In & About the Park

In & About the Park

Broad Coalition of Conservation, Business, and Recreation Groups Applaud Historic Executive Proposals for New York’s Environment

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Broad Coalition of Conservation, Business, and Recreation Groups Applaud Historic Executive Proposals for New York’s Environment

For immediate release: January 24, 2017

For more information, contact:
Sheila Webb-Halpern, The Nature Conservancy in New York, 518-690-7846,sheila.webb-halpern@tnc.org
Eileen Larrabee, Open Space Institute, 518-427-1564 x127, elarrabee@osiny.org
Andy Bicking, Scenic Hudson, 914-489-1568, abicking@scenichudson.org

We Love New York – a broad partnership of environmental, business, public health, agriculture, recreation, and urban stakeholder groups – commends Governor Cuomo’s proposal to provide $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) in the next state budget. This proposal maintains New York’s position as a national leader by ensuring natural resources are protected for future generations while creating jobs and helping communities across the state increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change.

If enacted in the state budget, a $300 million EPF would allow the State to implement critical programs to conserve open space and farmland, protect and improve water quality, provide community health programs, build community resilience, sustainably revitalize waterfronts, create local parks, promote recycling, reduce waste, prevent pollution, and support zoos, botanical gardens and other environmental education facilities.

A $300 million EPF enhances the State’s ability to leverage federal, local, and private dollars. 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 receives $7 in economic benefit. Capital investments in our environment support thousands of jobs across a broad spectrum of industries including tourism, recreation, fishing, agriculture, and forestry. These industries contribute tens of billions to New York’s economy every year. Investments in our environment are vital to maintaining our quality of life, public health, and economic prosperity.

The proposal to continue to provide historic funding for the EPF comes along with additional proposals for major capital investments in environmental infrastructure including $2 billion over five years for water quality including drinking and wastewater infrastructure and source water protection; the continuation of the $1 billion Parks 2020 initiative; the Empire State Trail; and the Adventure New York program.

“Governor Cuomo’s expansive commitment to clean water, outdoor recreation and the protection of our natural resources is setting a new national standard in promoting healthy communities and lifestyles. With a sustained EPF, more advanced application of land conservation, growing support for parks and recreational access and an unprecedented commitment to clean water, he is making long term strides to a better New York now and into the future,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO or the Open Space Institute. “OSI is proud to stand up for these values and enthusiastic about the environmental direction Governor Cuomo is steering New York with his budget.”

“The Nature Conservancy applauds Governor Cuomo for proposing another year of historic funding for the Environmental Protection Fund. Along with proposals for other important investments in our environment, including $2 billion for water quality and capital funding for state environmental agencies, the $300 million EPF maintains New York’s position of national leadership on providing funding for open space and farmland conservation, parks creation, waterfront redevelopment, climate change adaptation and mitigation and water quality,” said Jessica Ottney Mahar, Policy Director for The Nature Conservancy in New York.

 "We applaud Governor Cuomo’s continued support of a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) in this year’s budget. Last year the Governor and the Legislature agreed to an unprecedented increase in the EPF, resulting in programs that will benefit every New Yorker in some manner through land conservation, urban forestry, sustainable waterfront planning, agricultural sustainability, and pollution prevention programs. By reaffirming this historic financial commitment, Governor Cuomo is doing what is necessary to ensure last year’s increase was not a onetime deal." said Darren Suarez, Director of Government Affairs for The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

"We are pleased Governor Cuomo is proposing to maintain the Environmental Protection Fund at the historic $300 million level it reached last year," said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. "This is an outstanding investment for the environment and for New York: studies show every $1 of EPF funds invested in land and water protection provides $7 in economic benefits. These funds will go directly to conserving or revitalizing forests, municipal parks, rivers, inner city waterfront, and farmland in every corner of the state. As a result, we will be more resilient to extreme weather, our water and air will be cleaner, and New Yorkers will be able to get closer to the natural beauty and heritage of our great state."

“Strong EPF funding has long been a priority for New York Farm Bureau. It’s an investment into water quality and conservation programs used by farmers both upstate and Long Island, including the vital Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement & Control Grant Program which has a proven track record of working with farms to safeguard our water supply. We encourage lawmakers to fully support the EPF to protect the state’s natural resources,” said Jeff Williams, Public Policy Director for New York Farm Bureau.

