Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 01.26.23

Made In America

In recent weeks I have seen several Letters to the Editor opposing mining. I bet you haven’t thought about how aggregate is one of the last things still “made in America”. Do you know why? Because China hasn’t figured out a fiscally feasible way to ship that kind of weight, otherwise I’m sure they would have that market cornered as well. In a previous letter it was stated that there are “miles and miles of minable gravel in New York”. This is true, but with diesel at nearly $6.00 per gallon, what are you willing to pay to truck aggregate from miles and miles away? The further you have to move a commodity, the more it costs, and this is a commodity your local municipalities purchase. Do we really need our taxes to go any higher? Furthermore, these are good paying blue collar jobs that you are trying to drive out of a town that has been mining since it was founded. There are few places left in town to find career work, and mining is one of last.

John Butwell, Averill Park

Legislator Pay Raise

Regarding the $32,000 legislative pay raise to $143,000, it’s not enough for New York to be first in death and taxes, now we’re first in legislator salaries. Too bad our priority-challenged legislators didn’t have the nerve to try this before the election.

Maybe it was because New York has 479,000 unemployed, 2.9 million people on food stamps, $11 billion in unemployment insurance fraud, a debt of $394 billion, and spends $413 billion annually, while 431,000 residents moved to other states since 2020.

How convenient that legislators found time for a pay raise, but no time to cut taxes, regulations, spending and debt; no time to pressure Washington to secure our border against the flood of illegal aliens, criminals, terrorists, fentanyl and illegal guns; and no time to clean up our dirty voter rolls as required by Section 8 of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.

But our overlords did find time to expand gun control to disarm law abiding citizens, give driver licenses to undocumented immigrants, destroy our economy with covid mandates, cover-up the deadly nursing home scandal, expand abortion access, legalize marijuana, close nine state prisons in two years, institute cashless bail so criminals can run wild, offer a billion tax dollars for a Buffalo Bills stadium, close the Indian Point Nuclear power plant, stop construction of vital energy pipelines, and otherwise make war on fossil fuels so we can have rolling blackouts.

How sad that with winter weather, our emperors have no clothes.

Robert Dufresne, Rensselaer

Sand Lake Town Board Should Reject Rezoning Request

Sand Lake Town Board should reject Rifenburg Construction, Inc.’s request to amend the Zoning Code to allow mining on most of 100 acres next to an established neighborhood.

Here are some reasons why:

Environmental Impact: Surface mines destroy the area mined. Look into any surface mine and ask: “How’s the environment doing here?” 

Mines are Lousy Neighbors: For sure, there will be dust, noise, exhaust, truck traffic and very reasonable worries about ground water. Does anyone think having a mine nearby enhances property values? 

Damage to Town Revenues: Unlike most industries, mines generate little property tax and mined-over land even less. If half the area proposed for mining was developed for housing like the adjoining neighborhood, the housing would generate many times the tax revenue of a mine twice the size. 

Town Code Requirements: To allow rezoning, the Zoning Code requires Planning Board and Town Board members to find the rezoning “is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood context and character and is in conformance with the policies of the [Town’s] Comprehensive Plan.” Neither is true. 

Avoidable Costs: The Town Board cannot approve the Code amendment now, but it can reject it. The Board shouldn’t run up costs to taxpayers or Rifenburg by extending consideration. More proceedings will require Rifenburg to produce a costly environmental impact study. More sunk costs will increase the odds of a Rifenburg lawsuit if rezoning is ultimately denied, although success would be unlikely since a Town Board cannot be compelled to adopt a law. But if the amendment is later approved, it is easy to imagine that aggrieved residents would have a strong case on the facts, the Comprehensive Plan and the requirements of the Zoning Code. 

The Town Board should deny the Zoning Code amendment now for the benefit of the Town and its residents.

Garrett DeGraff, Averill Park

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