Press Releases

Adirondack Council Thanks Legislative Leaders for Proposals to Boost Environmental Funding

Each House Would Increase Capital Funding for Overuse, Senate Revives Bond Act

Monday, March 15, 2021 

ALBANY, N.Y. – The Adirondack Council today thanked Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins for their proposals to increase environmental spending in several important categories that would benefit the clean water, healthy forests and small communities of the Adirondacks. 

“We are pleased to see that both houses recognized the need to better manage the crowds of visitors pouring into the Adirondack Park,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway. “Both included money to help state and local officials redirect traffic to the most resilient locations and offer better protection to sensitive sites, while continuing to provide fair and equitable access to millions of visitors a year.” 

The Assembly budget bill increased the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) from $300 million to $400 million. The EPF is a capital projects account for the state’s top conservation priorities. 

Janeway offered his thanks to Assembly EnCon Committee Chairman Steve Englebright, D-Setauket, and his colleagues, for ensuring that the assembly plan also includes $9 million for Forest Preserve stewardship; $800,000 for Essex County to cope with overuse of the Forest Preserve; and $400,000 to the Adirondack Research Consortium to develop a Visitor Use Management Framework for controlling overuse in the High Peaks Wilderness and other highly visited areas of the Forest Preserve. 

Adirondack communities would continue to benefit from the Assembly’s $500-million addition to the money available for sewer and sewage treatment plant construction and improvements, source water protection, and drinking water purity programs. Thanks to previous rounds of this funding, Adirondack taxpayers have received more than $58 million in state assistance protecting local waters from improperly treated sewage. The Adirondack Council’s Clean Water Program assists local officials in identifying and obtaining such funding.  

Janeway applauded Senate EnCon Chairman Todd Kaminsky, D-Long Beach, and his Senate colleagues for reviving a $3-billion Clean Water and Jobs Bond Act for environmental priorities including overuse of the Forest Preserve and the state’s compliance with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

The Senate Bond Act also includes $1 billion for restoration and flood risk reduction; $550 million for open space protection and recreational infrastructure; $700 million for climate change mitigation measures; $550 million for water-quality improvements and resilient infrastructure; among other projects.  

The Senate budget bill includes $500 million for clean water infrastructure.  Its proposal for the Environmental Protection Fund would hold steady at $300 million, but would include $800,000 for Essex County to cope with overuse.  In addition, the Senate included $1.99 million in its “Aid to Localities” budget for overuse, which includes $400,000 for the Adirondack Research Consortium’s Visitor Use Management Framework; $100,000 to the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies; $50,000 for the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development and $50,000 for Catskill Mountainkeeper. 

These Senate and Assembly majority-democrat proposals are pro-environment, pro-public health and good for the Adirondack Park. They also address clean water and state land stewardship concerns recognized by minority members Senator Dan Stec and Assemblyman Matt Simpson. Janeway expects both will find items to applaud in the proposals. 

The Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. The Council envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant communities. 

The Adirondack Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy, and legal action. Adirondack Council advocates live in all 50 United States.

For more information: John Sheehan, Director of Communications, 518-441-1340 

 

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