A bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WF-Tompkins/Cortland) was signed into law Wednesday by Governor Paterson. The bill authorizes the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to file electronic versions of freshwater wetlands regulatory maps, if available, with local governments upon request. Also, this bill authorizes posting of official maps on the Department's website.
The legislation arose from discussions within the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee to improve public access to wetland maps, which must be “available for public inspection at a convenient location” to comply with the Freshwater Wetlands Act. Online posting will allow property owners and the general public to review maps at their convenience. Electronic filing and access to wetlands maps will increase efficiency of both state and local governments particularly once all wetlands maps are posted in electronic form.
“Today, people expect information at their fingertips, available when it is convenient to them. Through this legislation, we eliminate many practical barriers that may prevent New York State residents from accessing wetlands information. Now, the DEC has authorization to electronically post wetlands map data, improving knowledge about these sensitive ecosystems to better serve the environmental concerns of New Yorkers,” says Lifton.
“I’m very pleased that Governor Paterson saw the wisdom of this change in policy and signed my bill into law,” concluded Lifton.