Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is forthwith to authorize the granting of a certain easement over lands held for conservation and recreation purposes to Western Massachusetts Electric Company, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding sections 40E to 40J, inclusive, of chapter 7 of the General Laws, the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance, on behalf of and in consultation with the commissioner of fish and game and the director of the division of fisheries and wildlife, may convey an easement in a certain parcel of land currently under the care and control of the division of fisheries and wildlife to Western Massachusetts Electric Company, its successors and assigns, subject to the requirements of section 2. Said easement shall be approximately 3.3 miles long and 100 feet wide running northwest to southeast, and shall be located within an area in the valley of the Tekoa and Shatterack mountain ranges along the northeastern bank of the Westfield river that is bounded as follows: to the north, at the southern boundary of the property owned by Westfield Paper Lands, LLC, formerly owned by the Westfield River Paper Company, Inc. and currently under option to purchase by Russell Biomass on Station road in the town of Russell; to the west, at the CSX right-of-way; to the south, at a point approximately 800 feet northwest of the Massachusetts turnpike in the town of Montgomery; and, to the east, at the western ridgeline of mount Tekoa and Shatterack mountain. The exact boundaries of the easement shall be determined by the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance, in consultation with the department of fish and game, after completion of a survey. The consideration for said easement shall be the transfer by the Western Massachusetts Electric Company to the division of fisheries and wildlife in consultation with the department of fish and game of a transmission line easement of equal or greater value than the full and fair market value of the easement granted by the commonwealth. Said value shall be determined by the commissioner of the division of capital asset management and maintenance pursuant to 1 or more independent professional appraisals. Said easement shall be conveyed by deed without warranties or representations by the commonwealth.
SECTION 2. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the easement conveyed pursuant to section 1 shall be for the construction, operation and maintenance of an electric transmission line and shall include, without limitation: (i) the right to remove or trim trees, bush or similar woody plants adjacent to the easement area that threaten the transmission line due to their height or condition; and (ii) ingress and egress rights including, but not limited to, the right to improve, use and maintain existing roads or ways accessing the easement area and the right to build, use and maintain new roads or ways accessing the easement area.
SECTION 3. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the Western Massachusetts Electric Company shall be responsible for all costs and expenses, including but not limited to, costs associated with any engineering, surveys, appraisals, and deed preparation related to the conveyance authorized pursuant to this act as such costs may be determined by the commissioner of the division of capital asset management and maintenance.
SECTION 4. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the inspector general shall review and approve the appraisal required pursuant to section 1. The inspector general shall prepare a report of his review of the methodology utilized for the appraisal and shall file the report with the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance, the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on bonding, capital expenditures and state assets. The commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance shall, 30 days before the execution of any conveyance authorized by this act, or any subsequent amendment thereto, submit the proposed conveyance or amendment and a report thereon to the inspector general for his review and comment. The inspector general shall issue his review and comment within 15 days of receipt of the proposed conveyance or amendment. The commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance shall submit the proposed conveyance or amendment, and the reports and the comments of the inspector general, if any, to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on bonding, capital expenditures and state assets at least 15 days before execution of the conveyance.
Approved August 6, 2008