Proposed Legislative Amendment on Environment

Amendment Purpose: 
1967 Constitutional Convention Amendment: Maintains "forever wild" status of Adirondack and Catskill Preserves and now includes localities within the "blue lines" without a new constitutional amendment
Summary of Amendment: 
  • Continues requirement that state forest preserves in the Adirondack and Catskill mountains be "forever kept as wild forest lands."
  • Adds statement setting forth state policy to conserve and protect natural resources and scenic beauty, including abatement of air and water pollution and  excessive and unnecessary noise."

Article VIII

Natural Resources and Conservation

Section 1. This article provides for the conservation and protection of the state's natural resources and scenic beauty.  It continues the present constitutional requirement that the lands constituting the state forest preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands," and shortens and simplifies the statement of the several exceptions to that provision.  It provides that future exceptions may be made only by concurrent resolution of the legislature adopted at two regular sessions of succeeding terms of the legislature and thereafter approved by the people.

Section 2. The article also provides that it shall be the public policy of the state to conserve and protect its natural resources and scenic beauty and to encourage tile improvement of its agricultural lands.  The article creates a state nature and historical preserve of properties of natural and historical significance.  Properties so dedicated and placed within the nature and historical preserve may not be taken or otherwise disposed of except by statute enacted by two successive regular sessions of the legislature.

Legislative Amendment Text: 

Article VIII

Natural Resources and Conservation

§ 2. The provisions of section one of this article shall not apply to:

(I) The use of not more than three per cent of such lands, specifically designated by the legislature, for the construction, operation and maintenance by the state, of reservoirs for municipal water supply and for the canals of the state, after the boundaries and high flow lines thereof shall have been accurately surveyed and fixed, and after public notice, hearing and determination that such lands are required for such public use, the expense thereof to be apportioned to the public and private properties and municipalities thereby benefited to the extent of the benefits received;

(2) Lands within the forest preserve counties, but outside the Adirondack and Catskill parks as now fixed by law, heretofore or hereafter acquired and dedicated by the state for forest or wildlife conservation, except that such lands shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private;

(3) The use for any state purpose, or the sale, exchange or other disposition of any lands within the forest preserve but outside the Adirondack and Catskill parks as now fixed by law, which lands consist in any case of no more than ten contiguous acres entirely separated from any other portion of the forest preserve, except that no sale, exchange or other disposition shall be made unless it has been determined by the state that such lands are not necessary or useful for conservation, parks or recreation purposes;

(4) Any other use or disposition of forest preserve lands here­tofore authorized by constitutional provisions, and the use of such lands for public campsites of the kind presently constructed and maintained, and in areas similar to those in which they are presently located; and

(5) Any other use or disposition of lands hereafter authorized by concurrent resolution of the legislature adopted at two regular sessions of succeeding terms of the legislature and thereafter approved by the people.

Legislative History: 

In 1967, the New York State Constitutional Convention proposed a whole new Constitution that contained this provision and these changes to a vote of the people of the State of New York at the General Election asking "Shall the proposed new Constitution, adopted by the Constitutional Convention, and the Resolution submitting same, be approved?"  The Constitution as a whole was voted down by the people, which included these changes. 

Learn more on our page devoted to the 1967 Convention.  The Proceedings of the Convention are available from the New York State Library and you can download; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; background-position: 100% 50%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat; "> a PDF copy of the Constitution proposed by the 1967 Constitutional Convention. 




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