State of Maine

Office of

Attorney General

6 State House Station

Augusta, Maine 04333-0006

Phone: 626-8800

Fax: 626-8812 


To: Ralph Knoll, Director of Planning and Land Acquisition,

Bureau of Parks and Lands

Mark DesMeules, Director, Land for Maine’s Future Program

From: Jeff Pidot, Chief, Natural Resources Division

Date: August 3, 2001

Subject: Comments on Draft Conservation Easement for West Branch Project

This memo contains my comments from a review of the latest available draft (dated June 25) of the Conservation Easement concerning the proposed West Branch project. I have also read the memo of Eliza Cope Nolan, a lawyer representing the Forest Society of Maine, and have reviewed this with Surran Pyne, whose comments are incorporated with mine below.

In June, at Ralph’s request, I reviewed the then working draft of this document and provided comments in a June 14 memo. While I appreciate the efforts made to accommodate some of the concerns raised in my earlier memo, in certain important respects the latest draft remains unchanged, and therefore I must reiterate (and in some cases amplify) below a number of the major issues previously raised. Of course, it is also essential that the policies and commitments of the Easement are fully understood and accepted by your agencies. As I suggested to you and the LMF Board, my hope is that we can get together with the various State stakeholders in the near future to discuss these and other concerns of the group, share perspectives and reach consensus among us before going back to the other parties.

In reviewing this document, I understand the essential transaction to be that the landowner will give up development rights on the Property while reserving forestry uses, and that the State will receive certain rights and responsibilities with respect to management of portions of the Property for public recreational uses. It is my understanding that the State will purchase this Conservation Easement, using moneys from the Land for Maine’s Future Fund and the federal Forest Legacy Program, among other sources. It is important to note, up-front, that none of my comments is intended to suggest changes in these basic, underlying principles and policies of the contemplated transaction. Rather, the issues raised here are legal in nature or are set forth so as to make sure that there is a full understanding of the implications, from the State’s perspective, of some of the Easement’s more subtle or unusual terms. While I realize that this draft has already been the subject of extensive negotiations, the Easement’s terms are likely to be precedent-setting not only in permanently governing the substantial lands that are subject to the Easement, but also in forging similar conservation easements by the State and other organizations in the future. With that, I offer these thoughts for your consideration.

A minor comment is that the Easement’s Purpose clause on the first page is duplicative with section 1. I recommend that this clause appear just once, for clarity.

A more significant comment, that pertains to a number of provisions especially toward the beginning of the document, is that there is considerable language focusing on the primary purpose of the Easement to allow for the property’s use as economically productive timberland. While I recognize the basic premise of this transaction that forestry-related uses of the Property will be retained by the landowner, the primary purpose of a conservation easement, especially one that is purchased, is usually more focused on conservation objectives. This issue arises in the Purpose clause on the Easement’s cover page, as well as in the first, third, seventh (subparagraphs E, F, G and H), and eighth of the Recitals and section 1 of the Easement. In sum, I believe that a better balance should be struck in these provisions.

In this vein, I suggest modifying the Purpose clause on the cover page (also in section 1 of the Easement) to more closely state what I believe is the Easement’s primary purpose from the State’s perspective, which is to prevent commercial, industrial, residential and other development and use of the Property, and to provide for certain public recreational uses, all consistent with the retained rights of the landowner to engage in sound and sustainable forestry uses. While I have attentively read Eliza’s explanation of the reasons for the particular formulation of the purpose clause and recitals here, I differ at least as to the tone of this part of the Easement. I have read the Forest Legacy Act that Eliza cites, under which most of the funding for this project will be provided, and I believe that this document would be more satisfactory if it were more closely aligned with the purposes stated in that law.

Despite what they might seem, statements of purpose and recitals in a conservation easement are not mere window-dressing; they control how the easement will be applied, construed and enforced in the future, including in disputes which inevitably arise over time when some of the easement terms are found to be ambiguous or not directly applicable to future and unforeseen circumstances. Lest I be misunderstood, I emphasize that, by these comments, I am not suggesting change in the retained rights of the landowner to make forestry uses of the Property.

Likewise, the first and leading Recital of the Easement, beginning on page one, sends a powerful message about the primary purpose of the Easement being to maintain the landowner’s economic benefits. I think that this warrants modification as discussed above.

