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St. Lawrence County EMC appointments made

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CANTON — The St. Lawrence County Environmental Management Council will become more functional with the appointment of new members viewed as making for a more well-rounded board.

County legislators have tapped people for three of five vacant seats on the advisory council and reappointed other members which will make it easier for the EMC to conduct business.

The group had shrunk so much that if one member was absent, there was no quorum.

“We’re glad to have enough people to tackle some issues,” said Legislator Scott M. Sutherland, R-Pierrepont, the legislative liaison to the EMC.

Vacancies grew on the EMC after some legislators faulted the group for its premises on a climate action plan, which included information about carbon markets and alternative energy but did not mention nuclear power.

Legislator Joseph R. Lightfoot, R-Morristown, said he thought the climate action plan epitomized the past makeup of the EMC.

“I was unhappy with it because it seemed like everyone was like-minded,” he said. “There was no minority view.”

Mr. Lightfoot said he was comfortable with the appointments of Patrick T. Whalen, Potsdam, a state Department of Environmental Conservation forester; William E. Dashnaw, Waddington, the county’s retired highway superintendent, and Kendall G. Lawrence, Canton, who is retired from Cargill.

“I think the board was looking to diversify,” said Dawn C. Howard, county Soil & Water Conservation District manager and the EMC’s acting chairwoman. “It’s good to have people from different walks of life.”

Additional applications from people interested in serving on the EMC are welcome as two seats remain vacant, Mr. Sutherland said.

Mr. Sutherland said the EMC could tackle a lot of issues, including invasive species.

Ms. Howard mentioned water withdrawals from the Great Lakes, urban forestry, revisiting a wind farm model law, and weeds on Black Lake as possible topics the EMC might pursue.

“We have a strategic planning session coming up,” she said.

Some of the ideas floated in the climate change plan might return in a different format without taking a political stance.

“If we can save the county money, I think that would be timely,” Ms. Howard said. “My big thing is to improve the relationship between legislators and the EMC.”

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