State Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R, Syosset), Chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee, today announced that the freshwater wetlands bill was moved out of the Environmental Conservation Committee. Senate Bill 2081 will strengthen New York State’s ability to protect this natural resource. The Marcellino bill only effects freshwater wetlands. Areas designated as tidal wetlands would not fall under this legislation.
"New York State wetlands serve as essential natural filters and water purifiers. They are also our first line of defense against soil erosion and flooding. However, state law has not kept pace with the knowledge regarding the importance of wetlands. This legislation is intended to help bring New York law into the 21st century on this important issue," said Senator Carl Marcellino.
Senator Marcellino’s freshwater wetlands bill will:
*lower the jurisdictional threshold from 12.4 to one acre. Wetlands under one acre that are adjacent to other waterbodies, or of significant local importance would also be regulated;
*change the use of wetlands maps so that they are used to educate the public about the location of wetlands rather than for regulatory purposes;
*streamline the mapping process so that maps would more accurately reflect the actual presence of wetlands throughout the State; and
1 *ensure that citizens and municipalities have input in the development of wetland maps.
"Senator Marcellino’s bill will extend protection to thousands of wetlands that are currently vulnerable to destruction. By promoting this vital legislation, Senator Marcellino is working to protect New Yorkers from flooding and to help make the state’s lakes and rivers swimmable, fishable and drinkable. Sierra Club greatly appreciates his efforts," said John Stouffer, Legislative Director for the Sierra Club – Atlantic Chapter.
"I am pleased that this important piece of legislation has moved out of the Environmental Conservation Committee. It is my goal to work with the Governor, the Assembly, and other members of my conference to enact the changes put forth in this bill," concluded Senator Marcellino.