senate Bill S4688

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Authorizes the state to engage in a land exchange with NYCO Minerals, Inc. relating to certain land in the town of Lewis, county of Essex, within the forest preserve (second passage)

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Archive: Last Bill Status - Passed Assembly


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jun 27, 2013 delivered to secretary of state
Jun 19, 2013 returned to senate
passed assembly
ordered to third reading rules cal.488
substituted for a7974
Jun 11, 2013 referred to environmental conservation
delivered to assembly
passed senate
Jun 10, 2013 ordered to third reading cal.1201
committee discharged and committed to rules
May 06, 2013 opinion referred to judiciary
Apr 19, 2013 to attorney-general for opinion
Apr 18, 2013 referred to judiciary

Votes

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S4688 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7974
Law Section:
Constitution, Concurrent Resolutions to Amend
Laws Affected:
Amd Art 14 ยง1, Constn
Versions Introduced in 2011-2012 Legislative Session:
S7654A, A10641A

S4688 - Bill Texts

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Authorizes the state to engage in a land exchange with NYCO Minerals, Inc. relating to certain land in the town of Lewis, county of Essex, within the state forest preserve (second passage).

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BILL NUMBER:S4688

TITLE OF BILL: CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY
proposing an amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the constitution,
in relation to a land exchange, in the state forest preserve with NYCO
Minerals, Inc.

PURPOSE: Passage of this resolution constitutes second passage of a
measure to be put on the ballot at a general election to amend Article
XIV, Section IV of the Constitution, authorizing a land exchange with
NYCO Mineral, Inc. (NYCO) to enable NYCO to continue its wollastonite
mining operations in the Town of Lewis, Essex County.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: NYCO would be allowed to do exploratory
drilling to determine the quantity and quality of the wollastonite
vein on Lot 8, Stowers Survey, Town of Lewis, Essex county ("Lot 8"),
which is currently in the Forest Preserve. Lot 8 totals approximately
200 acres.

NYCO would share the data and information derived from the exploratory
drilling with the Department of Environmental Conservation
("Department"). The Department would then appraise the value of Lot 8.

The State would then convey Lot 8 to NYCO and in exchange therefore
NYCO would then convey to the Department for inclusion in the Forest
Preserve at least the same number of acres as is contained in Lot 8,
provided that the legislature would be required to determine that the
lands to be received by the state would be equal to or greater than
the value of Lot 8, and provided that in no event would the value of
the land to be conveyed to the State be less than one million dollars.
The Department's appraisal of Lot 8 and the one million dollar floor
value will ensure that the exchange parcel coming into the Forest
Preserve will total significantly more than 200 acres.

If exploratory drilling occurs but the land exchange does not
ultimately occur, NYCO would be required to convey to the State for
incorporation into the Forest Preserve acreage that would be at least
the same number of acres that was disturbed by the exploration
activity, provided that the legislature would be required to determine
that the lands to be received by the state would be equal to or
greater than the value of disturbed acreage, and such conveyance would
be subject to legislative approval.

At the end of NYCO's mining operation on Lot 8, NYCO would be required
to convey Lot 8 back to the State for inclusion in the Forest
Preserve.

JUSTIFICATION: The goal of this resolution is to achieve second
legislative passage of a concurrent resolution authorizing a vote in a
general election on amending Article XIV, Section 1 of the
Constitution to allow a land exchange between the State and NYCO.
Voter approval of the constitutional amendment proposal would then be
required.

NYCO is the world's foremost producer and supplier of wollastonite
(calcium metasilicate), which is a rare, white mineral having
commercial application as a reinforcement or additive in ceramics,


paints, plastics, friction products and various building products.
Wollastonite provides strength and improved performance due to its
needle-shaped structure. It is inert, bio-soluble and non-hazardous,
and is an ingredient in the replacement of asbestos and other
man-made-fibers.

The Lewis mine produces 60,000 tons of wollastonite annually-a little
more than 8% of the annual worldwide production. However, NYCO's mine
is approaching the end of its pit life because the wollastonite vein
extends onto adjacent Forest Preserve land.

