The Environmental Protection Fund

Environmental Protection Fund

Great News!!

Thank you for all who contacted Governor Cuomo and state legislators asking them to increase funding in the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Your hard work paid off!!

The final state budget for next year includes $162 million for the EPF. This is a $9 million increase over the current funding level!

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The Environmental Protection Fund

History. New York's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) was created in 1993 during an economic recession. The idea was to create a pay-as-you-go capital projects fund. It was reserved for large, one-time purchases such as land for parks, recycling facilities, landfill closures and historic preservation. At the time it was clear that these needs weren't being met through the year-to-year spending of state agencies. Major environmental priorities had been left unfunded.

Where does the money come from? The EPF is funded by a portion of the revenues from the NYS Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT), to ensure a reliable stream of revenue. Each year during the budget negotiations, the Legislature and Governor must agree on the level of funding that will go into the EPF and assign specific amounts for various categories such as land protection, land stewardship and water quality.

How much money is in the fund? In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, collaborative efforts by New York State's Friends of the Environment coalition and the New York State Legislature helped get the EPF funded at $153 million. The 2013-2014 budget included the following appropriations:

Land acquisition - $20 million
Invasive species eradication - $4.6 million
Waterfront Revitalization - $12 million
State land stewardship - $16.6 million
Smarth Growth - $400,000

Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal for 2014-2015, would increase the EPF by $4 million from an agreement made last year increasing it to $157 million.

How is the money dispersed? EPF monies are used by state agencies and distributed to municipalities and not-for-profits through grant-making programs.

How is the fund threatened? Since its inception the EPF has been eyed by elected officials for a source of funds to cover gaps in general funding. Between 2003-2009, roughly $447 million has been swept from the Fund to make up for budget deficits. Unfortuantely, this money has never been repaid to the EPF.  

Why does it matter now? Without an adequately funded EPF, the state will be unable to protect land and clean water, undertake important programs that reduce pollution, fight invasive species, and attact tourists and businesses.

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