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Trail Conference Joins with More Than 100 Groups Statewide to Defend EPF
Source:New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
The New York-New Jersey Trail today joined with more than 100 other organizations across New York State to oppose Governor Paterson's call for a 33% cut to the Environmental Protection Fund. The Governor's proposal would also use the EPF to pay for programs that are normally paid for with other funds. This threatens the integrity of the Fund and further reduces available funding for EPF programs.
Among the governor's proposals is to allocate NO MONEY for open space. This budget, along with the moratorium put in place last year, stops the transfer of lands protecting trails across the state.
This short-sighted proposal would turn the state's back to its own list of priority conservation land acquisitions as identified in its 2009 Open Space Plan. Lands deemed crucial for protection of our water, wildlife, soil, and recreation opportunities will have no ready buyers other than developers if this proposal is approved by legislators.
In addition, the time has come for the Legislature to plan to pay back the nearly $500M that has been taken from the dedicated Environmental Protection Fund in recent years and used for non-environmental programs. (To learn more about that, click here for a report from Environmental Advocates of New York.) A repayment plan, to be implemented in future years, would restore the integrity of the EPF and make sure projects can continue in our communities.
The proposed significant and disproportionate cuts to the EPF would mean fewer parks and community gardens in our communities; fewer opportunities to protect the water supplies that we depend on for healthy, clean and safe drinking water; fewer family farms able to produce local food that sustains our agricultural industry; fewer options for public access to waterways and parks; fewer educational opportunities at our local zoos and botanical gardens, which support local businesses and school programs; and fewer recycling and solid waste programs that provide our communities important funding and keep our neighborhoods clean.
We strongly urge anyone with an interest in parks and the environment to contact the governor and your state representatives now and speak up in their defense. Click here to download an EPF Fact Sheet.
- Governor Paterson (click here for contact info)
- Your Assembly representative (click here to find yours)
- Your State Senator (click here to find yours)
Suggested letter for Trail Conference members/supporters
Adapt and personalize with your own experiences and views.
Dear [your representative]:
I am a park lover, user, and supporter of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and I strongly oppose proposals to further cut state funding for our parks and environmental protection and urge you to do the same. I recognize the need for New York State to stabilize its finances and reform its operations. The budgets for parks and the EPF have already contributed more than their fair share to these efforts.
Cuts of 40% over less than two years to State Parks, of 30% to the EPF, including a 100% cut to open space preservation, and the decimation of the Dept. of Environmental Conservation do not add up to fiscal constraint-they add up to irresponsible resource management.
What agency other than the state can provide residents with resources such as Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Harriman State Park, Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks, the Forest Preserve in the Catskills and Adirondacks, and so many more? The state and its elected representatives have a duty to keep these parks open, safe, and enjoyable for the public.
I am proud that as a member of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference I am supporting volunteer work in our parks that keeps their trails open for public use. I urge you to oppose this new round of proposed cuts to our parks and EPF and to work to restore funding for these irreplaceable treasures.