The Business Council supports the Executive Budget proposal to increase to $300 million the state’s allocation to the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The EPF has proven to be a sound investment in environmental stewardship projects, and members of The Business Council are committed to environmental stewardship, and a sustainable economic future.
The EPF supports many practical programs that provide matching assistance directly to businesses and farms in a manner which benefits the environment. Specifically, the EPF provides: funding for farmers to implement practices to protect agricultural soils; support for the Pollution Prevention Institute which is dedicated to increasing the efficient use of raw materials, energy and water and reducing emissions to the environment and waste generation; and supports the Water Quality Improvement Program, which offers grants to municipalities for undertaking projects that reduce the flow of pollution to lakes, rivers and streams, and projects to protect aquatic habitats.
In addition, the EPF funds have been dedicated to the preservation of ecologically important locations throughout the State. These lands have become hunting and fishing areas, state parks, wildlife watching areas, and hiking trails that improve the quality of life for New Yorkers. Specifically some of these projects include:
- Protecting Long Island’s Pine Barrens and its invaluable sole source aquifer that provides clean water for millions of Long Islanders;
- Preserving Hemlock and Canadice Lakes, Rochester’s drinking water supply source;
- Restoring Hudson River water quality and helping communities develop river-focused community revitalization programs; and
- Protecting New York’s unique inland pitch pine-scrub oak barrens through funding the Albany Pine Bush Commission’s work and land acquisition programs.
The Business Council supports the proposed $300 million allocation of existing real property transfer tax revenues for the EPF, and encourages all parties to carefully consider the value of the proposed new categories and priorities, as well as the increased spending level, in approving this proposal.