The primary purpose for the Department of Agricultural Resources' Environmental Review program is to direct state agencies to seek alternative development strategies to avoid conversions of state-owned farmland to non-agricultural use and to preclude use of state funds to develop privately-owned agricultural land and to migrate against conversion.
The only protection afforded state-owned farmland that is not controlled by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs agencies is Executive Order 193. Signed is 1981 by former Governor King, EO# 193 targets both conversion of stated-owned agricultural land and use of state funds to develop privately-owned agricultural land or land of Prime or State Important agricultural soils. EO# 193 does not actually prevent development, but rather directs state agencies to seek alternative sites and mitigates against conversion by means of the Department's Agricultural Land Mitigation Policy.
In addition, the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) through the Executive Office of Energy and Environment Affairs "requires that state agencies study the environmental consequences of their actions" It is a mechanism that MDAR participates in and reviews projects that may have a detrimental impact townards state-owned and privately owned agricultural lands. Information is available on the MEPA Office web-site.
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