Accelerating Land Acquisition
S.6606 (May)/A.7372 (Thiele, et al.)
In order for New York to reach the ambitious conservation goals of our state's Climate Action Plan, the New York State "30 x 30" law (CH.747 of the Laws of 2022), and to meet the expectations of voters who approved the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, the legislature must help to clear hurdles to land acquisition.
New York State and its Land Trust partners will need to conserve at least 225,000 acres annually for the next eight years. Long delays in acquisition. But currently there are long delays in acquisition, in part caused by lengthy title reviews in the Office of the Attorney General that have allowed only about 5,000 acres a year to be conserved.
This bill will enable the Attorney General to use title insurance in its process of reviewing land titles, streamlining the state's land acquisition and reducing the amount of time it takes to clear land titles.
Other states and federal government land agencies, as well as private parties, share concerns about title risk but have found reliance on commercial insurance, used in combination with careful and thoughtful title due diligence, to be a mitigation measure that is well-accepted for satisfactory title risk amelioration. New York law requires the Attorney General to approve title (see ECL § 3-0305(1) and PRHPL § 3.17(1)) but is otherwise silent on the standards for acceptability..
CMK supports this legislation which will remove a barrier to achieving conservation goals by modernizing practices that allow for an acceleration of New York’s land acquisition.
This bill amends section 3-0305 of the environmental conservation law and subdivision 1 of section 3.17 of the parks, recreation and historic preservation law by providing authority to the attorney general to approve title from commercial insurers where the title policy names the state of New York as the insured. The bill adds a new subdivision 17 to section 63 of the executive law to provide that the attorney general's powers and duties include the ability to approve land acquisitions made by the state for conservation purposes in accordance with amendments made above to section 3-0305 of the ECL and section 3.17 of the Parks law.