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News stories tagged with "industry"

Lyon Mountain driller probes the seam
Lyon Mountain driller probes the seam

In Adk Iron Mine, Hard Life And Deadly Hazards

America has watched over the last week as the coal mine disaster unfolded in West Virginia. Twelve men died after an explosion rocked the underground works. Mine tragedies were once an everyday part of life here in the North Country. Iron works in the Champlain Valley and the northern Adirondacks contributed some of the highest grade ore in the country. Adirondack iron helped build the George Washington Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. But men died every year in tunnel cave-ins and accidental explosions. Brian Mann spoke with Lawrence Gooley. He's author of two books about the iron mine at Lyon Mountain in Clinton County. The latest is called "Out of the Darkness". It chronicles the story of the miners killed in Lyon Mountain over its century-long history.  Go to full article

End of an Era in Cornwall

Cornwall, Ontario Mayor Phil Poirier describes the news that the city's major manufacturer, Domtar, will close its local paper mill "absolutely devastating." Domtar senior vice president Roger Brear told workers of the closure Wednesday. He blamed a drop in demand for Domtar's products and energy costs.
All 520 jobs will be gone. Domtar cut 390 jobs at the Cornwall plant a year ago. So the total is now about 900 jobs lost. The city will have to absorb the loss of an annual payroll of $50 million dollars and about $1.5 million in property tax revenue. Jack Romanelli is editor of the Standard-Freeholder newspaper in Cornwall. He told Martha Foley Cornwall was built on industries that settled along the St. Lawrence River there, and Domtar's closure is the end of an era.  Go to full article
Steve McKnight and son by one manure pit.
Steve McKnight and son by one manure pit.

'Mega-Dairies': Stewards or Polluters?

State environment officials continue to investigate what caused a 3 million gallon manure spill in the Black River near Lowville. A lagoon failed on the Marks Farm, a 3,000 cow dairy operation. The manure flooded into the river, killing an estimated 200,000 fish and devastating tourism for at least two weeks. The catastrophe is firing up a debate over whether large farms are safe for people or the environment. The New York Times penned a scathing editorial on what it termed "mega-dairies". The paper called for "far stricter environmental standards" and opportunities for communities to vote large farms out of town. There are more than 100 dairy farms in the North Country with more than 300 cows. The farmers say their operations are cleaner and safer than ever. But critics question that, and they wonder whether the facilities should be treated as farms at all. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

NY Power Plants Make List of Worst Northeast Polluters

Environmental groups say six of the top ten dirtiest power plants in the Northeast are located in New York State. They are urging Governors of Northeastern states, who are working on a pollution reduction pact, to come up with strict new rules to curb emissions. Karen DeWitt reports.  Go to full article

Alcoa Offers Jobs, Investment for Power

Alcoa made its first concrete sign that it wants to stay in Massena for the next generation of aluminum production. According to the Watertown Daily Times, Alcoa offered the New York Power Authority a jobs-for-power deal at a meeting last week in New York City. Under the proposal, Alcoa would guarantee 500 to 700 high-wage union jobs in exchange for 30 to 50 years of cheap hydroelectric power. Alcoa currently employs almost 1300 workers at its two plants in Massena. The company would also invest up to $450 million to modernize what is the oldest continuously operating smelter in the world. David Sommerstein spoke with Ernie LaBaff about the proposed contract. He's president emeritus of the Aluminum, Brick, and Glassworkers Union and a former Alcoa worker. LaBaff says the offer is a good starting point.  Go to full article

Layoffs Announced at GM Massena Plant

General Motors plans to lay off nearly 100 workers at its Massena plant beginning later this month. The plant employs 450.  Go to full article

Debate Over North Country's Low Cost Power

There's renewed debate over the future of the North Country's share of cheap electricity produced at the hydropower dam in Massena. The local Alcoa and General Motors plants currently use almost 500 megawatts at below market prices. That's more than the amount of electricity all the households in northern New York use. The agreement expires in 2013. Lawmakers want the industrial giants to extend their side of the deal and commit to providing jobs long term. But if Alcoa and General Motors were to close, people worry downstate interests could grab the cheap power. Two North Country lawmakers are writing bills to stop that from happening. But as David Sommerstein reports, they differ over how to do it.  Go to full article

OSHA Fines GM for Workplace Violations

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined General Motors Powertrain in Massena $160,000 for poor record keeping and safety hazards. As David Sommerstein reports, OSHA alleges GM intentionally failed to record work-related injuries and illnesses.  Go to full article
Activist Martha Ojeda
Activist Martha Ojeda

A Voice of the 'Outsourced'

Widespread concern over the outsourcing of jobs to other countries has put free trade agreements like NAFTA at the center of the political debate in America. One product of NAFTA has been a vast corporate industrial zone along the U.S.-Mexico border, where low wages, intense pollution, birth defects and other health problems are well-documented. The factories there are called 'maquiladoras'. David Sommerstein spoke with Martha Ojeda, a second generation maquiladora worker, who directs Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras. She is giving talks this week as a part of SUNY Potsdam's Crossing Borders festival. She describes conditions at a SONY factory she worked at in 1994, when the NAFTA agreement was signed.  Go to full article

Zinc Mines May Re-Open

There's been promising news for some idled factories across the North Country. Last week an Ottawa-based company announced it will make soy milk concentrates and powders in the former McCadam cheese plant in Heuvelton. A Fulton County man may buy the idled Lyons Falls paper mill in Lewis County. A Syracuse-based jet manufacturer is considering a massive expansion at the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base that could create 10,000 jobs. And as David Sommerstein reports, the zinc mines in St. Lawrence County may reopen soon for the first time in more than two years.  Go to full article

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