In their first full session of 2022, the Greene County Legislature unanimously adopted a resolution designed to limit the ability of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to purchase more land in Greene County.
Resolution 13-22 adds Greene County to a petition of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors to request specific relief from the NYS DEC, DOH and DEP to prevent New York City from encumbering “large sections of stream buffer/corridors with restrictive conservation easements in perpetuity”.
Under a current NYS Health Department mandate, New York City has the right to annually purchase and preserve up to 56,000 acres of privately owned land to protect the quality of drinking water within its reservoirs throughout the Catskill Mountains.
Greene joins Delaware County in support of a new plan that would replace NYC purchase with leases held by the local municipalities where the land is located.
To date, the city has purchased over 200 square miles under the Land Acquisition Plan, which many residents and municipal officials view as severely restricting any kind of development (both public and private).
“It has always been our mission to be responsible stewards of the natural resources within our communities” says Matt Luvera – Acting Chair of the Greene County Legislature. “We are the ones who live, work, and raise families here, and we must have the ability to provide opportunities for, and improve the quality of life of our residents. That’s why we need the DEP to limit its land acquisition and work within a voluntary, municipally approved Stream Corridor Acquisition Program.”
Specific areas of concern to the legislature include restrictions that would negatively impact or impede the following:
- Installation and upgrade of the infrastructure required do provide basic utilities
- Maintenance, upgrades, and safety improvements to roads
- Siting, maintenance and expansion of stream crossings
- Flood mitigation projects
- Renewable Energy projects
NYC is required to develop a new, Long-Term Land Acquisition Plan to cover the period from 2023 to 2033, and this resolution requests that the City “refrain from entering into new contracts to purchase fee titles and/or conservations easements under the [current] Land Acquisition Program within the County of Greene”.
It also requests that, under the new plan, the Department of Environmental Protection limit its land and conservation easement acquisition to specific areas within the County.
NYS Assemblyman Chris Tague who represents Greene County was quoted in support of the plan for more local control saying: “I have always been under the assumption that it’s best to let the locals do what’s best for their communities — they’re the ones that are there doing the work, they’re are the ones that know their people, they’re the ones that know what the possibilities are and opportunities are in the future”.
Copies of the Resolution have been dispatched to the Governor, NYS Senators and Assembly Representatives, DEC, DEP, and DOH Commissioners, as well as the EPA Region 2 Administrator and the region’s US Congressman.