Authorizes the commissioner of environmental conservation to grant utility easements within a reforestation area upon certain findings.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to the granting of utility easements within reforestation areas
PURPOSE: To authorize the issuance of a permit to allow for a utility easement along a public roadway on state owned reforestation land.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The bill adds a new Section 9-0511 of the Environmental Conservation Law to provide that DEC may issue a permit for the placement of utility lines along a public roadway right of way in instances where the municipal entity holding the right of way includes the placement of utilities. In order to issue the permit, DEC must review the proposed easement for environmental compatibility and determine that there will be no significant impact on the environment when considered in light of likely alternative energy sources. (i.e., a propane tank and/or a generator.)
EXISTING LAW: Existing law does not provide authority for DEC to issue easements along public right of ways in state owned reforestation lands to private landowners.
JUSTIFICATION: Article 9 of the Environmental Conservation law has been interpreted by DEC to prohibit DEC from issuing a right of way for utility purposes through an existing public roadway in order to provide utility service to private individuals who own cabins within the reforestation land. Section 9-0501 of the ECL provides that reforestation lands consist of lands of at least 500 contiguous acres which are forever devoted to the planting, growing, and harvesting of trees. Many of these reforestation areas were acquired with existing residential cabins, and public roadways. In instances where a cabin owner wishes to provide utility service to his residence, he is often forced to opt for the use of a generator as an alternative power source. This alternative power source actually may result in greater environmental stress than electric service. There are an increasing number of individuals who are turning former seasonal cabins into year round homes for retirement usage which could utilize utility service.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009 - S.3617, A.7140
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal cost based on review process and permit issuance.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4759 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 20, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. O'MARA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to the granting of utility easements within reforestation areas THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The environmental conservation law is amended by adding a new section 9-0511 to read as follows: S 9-0511. UTILITY EASEMENTS. THE COMMISSIONER IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO GRANT UTILITY EASEMENTS FOR FAIR MARKET VALUE WITHIN A REFORESTATION AREA FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVID- ING ELECTRICAL POWER TO PERSONS RESIDING WITHIN SUCH AREA. SUCH EASE- MENTS SHALL BE LIMITED TO PLACEMENT WITHIN THE FOOTPRINT OF A PUBLIC ROADWAY. ANY SUCH EASEMENT MAY BE GRANTED UPON APPLICATION BY ANY PERSON RESIDING WITHIN A REFORESTATION AREA, WHERE GRANTING OF SUCH EASEMENT WOULD ALLOW SUCH APPLICANT TO RECEIVE ELECTRICAL POWER. IN MAKING HIS OR HER DETERMINATION WITH RESPECT TO WHETHER OR NOT AN APPLICATION FOR A UTILITY EASEMENT SHALL BE GRANTED, THE COMMISSIONER SHALL CONSIDER: 1. THE ENVIRONMENTAL COMPATIBILITY OF UTILITY POLES AND UTILITY LINES WITH THEIR SURROUNDINGS, INCLUDING THE IMPACT OF SUCH POLES AND LINES ON THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, WILDLIFE AND BIRDS, THE AESTHETICS OF THE REGION AND OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES; AND 2. WHETHER OR NOT THE PUBLIC GOOD SHALL BE SERVED BY GRANTING SUCH EASEMENT. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD09728-01-1