In the fifth Recital, it is stated that the conservation values of the Property are set forth in the "Baseline Documentation," which is incorporated by reference and will reside in BPL’s office. The continuing concern with this Recital is the potential danger in any categorical statement that all of the conservation values of the Property are now known and have been written down in "an accurate representation of the property," as these words are used in this paragraph. To the extent that the Easement covers a large land base, about which one can certainly not know everything at the time of acquisition, this concern becomes more significant. I think a few modest changes in this language can eliminate this issue. See my suggestion below concerning the similar language in section 24.

In section 3.1.1, the term "Forest Management Activities," while modified in this draft from the earlier version, still is used in a manner that is more expansive than the definition of the same term in section 4.1. Focusing here on the former, this concept could be construed extremely broadly ("any uses associated with forest management"). This suggests a meaning that extends to all infrastructure related to forest products. As I think that is not the intention (as expressed in some other portions of this draft), the language here should be more confined.

In section 3.2, I recommend that there be a statement here that any subdivision of the Property be subject to the Conservation Easement. I also note that the Property may be divided into 6 parcels, a proposition that should be considered by the agencies from a policy point of view. I also note that this section seems to provide a finite list of entities that can own the land in the future, but that is not likely the intent. Given the primary funding source, I don’t think the change shown in this draft should be made; but more than that, this paragraph should not limit who may be a future owner of the Property, as it currently seems to do. Among other things, the conservation organizations that can be future owners should not be limited to those whose purposes are the purposes of this Easement, which, as currently written, include the primacy of forest management. Forestry may be a permitted use of lands held by some conservation organizations, but is not typically their primary purpose.

In section 3.2.2, the language in the earlier draft of the Easement excluded the leased lots on the Property, which resulted in a comment from me. This most recent draft seems to respond to that comment by eliminating the exclusionary language, but is it now clear that the leased lots are subject to the Easement, assuming that is the intent?

In section 3.3.1, the structural uses allowed under the Easement are broadly stated, including electric generating facilities. In response to my earlier comment, this language has been modified to limit such facilities to those that serve the Property. Is this a satisfactory limitation from the State agencies’ policy point of view? Are there other facilities that this section allows that the State does not intend to allow? Are all of the uses listed in this section to be allowed throughout the Property, including in the Special Management Areas?

In section, some references would benefit from tightening up (i.e., "as evidenced by the cessation of their use for a number of years and their lack of maintenance beyond the normal period of time"). These terms would be much clearer in their application and enforcement if replaced by ones that refer to precise timeframes.

In section, the same comments as above apply to the parallel language here. The last sentence in the previous version (in this latest version, the second to last sentence) of this paragraph warrants particular attention, as it allows the landowner to prohibit or limit public access to the Property when the landowner determines there to be an unsafe condition, as determined in its discretion. While this draft has been changed to obligate the landowner to give a notice to the State, it does not give the State a meaningful notice and opportunity to correct the problem or take other action, including to disagree with the landowner. Public access being one of the principal features of the Conservation Easement for which the State has bargained and will pay, I suggest that this right should not be subject to unilateral closure at the landowner’s sole discretion and that the notice to the State be at least 30 days unless there is an emergency.

In section 3.4.1, note that gravel, rock and peat extraction are allowed under the Conservation Easement; I ask whether there are limitations that the State wishes to place upon these uses?

In section 3.5, the language seems to allow some amount of rubbish, garbage, debris or waste materials to be deposited on the Property (up to 10 cubic feet per acre), except in Special Management Areas. I believe that no allowance for dumping of garbage, etc., should be made in a conservation easement. In order to deal with this issue, I recommend that all the language in (i), (ii) and (iii) be deleted, so that "except" in the seventh line directly follows "Property" in the second line.

In section 3.5.4, the State’s responsibility for the storage and removal of waste materials left on the Property by the public should at most extend to public use of the designated public recreational improvements. The last sentence of this paragraph relieves the landowner of any responsibility for removing such materials anywhere on the Property, which seems to be a departure from the landowner’s obligations under State law and the other terms that may be arranged by the parties under this section.

In section 3.5.5, the disposal of biodegradable materials generated on the Property will be largely unrestricted. Since the term "biodegradable" is ambiguous, this provision would benefit from clarification.

Section 4.1 broadly defines "Forest Management Activities," an issue discussed above. I think it is important for the agencies to carefully review the extent of the activities allowed. I don’t have the expertise to review the substantive provisions of the Easement concerning forest management (most of which are in section 4 and the Easement’s Exhibits), so I leave that to the agencies and their forestry experts.

