When this newsletter went to press, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation was completing hearings in each DEC region on its draft 2001 Open Space Conservation Plan, which is the revised official program for land acquisition by the DEC and the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. This year Gov. Pataki boasted that his administration has acquired over 300,000 acres of land. In addition to being inordinately ambitious, the voluminous acquisition document lacks data required by law about existing cumulative acquisitions. It does not give precise future acreage goals. While asking at the hearings for even more land than the hundreds of tracts on the list, environmentalists complained that the Legislature has held up this year's expenditures because of other needs generated by the September 11 terrorist attack. Property owners in the Long Island Pine Barrens remarked that no more money should be spent for land until landowners are compensated for the State's open space zoning. In the North Country, property rights activists pled with the hearing officials to stop gobbling up the land and to comply with the land acquisition law and SEQRA (the State Environmental Quality Review Act).
Final Comments By Carol W. LaGrasse on the Draft New York State 2001 Open Space Conservation Plan, November 28, 2001, "Open Space Plan Reveals the Same Old Illegalities, DEC Fails to Reveal Full Extent and Impact of its Land Acquisition Plans"