Two Propositions on NY Ballot Ask Voters to Decide on Adirondack Land Exchanges Reviewed by Momizat on . NEW YORK - When New York State voters go to the polls next Tuesday, besides choosing candidates in their local and county elections, they will be asked to vote NEW YORK - When New York State voters go to the polls next Tuesday, besides choosing candidates in their local and county elections, they will be asked to vote Rating: 0
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Two Propositions on NY Ballot Ask Voters to Decide on Adirondack Land Exchanges

Two Propositions on NY Ballot Ask Voters to Decide on Adirondack Land Exchanges

NEW YORK – When New York State voters go to the polls next Tuesday, besides choosing candidates in their local and county elections, they will be asked to vote yes or no on six constitutional amendment propositions, two of which are land exchanges.

Proposition 4 would amend the the state Constitution to authorize the Legislature to settle longstanding disputes between the state and private entities over ownership of certain parcels of land in the town of Long Lake, Hamilton County. In exchange for giving up its claim to disputed parcels, the state would get land to be incorporated into the forest preserve that would benefit the forest preserve more than the disputed parcels currently do. The proposed amendment would permit the state to settle the so-called “Township 40 claims” and clear local land titles in exchange for funding to purchase land the state has long wanted to add to Adirondack Park.

Proposition 5 would allow NYCO Minerals, Inc., a private company, to continue its mining operations in the town of Lewis, Essex County. The state Constitution generally forbids the lease, sale, exchange, or taking of any forest preserve land. But the proposed amendment would allow the state to convey approximately 200 forest preserve acres to NYCO Minerals for mining. In exchange, NYCO Minerals would give the state at least the same amount of land of at least the same value, with a minimum assessed value of $1 million. This land would be added to the forest preserve. When NYCO Minerals finishes mining, the company would restore the condition of the land it received in the exchange and return it to the forest preserve.

The proposed amendment also would allow NYCO Minerals to test to determine the quantity and quality of the mineral to be mined on the land before the exchange occurs. It would require NYCO Minerals to give the state its test results so that the state can use them to determine the value of the land to be conveyed to NYCO Minerals. The proposed amendment also would require that if, after testing, NYCO Minerals does not want the forest preserve land, the company still must give the state at least the same amount of land of at least the same value of the land that was disturbed by the testing. This land would be incorporated into the forest preserve.

Former Governor George Pataki has endorsed both propositions. In an op/ed piece for The Journal News, he said Proposition 4 would “end over 100 years of costly legal disputes and bring into the Forest Preserve a beautiful parcel of land.”

Pataki called Proposition 5 “a rare opportunity to expand the Forest Preserve near Lake Placid while helping to protect 100 jobs that are extremely important to the region.”

However, while Protect the Adirondacks! Inc. a nonprofit dedicated to the protection and stewardship of lands in the Adirondack Park, supports Prop 4, it opposes Prop 5.

“It sets a terrible precedent for the Forest Preserve,” the group states on its website. “The bill language is vague with too many uncertainties. The Forest Preserve lands to be exchanged with NYCO are old growth forests, and NYCO has long planned to move from its Lewis mine to a new fully permitted mine nearby called Oakhill, which ensures its long-term mineral supply.”

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About The Author

Dutchess editor

Award-winning journalist Bob Dumas’ writing and editing career spans more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the prestigious Maggie Award for outstanding magazine writing, and has won several New York State Press Association honors for his work in community-based journalism. He was named “Who’s Who in Aquatics” by Aquatics International magazine for his for exposes on safety in the swimming pool industry. He has written for national trade magazines for one of the largest business-to-business publishers in the U.S., and was the deputy editor for North County News in Yorktown. He graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego with a BA in Communication.

Email the author: Bob Dumas

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Comments (9)

  • Jeff Green

    “When NYCO Minerals finishes mining, the company would restore the condition of the land it received in the exchange and return it to the forest preserve.”

    You cannot “restore the condition of the land it received”once you’ve bulldozed and blasted the life out of it.

    I’m voting NO on this ballot measure.

    Reply
  • Joe

    I’ll be voting yes to Prop 4 and NO to Prop 5! The land will be destroyed by the greedy corporates.

    Reply
  • H Graham

    In terms of ‘restoration,’ look to Kentucky and W Virginia. Coal trucks run over school children speeding on back roads, creeks get filled in and choked, the restoration is merely planting scrub grass where forest once stood, and you cannot rebuild a mountain you’ve gutted or decapitated. And the precedent, even if this swap ‘works,’ is a very slippery slope. I’m voting no.

    Reply
  • Ede

    I’m voting yes for both. Jobs + 1,500 acres of new land sounds like a win win to me.

    Reply
  • Lowman

    Why are school children speeding on back roads?

    Reply
  • Paul Appleton

    Almost everything you do and touch during the day, including your computer and phone, has mined materials in it. I’m voting YES on prop 5. We can’t keep our lifestyle without corporations providing the stuff to make it happen. Losing part of a forest that would never benefit but a few people is a good exhange.

    Reply
  • Kara

    Shame that this passed. It’s too bad people value having frivolous things over the health of the planet that sustains our actual lives. Maintaining the average American’s wasteful lifestyle is not more essential than maintaining the qualities of Earth that actually keep us alive. We’re digging our own grave as a species by continually allowing this stuff to happen, and hardly anyone seems to care.

    Reply
    • Georgie

      Because people seem to think that without these jobs those people will be screwed and end up on welfare. Please, they have another mine right next door which isn’t fully functional yet. There’s plenty of other jobs, and once people get a chance they’ll find something else that’s related and not on a forest preserve. I love how people keep saying but without mining we won’t have the stuff we like. Okay, go mine. Just don’t do it on a forest preserve. Problem solved.
      I voted no, but it still passed because that language was leading and people are easily swayed by pretty language.

      Reply

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