In sections 4.4 and 4.6, the landowner is charged with developing a Forest Management Plan, but, as you know, there is no provision for approval by the State of that Plan. Indeed, section 4.6.1 explicitly provides that the State is not entitled to approve this Plan. Among these sections, there should be a meaningful right of the State at least to contest the landowner’s plan, as discussed at the LMFB meeting and suggested in my previous comments. It is noteworthy that, elsewhere in the Easement, the landowner has the right to approve or disapprove the State’s Recreation Management Plan for the Property.

In section 4.4, first paragraph, first sentence, the Landowner’s Forest Management Plan is to provide for management of the Property as "productive timberland." I suggest that "sustainably" be added prior to "productive."

In section 4.4 (vii), as suggested by members of the LMFB, the landowner’s Forest Management Plan should provide for compliance with Best Management Practices, rather than simply "addressing" these issues.

In section 4.4 (ix), there is new language from the prior draft that seems to release the landowner from having to comply with the Endangered Species Act as to species that are listed in the future. I don’t understand the legal purpose of this new provision. Certainly, despite what this section seems to suggest, the Baseline Documentation cannot recite all of the species that might be protected under this law on such a large property, nor can any provision be made in the Easement that attempts to negate legal protections of species that might be found or listed in the future. Please see my comment concerning the fifth Recital above and section 24 below.

Section 4.6.3 provides that the landowner’s Forest Management Plan is not to be made public and that the State must enter into a confidentiality agreement promising non-disclosure of this Plan as well as other information deemed confidential by the landowner. Given the State’s purchase of a Conservation Easement on the Property that provides for certain forestry protections, this seems an extraordinary provision that warrants careful attention by the agencies. Perhaps more importantly from a legal perspective, such a confidentiality provision is inconsistent with State law unless there is a statute that specifically authorizes it (I don’t know of one). Accordingly, the upshot of this provision is that the Forest Management Plan will not be made public; and, if the State cannot provide assurance of confidentiality (which it currently can’t so far as I am aware), the Plan will not be provided even to the State. This seems like a particularly serious issue.

In section 4.7, there is an automatic allowance for the landowner to remove timber in excess of the Easement’s restrictions in the event of a "significant disturbance," as determined by the landowner. This provision should be modified to require the State’s reasonable consent or, failing that, at least a meaningful, prior notice to the State and allowance for it to independently evaluate the situation and contest the landowner’s determination.

Lastly on the subject of the landowner’s Forest Management Plan, I recommend that the Easement specifically provide that the State has the right to bring an enforcement action, including to constrain a future or threatened violation, if the Plan is found by the State to be inconsistent with the terms of the Easement.

In section 5.1, note in the third sentence that the only roads over which public access will be provided are those designated in Exhibit F. I gather this means that, unless the Easement is amended, there will be no new public road access in the future even if it might otherwise be approved by the landowner in the Recreation Management Plan. In the same sentence, note that the landowner may unilaterally establish rules for road use. Is this satisfactory?

In the fifth sentence of section 5.1, note that there is an important statement that the landowner is not providing a right to gain any access to the Property. This issue should be closely considered. Also, in the sixth sentence of this section, there is provision that the public as such will have no enforceable right of access. Even if otherwise acceptable, this sentence should include language that excepts public or State access rights that arise outside of the Easement (for instance, public access to Great Ponds, that is provided by common law).

I recommend that section 5.2, which deals with bear hunting, be reviewed by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

In section 5.3, there are a number of provisions that allow the landowner to exercise sole discretion with respect to the closing of public access. None of these provide for meaningful prior notice to or approval by the State. Given the importance of recreational access in this transaction, there should be at least some meaningful prior notice (i.e., at least 30 days) provided to the State except in cases of emergency, with an opportunity for the State to contest the landowner’s determination.

In section 5.4, note that the landowner has no obligation to maintain or replace any roads or recreational improvements. This should be closely considered.

I am not sure of the intent or implications of the new language at the end of section 5.5.

In section 5.7, note that the landowner has been given the right to approve or disapprove the State’s Recreational Management Plan, a significant reservation. As noted above, this landowner right is not reciprocal with the State’s inability in this Easement to approve the landowner’s Forest Management Plan. Also, it would be preferable if the State were at least given pre-approval for certain recreational management policies and measures.

In section 5.8, the landowner is given the unilateral right to close recreational areas to public use if it deems them to be unsafe or causing environmental damage. Such a decision by the landowner should require reasonable prior notice (i.e. at least 30 days) to the State in non-emergency situations. If the State’s consent is not required, it should at least be given a reasonable opportunity to contest the landowner’s determination.

