New York Environmental Protection Fund and Open Space Funding 2015

The addition of a beautiful 435-acre parcel (photo) along the Southern Gunks Greenway to Huckleberry State Forest depends upon funding for land preservation in New York's EPF. See Trail Conference talking points about the 2014 NYS Open Space Plan. New York State Budget 2015-16: Enhance the Environmental Protection Fund to Expand Economic and Environmental Benefits Plan Now to Attend March 9, 2014: EPF Lobby Day in Albany.  The Friends of New York’s Environment is a partnership of more than 100 environmental, public health, agricultural, recreational and urban groups that supports the Environmental Protection Fund. The Trail Conference is a member of the coalition. For the upcoming year, we seek $200 million for the EPF. Established in 1993, the EPF is the State's dedicated source of funding for critical environmental programs that protect what we love about New York - our clean drinking water, our magnificent parks, and our family farms. It is primary source of funding for open space protection in the state, a key focus for the Trail Conference.  Sadly, No money to protect land on the Shawangunk Ridge has been in the Governor's recent land protection budget proposals. This, despite the fact that the state has identified the Ridge as a priority area for open space protection, worked with the Trail Conference in the past to add land to ridgetop state forests, and is funding Trail Conference efforts to promote a Gunks Greenway on the Shawangunk Ridge. Our goal is to increase EPF funding overall, to $200 million, and to increase the land acquisition budget in particular. The Trail Conference is asking for the Land Acquisition line in the EPF to be restored at least to its level in 2008: $66 million.
Talking points: 
• The Environmental Protection Fund, the state's dedicated source of funding for programs that protect our clean water and natural resources, should be funded at $200 million.   • The source of funding for the EPF, the Real Estate Transfer Tax, is projected to grow to more than $1 billion by the end of the five-year fiscal plan, including steady projected growth each fiscal year. As this revenue source grows/recovers, so too should the EPF.   • A 2012 study by the Trust for Public Land showed that for every $1 invested in land and water conservation through the EPF, the state received $7 in economic return.   • With a 7-1 payoff for every dollar invested, a surplus in the state budget, and significant needs in communities   Additional Resources: The Economic Benefits of New York's Environmental Protection Fund, a report compiled by the Trust for Public Land, January 2012. Click to download a copy of the TPL report. Economic Benefits of Open Space Preservation: A report from the New York State Comptroller, March 2010  Click here to download a copy of the comptroller's report.