Bill S4688-2013

Authorizes the state to engage in a land exchange with NYCO Minerals, Inc. relating to certain land in the town of Lewis, county of Essex, within the forest preserve (second passage)

Authorizes the state to engage in a land exchange with NYCO Minerals, Inc. relating to certain land in the town of Lewis, county of Essex, within the state forest preserve (second passage).

Details

Actions

  • Jun 27, 2013: DELIVERED TO SECRETARY OF STATE
  • Jun 19, 2013: returned to senate
  • Jun 19, 2013: passed assembly
  • Jun 19, 2013: ordered to third reading rules cal.488
  • Jun 19, 2013: substituted for a7974
  • Jun 11, 2013: referred to environmental conservation
  • Jun 11, 2013: DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • Jun 11, 2013: PASSED SENATE
  • Jun 10, 2013: ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1201
  • Jun 10, 2013: COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO RULES
  • May 6, 2013: OPINION REFERRED TO JUDICIARY
  • Apr 19, 2013: TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR OPINION
  • Apr 18, 2013: REFERRED TO JUDICIARY

Meetings

Calendars

Votes

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4688

TITLE OF BILL: CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY proposing an amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the constitution, in relation to a land exchange, in the state forest preserve with NYCO Minerals, Inc.

PURPOSE: Passage of this resolution constitutes second passage of a measure to be put on the ballot at a general election to amend Article XIV, Section IV of the Constitution, authorizing a land exchange with NYCO Mineral, Inc. (NYCO) to enable NYCO to continue its wollastonite mining operations in the Town of Lewis, Essex County.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: NYCO would be allowed to do exploratory drilling to determine the quantity and quality of the wollastonite vein on Lot 8, Stowers Survey, Town of Lewis, Essex county ("Lot 8"), which is currently in the Forest Preserve. Lot 8 totals approximately 200 acres.

NYCO would share the data and information derived from the exploratory drilling with the Department of Environmental Conservation ("Department"). The Department would then appraise the value of Lot 8.

The State would then convey Lot 8 to NYCO and in exchange therefore NYCO would then convey to the Department for inclusion in the Forest Preserve at least the same number of acres as is contained in Lot 8, provided that the legislature would be required to determine that the lands to be received by the state would be equal to or greater than the value of Lot 8, and provided that in no event would the value of the land to be conveyed to the State be less than one million dollars. The Department's appraisal of Lot 8 and the one million dollar floor value will ensure that the exchange parcel coming into the Forest Preserve will total significantly more than 200 acres.

If exploratory drilling occurs but the land exchange does not ultimately occur, NYCO would be required to convey to the State for incorporation into the Forest Preserve acreage that would be at least the same number of acres that was disturbed by the exploration activity, provided that the legislature would be required to determine that the lands to be received by the state would be equal to or greater than the value of disturbed acreage, and such conveyance would be subject to legislative approval.

At the end of NYCO's mining operation on Lot 8, NYCO would be required to convey Lot 8 back to the State for inclusion in the Forest Preserve.

JUSTIFICATION: The goal of this resolution is to achieve second legislative passage of a concurrent resolution authorizing a vote in a general election on amending Article XIV, Section 1 of the Constitution to allow a land exchange between the State and NYCO. Voter approval of the constitutional amendment proposal would then be required.

NYCO is the world's foremost producer and supplier of wollastonite (calcium metasilicate), which is a rare, white mineral having commercial application as a reinforcement or additive in ceramics,

paints, plastics, friction products and various building products. Wollastonite provides strength and improved performance due to its needle-shaped structure. It is inert, bio-soluble and non-hazardous, and is an ingredient in the replacement of asbestos and other man-made-fibers.

The Lewis mine produces 60,000 tons of wollastonite annually-a little more than 8% of the annual worldwide production. However, NYCO's mine is approaching the end of its pit life because the wollastonite vein extends onto adjacent Forest Preserve land.

NYCO mines wollastonite on a 260 acre tract in the Town of Lewis, Essex County, with processing facilities in Willsboro, Essex County. It has 95 full time employees and has an annual payroll of $4,600,000. It has 63 vendors within a 100 mile radius and spends $2,300,000 locally per year. It pays $260,000 in local taxes. Indirect economic benefits to the area are considerable. Thus, the closure of the Lewis mine would have devastating effects on the local economy. Ninety-five full time jobs and significant tax revenue would be lost in one of the more economically depressed area of the State.

NYCO's main competition comes from China, India, Finland, and elsewhere in the United States. In order to remain competitive, NYCO must mine as efficiently as possible and ensure customers of long-term reserves. However, recovery from the Lewis mine is now low, as NYCO approaches the end of pit life. Moreover, mining costs have tripled over the past ten years. The wollastonite deposit on NYCO's land has become more expensive to mine because interburden layers of other minerals have become more prevalent and increasing amounts of overburden must be removed to access the wollastonite. In contrast, the wollastonite mine extending under Lot 8 appears to be relatively close to the surface with relatively small amounts of interburden.