In section 6, I recommend that, in both the caption and the second line, "and obligations" be deleted. The holder of a conservation easement should not be legally obligated to assure landowner compliance, but has enforcement and other rights to do so.

In section 6.2.2, the landowner is given the right to impose all manner of policies with respect to road use, and the State is required to assure that roads will not be used in a manner that might result in any damage (an assurance that seems impossible to comply with). I think that both of these provisions should be limited in a reasonable way. If the State is acquiring (and paying for) access to certain roads for public recreation, then it should have a role in the road use policies involved; and some amount of reasonable wear and tear to the roads by reason of the exercise of this right should be allowed.

In section 6.2.3, note here again that the forest management activities of the landowner are given primacy, and the State’s rights to recreational management are deemed subordinate. If this is the intent of the parties, then this provision (and others like it) should be clearly reflected in the appraisal valuation of the Easement. In addition, this section contains language, uncertain in its implications, that subordinates the State’s access rights to "any other person’s lawful use of the Property or of any other lands of the Grantor." I ask why the State’s rights should be subordinated in this broad and uncertain way, and recommend that the language be limited to rights of record of which the State is made aware.

In section 7.1, note that the provisions referred to at the beginning may need to be changed to reflect recent renumbering. I suggest that these provisions be generic, without limiting them to any particularly numbered sections of the Easement.

In section 7.3, the purpose of mediation here seems to be in the event that there is disagreement with respect to an activity of one of the parties that requires consent of the other party. In order to clarify this, I recommend that the following language be added at the end of 7.3.1: "nor to prevent a party from seeking enforcement of the terms of this Easement." The State agencies should also carefully consider whether they wish to have such determinations required to be submitted to mediation.

In section 7.3.3, in the event of mediation between the landowner and the State, "all information presented to the mediator shall be deemed confidential." Such a requirement is too broad. Generally speaking, information in the hands of the State (including information the State provides to the mediator) is in the public domain, except as deemed confidential by State law. Therefore, I recommend that the obligations in this regard be "except as such information may be in the public domain or as otherwise provided by law."

In sections 8.2, 8.3 and 8.5, careful thought should be given to the provisions here obligating the State to pay the landowner’s administrative, legal and attorneys’ fees if the State is found not to be in compliance with its obligations under the Easement. While it is routine for the landowner to pay the costs of enforcement undertaken by the holder of a conservation easement, this obligation is not usually reciprocal, and the State does not generally agree to pay enforcement costs and attorneys fees of private parties.

In section 8.3, damages recoverable under the terms of the Easement should specifically include the costs of remediation or correction of the violation.

In section 8.5, " and arbitrators" should be deleted in the tenth line.

Sections 8.8 and 8.9 should be reciprocal and in parallel. While section 8.9 is new in this version in response to my earlier request for reciprocity, there are terms that need adjustment in order to make for full balance and reciprocity. For instance, section 8.8 provides that the landowner will not be responsible for acts of the public or third parties, while the parallel terms in section 8.9 make the State responsible for such acts, which the State should not be put in the position of doing. Among other things, as in other conservation easements, the landowner should remain responsible for remediating violations of the Easement caused by third parties, for instance in the case of a squatter who builds a camp on the Property in violation of the Easement; this type of problem should not be the responsibility of the State. I also suggest that the new (underlined) language in the center of section 8.8 be replaced with "except when such actions are undertaken pursuant to this Easement…." There seem to be other portions of these two sections that are not exactly in parallel, and it is difficult for me to understand the intention of these differences.

In section 9.2, the protection stated here is one-sided, favoring only the landowner, and it seems reasonable that this provision also be reciprocal. This may be accomplished by (i) adding "or Grantee" after "Grantor" in the third line, (ii) deleting "to the Grantee" in the fifth line and (iii) adding "or Grantee" after "Grantor" in the sixth line. It is also questionable whether the landowner should be excused from responsibility for injuries or damage caused by "any other person." Finally, if this provision is made reciprocal, the reference to the landowner liability law (14 M.R.S.A. § 159-A) should include an additional reference to the Maine Tort Claims Act.

