The state of New York is poised to take similar action as has Vermont, although with a lighter hand.
A bill to amend the New York State environmental conservation law has passed the State Assembly and now awaits passage in the State Senate. Bill 5390-B establishes the State’s “Thirty by thirty conservation goal,” mirroring the Biden Administration’s 30×30 target.
The bill sets the following purpose for the State:
“It shall be the goal of the state to support and contribute to national efforts to conserve at least thirty percent of United States lands and inland waters and at least thirty percent of Unites States ocean areas by the year two-thousand thirty.”
The legislation directs the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and other state agencies to: (1) coordinate state land acquisition plans; (2) prioritize protections for water sources and sole source aquifers, including wetlands; and (3) pursue “protection and restoration projects for preserving and increasing biodiversity.” Specifically, the bill amends the current law to take into account the goal of conserving 30 percent of the land in the State’s land acquisition plan. The amended language reads:
“The department and the office shall prepare a state land acquisition plan to guide selection of projects for state acquisition taking into account regional advisory committee priorities and the department’s and office’s assessment of need for land acquisition projects. Such plan shall also take into account the goal of the state to facilitate the conservation of at least thirty percent of land in New York state by the year two thousand thirty pursuant to section 49-0113 of this article. (Underlined language is the amended language to be added to the existing law)
According to the New York Protected Areas Database (NYPAD), twenty percent of the state is already considered “protected or designated as natural areas, conservation lands, open space, or recreational areas,” approximately five million acres. Most of these lands are state protected lands in upstate New York, and only .8 percent of these are federally owned. Also included as a part of these protected areas are 902,000 acres of conservation easements managed by the DEC.
The Nature Conservancy is advocating for the passage of the bill, as well as, two bonds that will go before voters to fund environmental initiatives in the state. The first is for $4.2 million dollars and the second would grant $400 million to the agenda.
Also missing from the New York State bill is any mention of respecting or protecting private property rights. Again, none.