NYCO mines wollastonite on a 260 acre tract in the Town of Lewis,
Essex County, with processing facilities in Willsboro, Essex County.
It has 95 full time employees and has an annual payroll of $4,600,000.
It has 63 vendors within a 100 mile radius and spends $2,300,000
locally per year. It pays $260,000 in local taxes. Indirect economic
benefits to the area are considerable. Thus, the closure of the Lewis
mine would have devastating effects on the local economy. Ninety-five
full time jobs and significant tax revenue would be lost in one of the
more economically depressed area of the State.

NYCO's main competition comes from China, India, Finland, and
elsewhere in the United States. In order to remain competitive, NYCO
must mine as efficiently as possible and ensure customers of long-term
reserves. However, recovery from the Lewis mine is now low, as NYCO
approaches the end of pit life. Moreover, mining costs have tripled
over the past ten years. The wollastonite deposit on NYCO's land has
become more expensive to mine because interburden layers of other
minerals have become more prevalent and increasing amounts of
overburden must be removed to access the wollastonite. In contrast,
the wollastonite mine extending under Lot 8 appears to be relatively
close to the surface with relatively small amounts of interburden.

The expected life of the current mine is three years. It is estimated
that mining the ore in Lot 8 could extend the mine life by between
thirteen to fifteen years.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012: S.7654 Passed Senate; A.10641-A Passed
Assembly

A concurrent resolution authorizing a land exchange with NYCO received
first passage in 1981 (S.5819/A.8522) but received no further action.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None

EFFECTIVE DATE: That the foregoing amendment be submitted to the
people for approval at the general election to be held in the year
2013 in accordance with the provisions of the election law.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  4688

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             April 18, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  LITTLE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary

            CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY

proposing an amendment to section 1 of article 14 of  the  constitution,
  in relation to a land exchange, in the state forest preserve with NYCO
  Minerals, Inc.

  Section  1. Resolved (if the Assembly concur), That section 1 of arti-
cle 14 of the constitution be amended to read as follows:
  Section 1. The lands of the state, now owned  or  hereafter  acquired,
constituting  the  forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever
kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or  exchanged,
or  be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber
thereon be sold, removed or destroyed. Nothing  herein  contained  shall
prevent  the  state  from  constructing,  completing and maintaining any
highway heretofore specifically authorized by constitutional  amendment,
nor  from  constructing and maintaining to federal standards federal aid
interstate highway route five hundred two from a point in  the  vicinity
of  the  city  of  Glens  Falls, thence northerly to the vicinity of the
villages of Lake George and Warrensburg, the hamlets  of  South  Horicon
and  Pottersville  and  thence northerly in a generally straight line on
the west side of Schroon Lake to the vicinity of the hamlet of  Schroon,
then  continuing  northerly  to  the  vicinity of Schroon Falls, Schroon
River and North Hudson, and to the east of Makomis Mountain, east of the
hamlet of New Russia, east of the village of Elizabethtown and  continu-
ing northerly in the vicinity of the hamlet of Towers Forge, and east of
Poke-O-Moonshine  Mountain  and  continuing northerly to the vicinity of
the village of Keeseville and the city of Plattsburgh, all of the afore-
said taking not to exceed a total of three hundred acres of state forest
preserve land, nor from constructing and maintaining not more than twen-
ty-five miles of ski trails thirty to two hundred  feet  wide,  together
with  appurtenances  thereto,  provided  that no more than five miles of
such trails shall be in excess of one hundred twenty feet wide,  on  the

