NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A5390B
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to
setting conservation goals for the state and including efforts to combat
the biodiversity and climate crises in the state's land acquisition
policy; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon the expira-
Relates to including an effort to combat the biodiversity and climate
crises in the state's land acquisition policy
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Adds new section 49-0113 to the Environmental Conservation
Law to set a goal in New York's land acquisition plan to conserve 30% of
the land in New York State by 2030. Directs the Department of Environ-
mental Conservation to develop strategies and methodologies to achieve
this conservation goal.
Section 2: Amends section 49-0207 of the Environmental Conservation Law
to include the goal of preserving 30% of the state's land by 2030 as
part of the state's land acquisition plan.
Every 30 seconds, a football field worth of natural areas disappears to
development in the United States. Over the last 10 years, natural weath-
er disasters, exacerbated by a rapidly changing global climate, cost New
York State and the federal government an estimated $37.3 billion in
response and is projected _to cost an additional $55 billion by 2029,
according to Rebuild By Design, a coalition of New York's leading
infrastructure experts and stakeholders.
Scientists warn that in order to bolster resilience to climate change
and prevent mass extinctions of species critical to our ecosystem, we
must preserve 30% of our lands and water systems globally by 2030. In
2018, the Center for American Progress found that just 12% of total U.S.
land is conserved or protected, while approximately 19% of New York
State land is currently conserved or protected. This bill directs the
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and
relevant state agencies to set strategic goals for achieving the conser-
vation of at least 30% of New York State's land by 2030. The agencies
would be tasked with identifying land available for conservation and
prioritizing the conservation of land that would promote biodiversity,
preserve open space and protect green space in urban areas. The bill
would also ensure any conservation plan takes the needs of environmental
justice communities into account.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2021-2022 Regular Sessions
February 16, 2021
Introduced by M. of A. FAHY, SIMON, THIELE, GRIFFIN, STECK -- read once
and referred to the Committee on Environmental Conservation -- commit-
tee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recom-
mitted to said committee -- again reported from said committee with
amendments, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said
AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to
setting conservation goals for the state and including efforts to
combat the biodiversity and climate crises in the state's land acqui-
sition policy; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon
the expiration thereof
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The environmental conservation law is amended by adding a
2 new section 49-0113 to read as follows:
3 § 49-0113. Thirty by thirty conservation goal.
4 1. It shall be the goal of the state to support and contribute to
5 national efforts to conserve at least thirty percent of United States
6 lands and inland waters and at least thirty percent of United States
7 ocean areas by the year two thousand thirty.
8 2. The department in consultation with the commissioner of the office
9 of parks, recreation and historic preservation, shall develop strategies
10 and a methodology to achieve the goal, including but not limited to:
11 (a) coordination with the state land acquisition plan;
12 (b) prioritizing protections for water sources and sole source aqui-
13 fers, including wetlands protections;
14 (c) protections and restoration projects for preserving and increasing
15 biodiversity, including habitat restoration, with a focus on habitats of
16 endangered and threatened species including resilient and connected
17 lands and corridors providing means for wildlife migration and habita-
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 5390--B 2
1 (d) expanding access to nature and nature's benefits and equitable
2 outdoor access in communities in every region;
3 (e) consideration of a broad range of landscapes including urban,
4 suburban and rural natural areas, wetlands, forests, and watersheds;
5 (f) consideration of the state's economic sustainability, including
6 preservation of food security and consultation with the department of
7 agriculture and markets on issues related to farmland preservation of
8 working lands;
9 (g) increasing climate resilience, including reducing risk from
10 extreme weather events including cooling urban landscapes and natural
11 solutions to prevent erosion and flooding;
12 (h) collaboration with federal and state research institutions to
13 utilize innovative scientific observation technology to better under-
14 stand the state's conservation needs and biodiversity and threats there-
16 (i) implementing actions in a manner that includes consideration of
17 the urgency of meeting the goal while still preserving public input and
19 (j) collaboration with tribal partners to incorporate tribal expertise
20 and traditional ecological knowledge to better understand the state's
21 conservation needs and biodiversity and threats thereto; and
22 (k) participating in regional, national, and international efforts to
23 advance biodiversity protection, including preventing extinctions.
24 3. Conservation measures shall be undertaken in ways that serve all
25 communities, including low-income, disadvantaged and vulnerable communi-
27 4. The department and office shall prepare a draft plan and shall
28 propose no later than July first, two thousand twenty-two, a schedule of
29 public hearings thereon.
30 5. On or before July first, two thousand twenty-three and every three
31 years thereafter, the department and office shall submit the plan and
32 any recommendations to the governor and legislature.
33 § 2. Section 49-0207 of the environmental conservation law, as added
34 by chapter 146 of the laws of 1990, is amended to read as follows:
35 § 49-0207. State land acquisition plan.
36 1. The department and the office shall prepare a state land acquisi-
37 tion plan to guide selection of projects for state acquisition taking
38 into account regional advisory committee priorities and the department's
39 and office's assessment of need for land acquisition projects. Such plan
40 shall also take into account the goal of the state to facilitate the
41 conservation of at least thirty percent of land in New York state by the
42 year two thousand thirty pursuant to section 49-0113 of this article.
43 Such plan shall include an identification of:
44 a. lands, by region and category, for which acquisition is of a high
45 priority in order to carry out the purposes of this title;
46 b. lands, by region, having statewide or regional environmental,
47 historic, cultural or recreational significance that are threatened with
48 diminishment of resource value;
49 c. the department's and office's priorities of categories of land, by
50 region, for future acquisition; and
51 d. lands, by region, having statewide or regional environmental,
52 historic, cultural or recreational significance which should be consid-
53 ered for state acquisition, but which do not qualify for acquisition
54 under present law.
A. 5390--B 3
1 2. Such plan shall include consideration of the inventory prepared
2 pursuant to section 49-0205 of this title and shall identify those areas
3 within the state which are not adequately protected in such categories.
4 3. In preparing such plan, the department and office shall:
5 a. conduct one or more public hearings in each of the department's
6 administrative regions.
7 b. consult with:
8 (i) the regional advisory committees;
9 (ii) officials of departments and agencies of the state having duties
10 and responsibilities concerning the protection of open space and
11 natural, environmental, historic, cultural or recreational resources;
12 (iii) officials and representatives of local governments in the state;
14 (iv) persons, organizations and groups interested in the protection of
15 open space and natural, environmental, historic, cultural or recreation-
16 al resources of the state.
17 c. request and receive from any department, division, board, bureau,
18 commission or any other agency of the state or any political subdivision
19 thereof or any public authority such assistance and data as may be
20 necessary to enable the department and office to carry out its responsi-
21 bilities under this section.
22 4. The department and office shall prepare a draft plan and shall
23 propose, no later than January thirty-first, nineteen hundred ninety-
24 one, a schedule of public hearings thereon.
25 5. On or before January thirty-first, nineteen hundred ninety-two and
26 every three years thereafter, the department and office shall submit the
27 plan to the governor, the majority leader of the senate and the speaker
28 of the assembly. Upon approval by the governor such plan shall become a
29 guide for the implementation of the acquisition programs of the depart-
30 ment and office.
31 § 3. This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire and be
32 deemed repealed January 1, 2031.