix with water in the atmosphere creating acid compounds. In turn, these compounds fall onto the ground when it rains.
Acid rain hampers plant growth and is detrimental to aquatic life and humans, according to Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club.
The program aims to clean up the acid rain already present in the Adirondacks due to decades of pollution. Woodworth said the Adirondacks have lost half of their spruce growth due to the lack of nutrients caused by acid rain falling into the soil.
Even with the decrease in acid rain and pollution by federal regulations, Woodworth said if an effort is not made to safeguard the region from acid rain "… we lose our trees."
Woodworth said most of the air pollution affecting New York state, including the Adirondacks, is coming from the Ohio Valley and other states southwest of New York and the best method of recovery is to switch to natural gas.