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD89118-01-3

S. 4688                             2

north,  east and northwest slopes of Whiteface Mountain in Essex county,
nor from constructing and maintaining not more than twenty-five miles of
ski trails thirty to two hundred feet wide, together with  appurtenances
thereto, provided that no more than two miles of such trails shall be in
excess of one hundred twenty feet wide, on the slopes of Belleayre Moun-
tain  in  Ulster  and Delaware counties and not more than forty miles of
ski trails thirty to two hundred feet wide, together with  appurtenances
thereto,  provided that no more than eight miles of such trails shall be
in excess of one hundred twenty feet wide, on the  slopes  of  Gore  and
Pete Gay mountains in Warren county, nor from relocating, reconstructing
and  maintaining  a total of not more than fifty miles of existing state
highways for the purpose of eliminating the hazards of dangerous  curves
and  grades,  provided  a  total  of  no more than four hundred acres of
forest preserve land shall be used for such purpose and that  no  single
relocated  portion  of  any  highway  shall  exceed  one mile in length.
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, the state may  convey  to  the
village  of  Saranac  Lake ten acres of forest preserve land adjacent to
the boundaries of such village for public use in  providing  for  refuse
disposal  and  in  exchange  therefore the village of Saranac Lake shall
convey to the state thirty acres of certain true forest  land  owned  by
such  village on Roaring Brook in the northern half of Lot 113, Township
11, Richards Survey. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, the state
may convey to the town of Arietta twenty-eight acres of forest  preserve
land  within  such town for public use in providing for the extension of
the runway and landing strip of  the  Piseco  airport  and  in  exchange
therefor  the  town of Arietta shall convey to the state thirty acres of
certain land owned by such town in the town of Arietta.  Notwithstanding
the  foregoing  provisions  and  subject  to legislative approval of the
tracts to be exchanged prior to the actual transfer of title, the state,
in order to consolidate its land holdings  for  better  management,  may
convey  to International Paper Company approximately eight thousand five
hundred acres of forest preserve land located in townships two and three
of Totten and Crossfield's Purchase and township nine of the Moose River
Tract, Hamilton county, and in exchange  therefore  International  Paper
Company  shall  convey  to  the  state for incorporation into the forest
preserve approximately the same number of acres of land  located  within
such  townships  and such County on condition that the legislature shall
determine that the lands to be received by the state are at least  equal
in  value  to the lands to be conveyed by the state. Notwithstanding the
foregoing provisions and subject to legislative approval of  the  tracts
to be exchanged prior to the actual transfer of title and the conditions
herein  set forth, the state, in order to facilitate the preservation of
historic buildings listed on the national register of historic places by
rejoining an historic grouping of buildings under unitary ownership  and
stewardship,  may  convey  to  Sagamore Institute Inc., a not-for-profit
educational organization, approximately ten acres of land and  buildings
thereon  adjoining the real property of the Sagamore Institute, Inc. and
located on Sagamore Road, near Raquette Lake Village,  in  the  Town  of
Long Lake, county of Hamilton, and in exchange therefor; Sagamore Insti-
tute,  Inc.  shall convey to the state for incorporation into the forest
preserve approximately two hundred acres of  wild  forest  land  located
within  the  Adirondack  Park  on  condition  that the legislature shall
determine that the lands to be received by the state are at least  equal
in value to the lands and buildings to be conveyed by the state and that
the  natural  and historic character of the lands and buildings conveyed
by the state will be secured by appropriate covenants  and  restrictions