The expected life of the current mine is three years. It is estimated that mining the ore in Lot 8 could extend the mine life by between thirteen to fifteen years.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012: S.7654 Passed Senate; A.10641-A Passed Assembly

A concurrent resolution authorizing a land exchange with NYCO received first passage in 1981 (S.5819/A.8522) but received no further action.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None

EFFECTIVE DATE: That the foregoing amendment be submitted to the people for approval at the general election to be held in the year 2013 in accordance with the provisions of the election law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4688 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 18, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. LITTLE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY proposing an amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the constitution, in relation to a land exchange, in the state forest preserve with NYCO Minerals, Inc. Section 1. Resolved (if the Assembly concur), That section 1 of arti- cle 14 of the constitution be amended to read as follows: Section 1. The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed. Nothing herein contained shall prevent the state from constructing, completing and maintaining any highway heretofore specifically authorized by constitutional amendment, nor from constructing and maintaining to federal standards federal aid interstate highway route five hundred two from a point in the vicinity of the city of Glens Falls, thence northerly to the vicinity of the villages of Lake George and Warrensburg, the hamlets of South Horicon and Pottersville and thence northerly in a generally straight line on the west side of Schroon Lake to the vicinity of the hamlet of Schroon, then continuing northerly to the vicinity of Schroon Falls, Schroon River and North Hudson, and to the east of Makomis Mountain, east of the hamlet of New Russia, east of the village of Elizabethtown and continu- ing northerly in the vicinity of the hamlet of Towers Forge, and east of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain and continuing northerly to the vicinity of the village of Keeseville and the city of Plattsburgh, all of the afore- said taking not to exceed a total of three hundred acres of state forest preserve land, nor from constructing and maintaining not more than twen- ty-five miles of ski trails thirty to two hundred feet wide, together with appurtenances thereto, provided that no more than five miles of such trails shall be in excess of one hundred twenty feet wide, on the EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD89118-01-3 S. 4688 2 north, east and northwest slopes of Whiteface Mountain in Essex county, nor from constructing and maintaining not more than twenty-five miles of ski trails thirty to two hundred feet wide, together with appurtenances thereto, provided that no more than two miles of such trails shall be in excess of one hundred twenty feet wide, on the slopes of Belleayre Moun- tain in Ulster and Delaware counties and not more than forty miles of ski trails thirty to two hundred feet wide, together with appurtenances thereto, provided that no more than eight miles of such trails shall be in excess of one hundred twenty feet wide, on the slopes of Gore and Pete Gay mountains in Warren county, nor from relocating, reconstructing and maintaining a total of not more than fifty miles of existing state highways for the purpose of eliminating the hazards of dangerous curves and grades, provided a total of no more than four hundred acres of forest preserve land shall be used for such purpose and that no single relocated portion of any highway shall exceed one mile in length. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, the state may convey to the village of Saranac Lake ten acres of forest preserve land adjacent to the boundaries of such village for public use in providing for refuse disposal and in exchange therefore the village of Saranac Lake shall convey to the state thirty acres of certain true forest land owned by such village on Roaring Brook in the northern half of Lot 113, Township 11, Richards Survey. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, the state may convey to the town of Arietta twenty-eight acres of forest preserve land within such town for public use in providing for the extension of the runway and landing strip of the Piseco airport and in exchange therefor the town of Arietta shall convey to the state thirty acres of certain land owned by such town in the town of Arietta. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions and subject to legislative approval of the tracts to be exchanged prior to the actual transfer of title, the state, in order to consolidate its land holdings for better management, may convey to International Paper Company approximately eight thousand five hundred acres of forest preserve land located in townships two and three of Totten and Crossfield's Purchase and township nine of the Moose River Tract, Hamilton county, and in exchange therefore International Paper Company shall convey to the state for incorporation into the forest preserve approximately the same number of acres of land located within such townships and such County on condition that the legislature shall determine that the lands to be received by the state are at least equal in value to the lands to be conveyed by the state. