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Conservation Advocates Applaud Governor Cuomo's Proposal to Continue Restoration of Environmental Protection Fund in State Budget

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Conservation Advocates Applaud Governor Cuomo’s Proposal to Continue Restoration
of Environmental Protection Fund in State Budget

For Immediate Release: January 21, 2015

Jessica Ottney Mahar, The Nature Conservancy,, 518-669-5067
Richard Schrader, Natural Resources Defense Council,, 347-210-2594
David Haight, American Farmland Trust,, 518-581-0078
John Sheehan, The Adirondack Council,, 518-441-1340
Neil Woodworth, Adirondack Mountain Club,, 518-669 -0128

ALBANY, N.Y. – Advocates for New York’s clean water, clean air, parks, farms and forests today applauded Governor Cuomo’s proposal to increase the state’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to $172 million, an increase of $10 million over the current fiscal year.

The Executive Budget proposal included the continued restoration of the EPF, which suffered deep cuts under previous administrations during the economic crisis. Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has ended the practice of “sweeping” dedicated funding from the EPF into the state’s General Fund to balance the budget, streamlined work at agencies to increase EPF program spending, and began the restoration of EPF appropriations.

Governor Cuomo’s proposal to increase annual funding for the EPF by $10 million in the next state budget marks continued and critical progress towards restoring the Fund, which benefits every county in the State.

Created in 1993, the EPF is the state’s dedicated source of money for capital programs that protect open space and farmland, water quality, support municipal programs including recycling, park development, historic preservation, zoos and botanical gardens, regional planning and waterfront revitalization.

Since its creation, more than $2.8 billion has been appropriated to support EPF programs, which are proven job creators. The Environmental Protection Fund supports more than 350,000 jobs in New York State across a broad spectrum of industries, including outdoor tourism, agriculture and protecting the drinking water for millions of New Yorkers. EPF supported industries generate approximately $40 billion for the state’s economy every year. A study by the Trust for Public Land found that for every $1 invested by New York State in the EPF, $7 in economic benefits are returned to communities.

The EPF is funded primarily through the state’s existing Real Estate Transfer Tax, which is expected to generate nearly $1 billion in the current fiscal year, and continue to grow now that the real estate market has recovered.

Organizations as part of the We Love New York campaign will work to support the continued growth and recovery of the EPF during the remainder of the state budget process.

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