Environmental organizations in New York are calling for the passage of a bill that would set aside 30% of New York's land and inland water for conservation by 2030 -- a law that would be the first in the nation for any state.
Known as "30 x 30," the bill's goal could lead to the creation of a new parks and preserves, as well as access to nature. There are differing bills in the state Senate and Assembly for the goal, which would have to be reconciled before the measure can be fully approved.
The proposal is in part built off a plan by President Joe Biden to preserve 30% of the country's land, waterways and oceans by the end of the decade.
“New York has an opportunity to lead this ambitious, necessary endeavor by implementing collaborative conservation to address climate change, conserve parks and working open spaces and sustain vibrant rural and urban communities," said Jessica Ottney Mahar, the policy and strategy director at the Nature Conservancy. "The Nature Conservancy is hopeful that New York lawmakers can agree on language and pass a bill that creates a complimentary program that engages all stakeholders, communities and tribes to conserve representative, resilient and effectively managed public and private lands for the benefit of people and nature.”
The plan is also considered a potential way of helping to address climate change in New York as the state moves to renewable fuels in the coming decades.
"With 75% of New York’s land being privately-owned farm and forest land, the state cannot achieve 30x30 without supporting private landowner efforts to protect and conserve their land," said Samantha Levy, the New York policy manager at the American Farmland Trust. "30x30 legislation including farmers and private landowners would provide wildlife habitat, sequester more carbon, and improve water quality while keeping the state on track to meet the standard set by the federal government.”