Prohibits the state from gaining any interest in forest land other than a conservation easement.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public lands law, in relation to limiting the interest the state may acquire in forest land to a conservation easement
PURPOSE: To prohibit the state from purchasing forest land in fee title and to only allow purchases by conservation easement.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one- amends subdivision one of section 27 of the public lands law, as added by chapter 513 of the laws of 1989 to provide that notwithstanding any other provision of law, when such real property is forest land, as defined in subdivision five of section 9-0101 of the environmental conservation law, the state shall take no other interest in the property than a conservation easement. The conveyance of any other interest in forest land to the state shall be null and void.
Section two- contains the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Since 1995 New York State has acquired over a million acres of land that has been added to the forest preserve; This has included thousands of acres of forest land being removed from active timbering which has a significant impact on the economic stability of the communities located in the Adirondack Park. Article 14 of the Constitution states that the forest preserve shall be kept forever wild and such land shall not be leased, sold or exchanged. Conservation easements allow for much more flexibility in the use of the lands including the harvesting of timber, which North Country paper mills depend upon.
According to a report from the Northeast State Foresters Association, "each 1,000 acres of forestland in New York supports 2.6 forest-based manufacturing jobs with a payroll of $83,000 and 78 forest related recreation and tourism jobs with a payroll of $14,486. The annual contribution of forest-based manufacturing and forest-related recreation and tourism in the New York economy is over 89 billion."
In the 2009-2010 Executive Budget, there was a proposal to freeze the real property tax payments the state makes to local governments on forest preserve lands. Fortunately, the Legislature rejected this initiative which would have bad a devastating effect on communities within the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. In light of this proposal and the possibility of it being considered again, it would be prudent to end the practice of the state acquiring forest lands for inclusion into the forest preserve and only allow for the acquisition of this type of land through conservation easements.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S. 4787 of 2009-10; Referred to Investigations and Government Operations
S. 1501 of 2011-12; Referred to Investigations and Government Operations
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: The State would save money by purchasing land using conservation easements instead of in fee title.
EFFECTIVE DATE; This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to conveyances occurring on or after such effective date.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1008 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. LITTLE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern- ment Operations AN ACT to amend the public lands law, in relation to limiting the inter- est the state may acquire in forest land to a conservation easement THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 27 of the public lands law, as added by chapter 513 of the laws of 1989, is amended to read as follows: 1. The commissioner of general services when moneys therefor have been appropriated by the legislature or are otherwise available, may acquire any real property which he deems necessary for the implementation or accomplishment of any statutory purpose, function, operation or respon- sibility of the commissioner of general services or the office of gener- al services, by purchase or as provided in the eminent domain procedure law. Title to such real property shall be taken in the name of and be vested in the people of the state of New York. No real property shall be so acquired by purchase unless the title thereto is approved by the attorney general. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, WHEN SUCH REAL PROPERTY IS FOREST LAND, AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION FIVE OF SECTION 9-0101 OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION LAW, THE STATE SHALL TAKE NO OTHER INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY THAN A CONSERVATION EASEMENT. THE CONVEY- ANCE OF ANY OTHER INTEREST IN FOREST LAND TO THE STATE SHALL BE NULL AND VOID. The terms "property" or "real property" as used in this section shall mean "real property" as defined by section one hundred three of the eminent domain procedure law. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to convey- ances occurring on or after such effective date.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01125-01-3