Governor Kathy Hochul today announced appointments to the Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force. This task force will be chaired by Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation and Department of Health will be a member.
“Protecting our environment is a high priority to my administration and appointments to this task force are long overdue,” Governor Hochul said. “I have no doubt that this group of individuals will work tirelessly to protect our state from the adverse effects of road salt. We look forward to seeing this group finally convene and make progress in preventing further pollution to our waterways and our environment.”
Governor Hochul’s candidates include:
Megan Phillips holds a MS in Water Resource Management and a BA in Conservation Biology from Cornell University. Formerly a Senior Policy Advisor for Energy and the Environment for the Executive Chamber, Megan is currently the Vice President for Conservation at the Adirondack Council. Megan has also held positions with the New York State Department of State, Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association, and the University of Wisconsin – Madison Center for Limnology in environmentally-focused roles.
Dr. Daniel Kelting holds a PhD in Forest Soils and a MS in Forestry from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, a BS in Forest Resource Management from SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, and an AAS in Forest Technology from SUNY Ranger School. Dr. Kelting is the current Vice President of Research and Professor of Environmental Sciences at Paul Smith’s College where he has also held the positions of Government Relations Officer, Interim Dean of the School of Natural Resources Management and Ecology, and Executive Director of the Adirondack Watershed Institute.
Joe Martens holds a MS in Resource Management from SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry and studied resource economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Joe Martens is currently the Director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance. Prior to that he was a Senior Fellow at the Open Space Institute, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, President of the Open Space Institute, Executive Vice President of the Open Space Institute, Deputy Secretary for Energy and the Environment under Governor Mario Cuomo, Chair of the Board of the Olympic Regional Development Authority, Chair of the Environmental Facilities Corporation, and sat on the board of the Energy Research and Development Authority.
Dr. Kristine Stepenuck holds a PhD in Environment and Resources and a MS in Natural Resources from the University of Wisconsin and a BS in Water Resources Management from the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Stepenuck is the current Extension Associate Professor of Watershed Science, Policy and Education at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont; the current Associate Director and Extension Program Leader of the Lake Champlain Sea Grant; and the current Public Advisory Group Co-Chair of the International Joint Commission, Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Flood Study. In previous roles, Dr. Stepenuck was the Watershed Manager for the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council in Holland, Michigan and the Soil Conservation and Watershed Inventory Field Course Instructor at the University of Wisconsin.
Temporary President of the Senate candidates include:
Philip Sexton holds a MLA in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard University, a BS in Business, Management and Economics from SUNY Empire State College, and an AAS in Agriculture from SUNY Morrisville State College. Philip is the Founder and current Managing Director of WIT Companies and is also an Adjunct Professor in the Plant Science Department at SUNY Cobleskill.
Robert J. Kafin holds a JD from Harvard Law School and an AB from Franklin & Marshall College. Currently the Chief Operating Partner and General Counsel at Proskauer Rose and the Chair of the Council on the Environment of New York City, Robert previously served as Counsel to the New York State Senate and City Judge for the City of Glens Falls.
Speaker candidates include:
Brittany Christenson holds a BS in Mathematics from Carroll College. Brittany currently serves as the Executive Director of ADKAction and was previously the Operations Manager for Fledging Crow Farm in Keeseville, NY.
Gerald Delaney is the current Executive Director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, where he previously served as Chairman of the Board. Gerald also serves on the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages Board of Directors and is the Councilman for the Town of Saranac, NY. Gerald has extensive experience in the logging and farming industry.
Minority Leader of the Senate candidate is:
Kevin J. Hajos, PE, holds a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Clarkson University and an AS in Civil Engineering from Hudson Valley Community College. Currently the Superintendent of Public Works for Warren County, NY, Kevin previously held roles as the Deputy Superintendent of Public Works for Warren County; the Senior Civil Engineer for Warren County; and as Project Manager and Engineer for Clough Harbour and Associates.
Minority Leader of the Assembly candidate is:
Tracy J. Eldridge is the current Hamilton County Superintendent of Highways and is a Committee Chair for the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association. Tracy was previously President of the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association and worked within International Paper Company’s Northeast Region Construction, Maintenance and Engineering Division.
Senator Tim Kennedy said, “Advancing these nominations is a major step forward in empowering this Task Force to convene and ultimately ensure that we're protecting our Adirondack waterways and prioritizing road salt reduction. We know that by taking action now, we will be preserving our ecosystems and wildlife for generations to come. This panel of experts has the experience and knowledge to effectively accelerate this important pilot program, and I'm eager to see them assemble as quickly as possible."
Assemblymember Billy Jones said, “Road salt has caused irrevocable damage to our environment and waterways, contaminating drinking water supply for homeowners for far too long. It is great news that the Governor has approved the appointments to the Adirondack road salt reduction task force so that the state can implement a pilot plan and test program. Everyone has the right to clean water and that is why I am proud to have authored the bill that created this task force. Contaminated drinking water due to road salt has been an issue for homeowners across the North Country and Adirondack region for far too long and this task force will finally be able to address this issue.”