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Governor Cuomo Allocates $300 Million for Environmental Protection Fund

This year’s Executive Budget continues historic investments in Long Island’s parks, beaches, and waterways.

Since 1993, the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) has been New York’s dedicated funding source for environmental programs from Montauk to Buffalo. The EPF funds projects that are critically important for protecting our natural resources and connecting New Yorkers with their local environment. Some of the programs funded throughout the EPF include; drinking water protection, open space and parks preservation, waterfront revitalization, pollution prevention, hazardous waste disposal, recycling programs,  pesticide reduction, and invasive species removal. The EPF also supports our botanical gardens, aquariums, and zoos.

The funding in the EPF comes from NY’s Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT), which means that although the EPF was always intended to grow to a robust source of funding for NY’s environmental programs, the funding levels have fluctuated with the real estate market and hit historic lows in the years following the 2008 financial crisis.  As the economy has recovered and our state leaders have made increased commitments to environmental protection, the EPF has risen to a record $300 million. Now, for the third year in a row, Governor Cuomo has committed to continue this record-level investment for the EPF in his Executive Budget.

Long Island is one the largest beneficiaries of EPF funding in the state, with Nassau and Suffolk having received over $200 million combined over the last 20+ years. On Long Island, over $80 million has been invested in open spaces, parks, and farms, which in turn generates $2.74 billion in economic benefits annually.  Funding from the EPF prevents polluted runoff from agriculture from entering nearby waterways, improves public access to Long Island’s beaches, and supports water quality improvement programs in over 30 Long Island municipalities.  While these programs are necessary for protecting our land, drinking and surface water resources for generations to come, they also have immediate economic benefits. In addition to creating good, local jobs, every $1 invested in the EPF generates $7 in economic benefits.  The success of the EPF shows time and again that, for Long Island, what’s good for the environment is good for the economy.

The LI Clean Water Partnership applauds Governor Cuomo for his continued commitment to the EPF. Now, we need our Senate and Assembly leaders to allocate $300 million in their respective budgets and ensure that we continue to grow the successful programs funded through the EPF. To learn more about the LICWP’s push for funding for the EPF, sign up for updates today!