New York lawmakers on Monday gave final approval to a proposal that would preserve 30% of New York's land and water by 2030.
The measure, backed by Assemblywoman Pat Fahy and state Sen. Todd Kaminsky, will next go to Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk for her consideration. If approved, New York would be the fifth state to set a similar goal.
Passage of the bill, which was previously approved in the Assembly in April and on Monday in the state Senate, was cheered by environmental and preservation organizations.
"New York’s farmers and other private landowners will be integral to achieving this ambitious goal to protect and conserve 30% of New York’s lands and waters by 2030," said Mikaela Ruiz-Ramón, the New York policy coordinator of the American Farmland Trust. "As some of our best land stewards, farmers innately understand the value of conservation, and by supporting them in permanently protecting more farmland and increasing adoption of conservation practices like advanced grazing management, planting cover crops, conservation crop rotation, and agroforestry, farmers can help support biodiversity while building resilience to climate change and sequestering carbon, all while growing the food we need to survive."
Supporters of the measure contend the bill is needed to stave off the worst effects of climate change by preserving habitats and increasing access to open spaces.
"This new goal will reinvigorate collaborative efforts to conserve the lakes and bays where we swim and fish; the forests and wetlands that provide wildlife habitat; the sources of our clean drinking water; and the places New Yorkers rely on for jobs, adventure, and solace," said Jessica Ottney Mahar, the New York policy and strategy director of The Nature Conservancy. "We urge Gov. Hochul to sign the bill into law and look forward to collaborating to help the state meet this critical goal.”