The second half of section 9.2 (beginning with the sentence "In the event that…) is of particular concern, in that it requires the State to become responsible for the legal liability of the landowner should there be amendments by the Legislature to the current Landowner Liability Law, failing which the public will lose access to the Property. If I understand this transaction correctly, the State is paying for a Conservation Easement with certain public recreation access and use rights. Whatever the reasons for the landowner’s desiring this extraordinary (at least in my experience) provision, they are no different than in the context of any other conservation easement providing for public access. Thus, the effect of this provision would charge an Easement holder with liability for public use of the property, thereby overriding the State’s protections under the Tort Claims Act, should the Legislature ever narrow the current protections of the Landowner Liability Law. If the Easement holder refuses to undertake indemnification of the landowner in this instance, public access is to be forfeited. A conservation easement being of permanent duration, and Maine’s current Landowner Liability Law being protective of landowners relative to that in other states, one must expect the possibility in the future that Maine law might change on this score. For all of these reasons, I continue to strongly recommend deletion of this provision.

I am not sure I understand the meaning or intent of section 9.3, but it appears to alter what might otherwise be applicable provisions of federal law under the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. I think that the applicability of those laws should speak for itself. While, of course, the actions of the landowner are not actions of the government (as this seems to say), to the extent that this provision is attempting to negate otherwise applicable laws, I recommend that it be deleted.

Section 9.4 seems designed in part to prevent public rights from being acquired by prescriptive use. This seems a reasonable proposition in the context of future public use as provided under the terms of the Easement and that does not have a separate legal derivation. On the other hand, this provision should not void any public prescriptive or other right in the Property that may have been or in the future may be independently acquired.

In section 9.5, the new, second sentence seems too broad, as it requires the parties to "join in" actions taken by the other party. The State can’t make such a commitment, so I suggest these new words be deleted. Also, I think the new clause at the end ("including without limitation…") should be deleted, for the same reason.

In section 10, for clarity I recommend that the second sentence be rephrased as follows: "The term ‘State of Maine’ and ‘Grantee’ (if the Grantee is the State of Maine) shall include any authorized representatives or agencies of the State of Maine, including without limitation the Attorney General, and any assignee or successor agencies of the Department of Conservation." Toward the end of the third sentence, I recommend that, following "Property," we add the phrase "or take other actions under this Conservation Easement as authorized by the Grantee." I recommend that the last sentence of this paragraph be deleted, since the Department should not have to obtain any approval from the landowner in order to delegate or assign these functions in this manner. I wouldn’t have a problem with a requirement of a notice by the State to the Grantor to this effect, however.

In section 11, I appreciate the changes made in response to my earlier comments. The only remaining comment I have here is that the term "Grantor" in the seventeenth line looks like it should be "Grantee."

In section 14, the second sentence indicates that, in the event of an involuntary conversion of the Property, prior claims will be satisfied before payment to the State of the value of the Easement. No lien or mortgage should be superior to the Conservation Easement in this or any regard that I can think of, except perhaps a tax lien.

In section 17, since an amendment to the Easement may require the approval of other entities, I suggest adding "and may be subject to the consent of others as required by law" at the end of the first sentence.

In section 18, the interplay between the first and second sentences should be clarified. For instance, the Easement should clearly be assignable to another government agency without need for the landowner’s consent. This may be accomplished by inserting "or assignee" after "successor," and deleting "thereto," both in the third line. Then, at the beginning of the second sentence, following "In addition", the following should be added: "to the rights freely assignable under the first sentence of this paragraph." I also question the requirement, later in this sentence, that an assignment requires the transfer of funds held by the State for purposes of monitoring the Easement; in the case of the State, this may well be an appropriations decision of the Legislature and can be dealt with should such an assignment occur but not categorically here. Further, the third sentence seems to be somewhat incompatible with other provisions of the Easement to the effect that a future owner may use the Property for a more conservation-minded purpose than the current Easement provides; so I recommend this sentence be clarified or deleted as unnecessary. Finally, serious consideration should be given to whether the State wishes to be subject to mandatory arbitration, as required in the second half of this section.

In section 21, in the second sentence as well as the last sentence, I continue to be troubled by terms that suggest that the Easement may, under certain circumstances, be subordinate to mortgages or other liens. Should the State be entitled to damages for breach of the Easement, this right should not be impaired by reason of the recording of a mortgage or other lien on the Property, as these provisions state. This language might be acceptable if it were carefully clarified to deal only with the obligation of a mortgagee in the event of a foreclosure to pay money damages to the Easement holder, provided that there must be no impairment of the holder’s right to be paid costs of remediation of the Property and enforcement of the Easement by any owner, including a foreclosing mortgagee. While these concepts are complicated, the simple principle is that a mortgage or other lienholder should not be able to avoid the essential terms of the Easement if it comes into ownership of the Property by foreclosure or otherwise.

