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State of New York November 6, 2007 Election
Proposition 1
Proposal Number 1, An Amendment to the Constitution
New York State

Amendment to Article 14, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Information shown below: Arguments |

Amendment to Article 14, section 1 of the Constitution, in relation to the use of forest preserve lands for wells for a municipal water supply in the hamlet of Raquette Lake, Hamilton County.

The proposed amendment would allow the State to convey one acre of forest preserve land to the town of Long Lake for public use as the site for drinking water wells and necessary related equipment for the municipal water supply for the hamlet of Raquette Lake. In exchange, the State would receive at least twelve acres of land that is at least equal in value to the land conveyed to Long Lake. The land the State receives would be incorporated into the forest preserve. The Raquette Lake reservoir would be abandoned as a source of drinking water supply. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?

What will this amendment do if approved?

This amendment will make constitutional an action that has, in fact, already taken place. In 2004, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) gave extraordinary permission to the town of Long Lake to drill wells on Adirondack forest preserve lands, an action that requires a constitutional amendment.

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Arguments For Proposition 1 Arguments Against Proposition 1
The hamlet of Raquette Lake in the town of Long Lake had been using unfiltered water from the local reservoir, and was under orders from the State Department of Health to begin filtering the water or find an alternative ground water supply. The town determined that a filtration plant was an option it could not afford.

The water supply issue became a serious health and safety problem. The levels of potential carcinogens were elevated. Problems with water quality escalated to warnings to residents from the Department of Health to boil their drinking water. Because the hamlet is surrounded by forest preserve lands, it could not, without a constitutional amendment, constitutionally drill wells for ground water on that land. Hence, DEC granted extraordinary permission for the drilling, in anticipation of the passage of necessary legislation to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. In order to do so, the legislation had to be passed by both houses of the State Legislature by two separately elected legislatures (two legislative sessions). It has done so, and will be on the ballot in November, 2007.

Environmental and civic organizations are supportive of this remedy to what was a serious and persistent public health issue. Since the amendment is specific to this situation, it does not give broader constitutional permission to other such solutions; each would require another constitutional amendment.

The League of Women Voters could not identify any organizations or opinions in opposition to this very specific amendment, and will not present any in this Voters Guide.

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Created: December 19, 2007 17:40 PST
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