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions and subject to legislative approval of the tracts to be exchanged prior to the actual transfer of title and the conditions herein set forth, the state, in order to facilitate the preservation of historic buildings listed on the national register of historic places by rejoining an historic grouping of buildings under unitary ownership and stewardship, may convey to Sagamore Institute Inc., a not-for-profit educational organization, approximately ten acres of land and buildings thereon adjoining the real property of the Sagamore Institute, Inc. and located on Sagamore Road, near Raquette Lake Village, in the Town of Long Lake, county of Hamilton, and in exchange therefor; Sagamore Insti- tute, Inc. shall convey to the state for incorporation into the forest preserve approximately two hundred acres of wild forest land located within the Adirondack Park on condition that the legislature shall determine that the lands to be received by the state are at least equal in value to the lands and buildings to be conveyed by the state and that the natural and historic character of the lands and buildings conveyed by the state will be secured by appropriate covenants and restrictions S. 4688 3 and that the lands and buildings conveyed by the state will reasonably be available for public visits according to agreement between Sagamore Institute, Inc. and the state. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions the state may convey to the town of Arietta fifty acres of forest preserve land within such town for public use in providing for the extension of the runway and landing strip of the Piseco airport and providing for the maintenance of a clear zone around such runway, and in exchange therefor, the town of Arietta shall convey to the state fifty- three acres of true forest land located in lot 2 township 2 Totten and Crossfield's Purchase in the town of Lake Pleasant. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions and subject to legislative approval prior to actual transfer of title, the state may convey to the town of Keene, Essex county, for public use as a cemetery owned by such town, approximately twelve acres of forest preserve land within such town and, in exchange therefor, the town of Keene shall convey to the state for incorporation into the forest preserve approximately one hundred forty-four acres of land, together with an easement over land owned by such town including the riverbed adjacent to the land to be conveyed to the state that will restrict further development of such land, on condition that the legislature shall determine that the proper- ty to be received by the state is at least equal in value to the land to be conveyed by the state. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions and subject to legislative approval prior to actual transfer of title, because there is no viable alternative to using forest preserve lands for the siting of drinking water wells and necessary appurtenances and because such wells are necessary to meet drinking water quality standards, the state may convey to the town of Long Lake, Hamilton county, one acre of forest preserve land within such town for public use as the site of such drinking water wells and necessary appurtenances for the municipal water supply for the hamlet of Raquette Lake. In exchange therefor, the town of Long Lake shall convey to the state at least twelve acres of land located in Hamilton county for incorporation into the forest preserve that the legislature shall determine is at least equal in value to the land to be conveyed by the state. The Raquette Lake surface reservoir shall be abandoned as a drinking water supply source. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions and subject to legislative approval prior to actual transfer of title, the state may convey to National Grid up to six acres adjoining State Route 56 in St. Lawrence County where it passes through Forest Preserve in Township 5, Lots 1, 2, 5 and 6 that is necessary and appropriate for National Grid to construct a new 46kV power line and in exchange therefore National Grid shall convey to the state for incorporation into the forest preserve at least 10 acres of forest land owned by National Grid in St. Lawrence county, on condition that the legislature shall determine that the property to be received by the state is at least equal in value to the land conveyed by the state. NOTWITHSTANDING THE FOREGOING PROVISIONS, THE STATE MAY AUTHORIZE NYCO MINERALS, INC. TO ENGAGE IN MINERAL SAMPLING OPERATIONS, SOLELY AT ITS EXPENSE, TO DETERMINE THE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF WOLLASTONITE ON APPROXIMATELY 200 ACRES OF FOREST PRESERVE LAND CONTAINED IN LOT 8, STOWERS SURVEY, TOWN OF LEWIS, ESSEX COUNTY PROVIDED THAT NYCO MINERALS, INC. SHALL PROVIDE THE DATA AND INFORMATION DERIVED FROM SUCH DRILLING TO THE STATE FOR APPRAISAL PURPOSES. SUBJECT TO LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL OF THE TRACTS TO BE EXCHANGED PRIOR TO THE ACTUAL TRANSFER OF TITLE, THE STATE MAY SUBSEQUENTLY CONVEY SAID LOT 8 TO NYCO MINERALS, INC., AND, IN S. 4688 4 EXCHANGE THEREFOR, NYCO MINERALS, INC. SHALL CONVEY TO THE STATE FOR INCORPORATION INTO THE FOREST PRESERVE NOT LESS THAN THE SAME NUMBER OF ACRES OF LAND, ON CONDITION THAT THE LEGISLATURE SHALL DETERMINE THAT THE LANDS TO BE RECEIVED BY THE STATE ARE EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN THE VALUE OF THE LAND TO BE CONVEYED BY THE STATE AND ON CONDITION THAT THE ASSESSED VALUE OF THE LAND TO BE CONVEYED TO THE STATE SHALL TOTAL NOT LESS THAN ONE MILLION DOLLARS. WHEN NYCO MINERALS, INC. TERMINATES ALL MINING OPERATIONS ON SUCH LOT 8 IT SHALL REMEDIATE THE SITE AND CONVEY TITLE TO SUCH LOT BACK TO THE STATE OF NEW YORK FOR INCLUSION IN THE FOREST PRESERVE. IN THE EVENT THAT LOT 8 IS NOT CONVEYED TO NYCO MINERALS, INC. PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH, NYCO MINERALS, INC. NEVER- THELESS SHALL CONVEY TO THE STATE FOR INCORPORATION INTO THE FOREST PRESERVE NOT LESS THAN THE SAME NUMBER OF ACRES OF LAND THAT IS DISTURBED BY ANY MINERAL SAMPLING OPERATIONS CONDUCTED ON SAID LOT 8 PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH ON CONDITION THAT THE LEGISLATURE SHALL DETERMINE THAT THE LANDS TO BE RECEIVED BY THE STATE ARE EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN THE VALUE OF THE LANDS DISTURBED BY THE MINERAL SAMPLING OPERATIONS. S 2. RESOLVED (if the Assembly concur), That the foregoing amendment be submitted to the people for approval at the general election to be held in the year 2013 in accordance with the provisions of the election law.

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