In section 22, it may not always be feasible for the State to provide estoppel certificates within 30 days of a request, or to undertake an inspection within 45 days. This is a minor matter, and the language could be easily modified to provide that the State must use its best efforts to do so, or words to like effect.

In section 24, as discussed toward the beginning of this memo, I advise caution about representing that the "Baseline Documentation," assembled as of now, categorically constitutes "an accurate representation of the Property," especially when the Property is large. The language here could be easily modified to deal with this problem by stating that the Baseline Documentation represents the parties’ best efforts to provide an accurate representation of the Property as reasonably known by them at the time of the conveyance.

I suggest adding a general provision in the Easement to the effect that, so long as the Grantee is the State or another government entity, all the Grantee’s obligations under the Conservation Easement are subject to the availability of moneys appropriated or otherwise available and designated for that purpose. I realize that, in response to my earlier comments, this draft makes such a provision in one area, but I recommend that the provision stand alone and be categorical.

Only Exhibits E and H are attached to the draft sent to me. The opening statement of Exhibit E refers to certain LURC standards. Given the duration of the Easement, I suggest that these standards be stated within the body of the Exhibit; I understand from Eliza’s memo that this change is underway.

In section 1(d) of Exhibit E, there is a broad statement that excuses "rare and minor" breaches of timber harvesting standards within a pattern of otherwise "regular and routine compliance." There are no other provisions of this Easement which contain such language, nor am I familiar with this concept in other conservation easements. Likewise, in the LURC timber harvesting standards, some of which are mirrored here, there is no provision that automatically excuses "rare or minor infractions." Of course, an occasional and minor breach of any of the terms of the Easement (as with the LURC standards) is not going to result in an enforcement response, which is always subject to the reasonable prosecutorial discretion of the party vested with enforcement rights. Accordingly, it is not clear what concern motivates this language. On the other hand, the vagueness of these concepts in this section will make an enforcement response subject to legal debate except in the case of a severe violation. Further, even when a relatively "rare or minor" breach of the timber harvesting standards occurs in a sensitive area, it is appropriate for the State to require the landowner to take remedial action, such as planting of trees in shoreland areas damaged by harvesting in excess of the Easement’s terms.

In section 2 of Exhibit E, the fourth to last line of the first paragraph contains a parenthetical phrase requiring that the State’s approval not be unreasonably withheld. This concept should apply bilaterally, including with respect to all of the landowner’s consents required elsewhere in the Easement.

In section 3 of Exhibit E, at the end of the first paragraph, there is a requirement that the State respond within 14 days to a request from the landowner concerning harvesting within a sensitive area. This may be insufficient time for the State to make such an evaluation, at least in some situations and times of the year. A modest change here would make the provision acceptable. See the comment above regarding similar language in Section 22 of the Easement.

In the second paragraph of section 3 of Exhibit E, note that the second sentence requires activities to "generally" conform to certain standards, and the third sentence states that certain management practices are the "preferred" methods of harvesting. It should be understood that these words convey a meaning that is only generalized and will be difficult if not impossible to enforce. If that is not the State’s intent, more precise terms should be used here.

In section 4 of Exhibit E, there are restrictions concerning location of protected bald eagle nesting areas, which are to be limited in number under the terms expressed here. This is a good example of a situation in which the terms of the Conservation Easement may well be overridden by State or federal laws. Indeed, it is not certain to me that the Easement here provides as much protection as already exists under these laws. It is important for these provisions to be reviewed by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

In Exhibit H, I have difficulty understanding several of these provisions. For example, in the paragraph headed "Subject Area," the third sentence is puzzling to me. Likewise, in the section headed "Volume Estimates," I have difficulty understanding the fifth as well as the sixth (last) sentences. Finally, in the same paragraph, in the third sentence, the term "completion" should be "execution."

Those are my comments for now from a reading of this version. If you would like me to do more, please let me know. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

cc: Ron Lovaglio, Commissioner, Department of Conservation

Evan Richert, Director, State Planning Office

Dawn Gallagher, Deputy Commissioner, Deptartment of Conservation

Tom Morrison, Director, Bureau of Parks and Lands

Surran Pyne, DOT Legal Division

Steve Brooke, State Planning Office

Members of LMFB Review Team