Environmental Protection Fund

Environmental Protection Fund

History. In 1993, the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) was created by the New York State Legislature in order to ensure there is funding for capital projects that both protect our environment and enhance NYS communities. The EPF is a pay-as-you-go fund, allowing the state to be fiscally responsible in making long-term investments for the future of both our environment and communities.

Funding. The EPF is primarily funded by the Real Estate Transfer Tax, and has been since its creation. By using this funding source, our state can ensure that investments in the environment are steady and occur on a continuing basis. The EPF is also supported by revenue generated by the unreturned deposits on bottles and cans and the issuance of conservation vehicle license plates, and annual transfers from the state’s general fund. Once the budget is finalized, money is dispersed by state agencies and grants are awarded to eligible projects.

Process. Each year, the NYS legislature and the governor negotiate the level of funding for the EPF during the budget season. EPF funding is then allocated into four different categories; open space, parks and recreation, solid waste, and climate change mitigation and adaption.

Importance. What allows New York to separate itself from other states is our ingrained cultural value to protect our environment. The EPF allows us to protect our clean drinking water and air, parks and state lands, undertake programs that reduce pollution, fight invasive species, and attract tourism and businesses. A robust EPF allows New Yorkers to set an example for other states to prioritize environmental protection.

How the EPF has helped New York State and the Adirondack Park. In the Adirondack Park, funding from the EPF has increased the amount of Forever Wild lands for New Yorkers to enjoy. Once such example is the purchase of the Boreas Ponds Tract, which was part of the largest state Adirondack land purchase in over 100 years. Furthermore, the EPF protects Adirondack water and the communities that depend on it, by investing in the fight against invasive species, as well as efforts to make community wastewater clean before it is returned to the ecosystem.

The EPF is also an investment in the future of the entire state. For every $1 that is invested into the EPF, $7 in economic benefits is returned to New York State. EPF investments in our environment have helped the outdoor recreation industry prosper. Over 4.5 million residents and visitors participate in outdoor recreation activities annually in New York and bring in billions of dollars to our economy.

The EPF has put in motion a new wave of environmental protection, honoring a legacy of Adirondack Park preservation that began in 1892. Without the EPF, our Adirondack Park wouldn’t be as wonderful as it is today.

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