Groups Applaud Historic Funding for Environmental Protection Fund in 2016-17 New York State Budget

Friends of New York's Environment

The Friends of New York’s Environment–a broad partnership of environmental, business, public health, agriculture, recreation, and urban stakeholder groups, including the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference–commends Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for providing historic funding for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) in this year’s budget. This unprecedented investment of $300 million positions New York as a national leader by ensuring the conservation of critical natural resources for future generations while creating jobs and making communities more resilient to climate change and storm impacts. 

Organizations from across the state hailed the EPF appropriation as an incredible victory for conservation, business, agriculture, recreation, and municipal communities. The investment will enhance the state’s ability to leverage federal, local, and private dollars, and allow the state to better meet current demand and implement critical programs. EPF strategies and programs are incredibly diverse, supporting work such as farmland and forest conser ation, municipal parks, waterfront rehabilitation and construction, zoos and botanical gardens, ocean, Great Lakes and e tuary restoration and protection, habitat conservation, municipal recycling and other solid waste management programs, en ironmental justice grant programs, and water quality improvement initiatives and programs that enhance the ability of the public to access lands and waters for fishing, boating, and other recreational activities. 

A 2012 study by the Trust for Public Land showed that for every $1 invested in land and water conservation through the EPF, New York State recei  es $7 in economic benefit. Industries supported by EPF programs include solid waste management,  orestry, agriculture, tourism, and fishing.  These industries contribute billions to New York’s economy every year and suppor hundreds of thousands of jobs. In December 2015, a public opinion survey showed that New York voters from all political parties and in all regions of the state overwhelmingly support increased public investment in the state’s environment, including more than 7 in 10 voters who said they support fully funding the EPF at $300 million a year.