“American Farmland Trust enthusiastically supports Governor Cuomo’s proposal to keep the Environmental Protection Fund at record funding of $300 million, including $20 million for protecting the farmland needed to grow our food and economy,” said David Haight, New York State Director of American Farmland Trust. “We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to make New York a national leader in helping farmers protect irreplaceable farmland and drinking water and respond to climate change as well as bring a new generation of farmers on to the land.”

“Last year's EPF is already making a critical difference for millions who spent time visiting our state's natural wonders, from enjoying Jones Beach to camping in the Adirondacks. Governor Cuomo’s proposal to once again fund the EPF at $300 million is an investment that pays off big time in cleaner water, healthier communities, and increased economic development in every region of our state,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “Governor Cuomo deserves high praise for his continued leadership to protect New York’s environment and public health, and we now look forward to working with the legislature to ensure a fully-funded EPF in the final state budget.”

“Governor Cuomo’s commitment to maintaining last year’s historic EPF funding is good for people, communities, birds and the places they need to survive and thrive,” said Audubon New York Executive Director Erin Crotty. “Audubon New York applauds Governor Cuomo for his environmental leadership and providing critical funding for many Audubon New York priorities and programs, including natural resource stewardship, open space and farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, water quality improvements, parks, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

“Parks & Trails New York is thrilled that the Governor continues to recognize the importance of healthy state parks and trails,” said Robin Dropkin, Parks & Trails New York Executive Director. “A $300 million appropriation for the EPF builds on the historic commitment made in last year’s budget and secures New York’s position of national leader by ensuring the conservation of critical resources for future generations while creating jobs and making our communities more resilient.”

Ethan Winter, New York Senior Program Manager for the Land Trust Alliance, said, “The Land Trust Alliance commends Governor Cuomo for again championing a robust Environmental Protection Fund, along with ambitious proposals to address climate change and safeguard drinking water for millions of New Yorkers. Vision, leadership and sustained public investment will be necessary in order for
communities across the state to more effectively protect New York’s most critical water resources, wildlife habitat, prime agricultural lands, working forests and urban open spaces while enhancing public access for recreation and healthy outdoor activities. We applaud Governor Cuomo for positioning New York as a national leader in environmental protection and look forward to doing whatever we can to advance the state’s open space protection goals.”

Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York said, “There has been overwhelming demand from communities statewide for EPF funding that helps them tackle climate action. We’ve also seen groundbreaking medical work that connects the dots on how environmental factors affect children’s health, as well as new investments for environmental justice communities who have been left behind for too long. We look forward to working to ensure an EPF investment of at least $300 million for the coming year to continue this work.”

“Governor Cuomo has built upon his stellar environmental leadership with a visionary commitment to clean water, open space, recreational trails and management of the Hudson Estuary in this year's budget. His $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, Empire State Trail, and Clean Water Infrastructure Act proposals are win-win's for New Yorkers and will deliver important economic, environmental and public health benefits. Scenic Hudson looks forward to supporting these proposals and working with the legislature to make them a reality," said Andy Bicking, Director of Public Policy and Special Projects at Scenic Hudson.

“With Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the expanded $300 million Environmental Protection Fund has significantly advanced a vision of preserving the Adirondack wilderness legacy and fostering more vibrant Park communities,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway. “Projects supported by the EPF and legislative leaders have preserved pure waters, protected wildlife and opened lands for public recreation that were closed for more than a hundred years. We are pleased to see the Governor’s commitment to a $300-million EPF.”

“The New York Botanical Garden, our staff, patrons and our visitors were thrilled to learn that Governor Andrew Cuomo has maintained his historic commitment to the Environmental Protection Fund in his executive budget. An investment in programs that protect clean water, air, and living museums in every corner of the State is truly an investment in the State’s economic and environmental health, particularly for urban dwellers and Bronx residents,” said Gregory Long, President and CEO of The New York Botanical Garden. “Governor Cuomo has shown real leadership by once again investing in New York’s environment so our kids and grandkids can enjoy the Empire State’s incredible pristine beaches, verdant waterways, wildlife-filled forests and beyond. In addition, EPF supports living museums and urban parks – which are vitally important as educational opportunities for underserved communities – as well as biodiversity research programs, recycling programs and invasive species control. These provisions will benefit the health and well-being of citizens both in the short term and long into the future, so we applaud the Governor for his vision.”

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