S. 4688                             3

and  that  the lands and buildings conveyed by the state will reasonably
be available for public visits according to agreement  between  Sagamore
Institute, Inc.  and the state. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions
the  state  may  convey  to  the  town  of Arietta fifty acres of forest
preserve land within such town for  public  use  in  providing  for  the
extension  of  the  runway  and  landing strip of the Piseco airport and
providing for the maintenance of a clear zone around such runway, and in
exchange therefor, the town of Arietta shall convey to the state  fifty-
three  acres  of true forest land located in lot 2 township 2 Totten and
Crossfield's Purchase in the town of Lake Pleasant.
  Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions and  subject  to  legislative
approval  prior to actual transfer of title, the state may convey to the
town of Keene, Essex county, for public use as a cemetery owned by  such
town,  approximately  twelve  acres  of forest preserve land within such
town and, in exchange therefor, the town of Keene shall  convey  to  the
state  for  incorporation  into  the  forest  preserve approximately one
hundred forty-four acres of land, together with an  easement  over  land
owned  by  such  town  including the riverbed adjacent to the land to be
conveyed to the state that will restrict  further  development  of  such
land, on condition that the legislature shall determine that the proper-
ty to be received by the state is at least equal in value to the land to
be conveyed by the state.
  Notwithstanding  the  foregoing  provisions and subject to legislative
approval prior to actual transfer of title, because there is  no  viable
alternative  to  using  forest preserve lands for the siting of drinking
water wells and necessary  appurtenances  and  because  such  wells  are
necessary to meet drinking water quality standards, the state may convey
to  the  town of Long Lake, Hamilton county, one acre of forest preserve
land within such town for public use as the site of such drinking  water
wells and necessary appurtenances for the municipal water supply for the
hamlet  of  Raquette  Lake.  In exchange therefor, the town of Long Lake
shall convey to the state at least  twelve  acres  of  land  located  in
Hamilton  county  for  incorporation  into  the forest preserve that the
legislature shall determine is at least equal in value to the land to be
conveyed by the state. The Raquette  Lake  surface  reservoir  shall  be
abandoned as a drinking water supply source.
  Notwithstanding  the  foregoing  provisions and subject to legislative
approval prior to actual transfer of title,  the  state  may  convey  to
National  Grid  up to six acres adjoining State Route 56 in St. Lawrence
County where it passes through Forest Preserve in Township 5, Lots 1, 2,
5 and 6 that is necessary and appropriate for National Grid to construct
a new 46kV power line and in  exchange  therefore  National  Grid  shall
convey  to the state for incorporation into the forest preserve at least
10 acres of forest land owned by National Grid in St.  Lawrence  county,
on  condition  that the legislature shall determine that the property to
be received by the state is at least equal in value to the land conveyed
by the state.
  NOTWITHSTANDING THE FOREGOING PROVISIONS, THE STATE MAY AUTHORIZE NYCO
MINERALS, INC. TO ENGAGE IN MINERAL SAMPLING OPERATIONS, SOLELY  AT  ITS
EXPENSE,  TO  DETERMINE  THE  QUANTITY  AND  QUALITY  OF WOLLASTONITE ON
APPROXIMATELY 200 ACRES OF FOREST PRESERVE  LAND  CONTAINED  IN  LOT  8,
STOWERS SURVEY, TOWN OF LEWIS, ESSEX COUNTY PROVIDED THAT NYCO MINERALS,
INC.  SHALL  PROVIDE THE DATA AND INFORMATION DERIVED FROM SUCH DRILLING
TO THE STATE FOR APPRAISAL PURPOSES. SUBJECT TO LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL  OF
THE  TRACTS  TO  BE EXCHANGED PRIOR TO THE ACTUAL TRANSFER OF TITLE, THE
STATE MAY SUBSEQUENTLY CONVEY SAID LOT 8 TO NYCO MINERALS, INC., AND, IN

S. 4688                             4

EXCHANGE THEREFOR, NYCO MINERALS, INC. SHALL CONVEY  TO  THE  STATE  FOR
INCORPORATION  INTO THE FOREST PRESERVE NOT LESS THAN THE SAME NUMBER OF
ACRES OF LAND, ON CONDITION THAT THE LEGISLATURE  SHALL  DETERMINE  THAT
THE  LANDS  TO BE RECEIVED BY THE STATE ARE EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN THE
VALUE OF THE LAND TO BE CONVEYED BY THE STATE AND ON CONDITION THAT  THE
ASSESSED  VALUE  OF THE LAND TO BE CONVEYED TO THE STATE SHALL TOTAL NOT
LESS THAN ONE MILLION DOLLARS. WHEN NYCO MINERALS, INC.  TERMINATES  ALL
MINING  OPERATIONS  ON SUCH LOT 8 IT SHALL REMEDIATE THE SITE AND CONVEY
TITLE TO SUCH LOT BACK TO THE STATE OF NEW YORK  FOR  INCLUSION  IN  THE
FOREST  PRESERVE.  IN  THE  EVENT  THAT  LOT  8  IS NOT CONVEYED TO NYCO
MINERALS, INC. PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH, NYCO MINERALS, INC.    NEVER-
THELESS  SHALL  CONVEY  TO  THE  STATE FOR INCORPORATION INTO THE FOREST
PRESERVE NOT LESS THAN  THE  SAME  NUMBER  OF  ACRES  OF  LAND  THAT  IS
DISTURBED  BY  ANY MINERAL SAMPLING   OPERATIONS CONDUCTED ON SAID LOT 8
PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH  ON  CONDITION  THAT  THE  LEGISLATURE  SHALL
DETERMINE  THAT  THE  LANDS  TO BE RECEIVED BY THE STATE ARE EQUAL TO OR
GREATER THAN THE VALUE OF THE LANDS DISTURBED BY  THE  MINERAL  SAMPLING
OPERATIONS.
  S  2.  RESOLVED (if the Assembly concur), That the foregoing amendment
be submitted to the people for approval at the general  election  to  be
held  in the year 2013 in accordance with the provisions of the election
law.

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