Public Lands Preservation Act

Thursday November 17, 2022

The Public Lands Preservation Act is a bill that is set to protect undeveloped open and green spaces in our state. The process this bill protects these lands is by ensuring that any disposition or change in use of lands by a municipality will need to replaced with land of comparable acreage, location, and natural resource value, i.e., no net loss. The PLPA has made it's way to the Governor's desk, but there are some opposing groups telling the Governor not to sign the bill saying it would increase the workload burdens of our municipality. Help us send a message that we support this bill for preserving public lands which we access. Sample language is provided below. Just Cut & paste in a new email, or edit as needed to make the email your own.

Send the email to: Katherine Holahan, Governor Baker’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs:

Sample text for email:

Dear Governor Baker:

Open space is important to protecting clean air and water; it provides resilience to strong storms and minimizes flooding; it provides recreational opportunities to our residents, and it minimizes heat island effects. Open space adds value to our municipality and enhances the desirability of our residents to live here.

We believe that the PLPA bill before you, H. 5381, will not increase the workload burdens of our municipality. This legislation contains even greater flexibility for municipalities, by allowing a financial contribution when replacement land is not feasible. This bill also ensures that the process will be more consistent, clear, and transparent.

This bill has been in the works for more than 20 years- now is the time to finalize it. We urge the Governor to sign the Public Lands Preservation Act, H.5381.

Thank you,

Add your name & mailing address if sending the email as a private citizen


Add your name, municipality & position (conservation commissioner, planner, etc.) and contact information

More Reading on PLPA



Lead Sponsors: Senator Jamie Eldridge (Acton) and Representative Ruth Balser (Newton)

The Public Lands Preservation Act (PLPA) would further the long-standing goal of preventing the loss of constitutionally protected public parks, conservation land, forests, watersheds and other natural resource lands (Article 97 lands). These lands provide us all with more and better water, recreation, habitat for our diverse species of plants and wildlife, scenic amenities, a robust tourism industry, and a strong economy. They also play a key role in reducing carbon emissions and mitigating impacts of climate change.

What the PLPA would do

The PLPA requires that a municipality or state agency proposing disposition of or change in use of any lands or easements acquired for natural resource purposes (Article 97 land):

• Provide replacement land of comparable acreage, location, and natural resource value, i.e., no net loss.

• Notify the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) and provide information that would allow the Secretary to assess the need for the disposition or change in use, the availability of feasible alternatives, and the suitability of the replacement land being provided, and to make a recommendation on the proposed disposition or change in use.

The Secretary could waive the requirement for replacement land when a disposition or change in use would not change or would promote the Article 97 purposes and protection of the land, or to deal with defined special circumstances: easements for five years or less for another use, provided the land be restored at the end of the period; subterranean green energy projects; parcels of 2,500 square feet or less; and erosion control.

Changes in the PLPA

Revisions have been made in the PLPA to address concerns of legislators and others. The bill, rather than attempting to establish legislative policy, as before, now provides direction to the municipality or state agency seeking to change the use or otherwise dispose of Article 97 lands or easements. The bill also formalizes the current process EOEEA uses to vet any proposed change or disposition, requires early notification of EOEEA to facilitate the process, and requires EOEEA to make recommendations to the legislature.

To review the bill directly you can visit: