WILLSBORO — Voters approved a land swap for NYCO Minerals, granting the local mining company access to 200 acres of state land.
In return, NYCO will move 1,507 acres of private land in the Town of Lewis into the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
The amendment requires NYCO to reclaim the 200 acres of state land and return it to the State Forest Preserve once mining operations are done.
Proposition 5 cleared with a margin much narrower than the other five amendment decisions made Tuesday.
“Yes” votes for the swap came in at 1,137,047 compared to 1,006,525 “no” votes.
Across all 62 New York counties, there are 11,016,685 registered voters, indicating that 10 percent of the state’s voting public weighed in.
Environmental groups took a diverse stance on the land-swap measure; some heralded the importance of local jobs, and others charged that “selling” state land to corporate interest would set a dangerous precedent.
NYCO spokesman John Brodt said the passage of Proposition 5 is good for jobs, good for the Forest Preserve and good for New York.
“The passage of Proposition 5 is a win-win for everyone who loves the Adirondacks and those of us who make our homes and livelihoods here,” he said in a statement.
“This vote will help NYCO Minerals Inc. protect 100 jobs and permit expansion of the Adirondack Forest Preserve by 1,500 acres of forestland rich in hiking and fishing opportunities.
“We were fortunate to have unprecedented statewide support from environmental groups, labor unions, local governments, business organizations, elected officials and, of course, NYCO’s employees and friends. We’re thrilled that the broad, bipartisan enthusiasm for Proposition 5 was shared by the voters at large.”
Expanding mining operations in the Town of Lewis adds another eight to 10 years to the Adirondack operations, Brodt said.
The company is looking forward to working with the State Department of Environmental Conservation and local officials to move ahead with the land transfer, he said.