Conservation groups respond to Governor Cuomo's announcement of historic funding for the environment

ALBANY, NY—January 5, 2016—Today Governor Cuomo announced that he will include historic funding—$300 million—for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) in his state budget proposal. This proposal is an incredible victory for conservation, business, agriculture, recreation and municipal communities. This unprecedented commitment to the EPF underscores the program's importance and vital role in protecting clean water and valuable resources, creating jobs and building strong communities throughout New York State.
Last fall and earlier this winter, nearly 150 organizations —from every corner of New York and representing some of the leading business, environmental and conservation groups in the state—publicly called for Governor Cuomo to fully commit his support to New York's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) in the soon-to–be–announced 2016–2017 Executive Budget. Today, Governor Cuomo has announced that he will answer that call, providing $300 million for the EPF.
"The Nature Conservancy applauds Governor Cuomo for today’s historic announcement," said Jessica Ottney Mahar, director of government relations for The Nature Conservancy in New York. "In his speech today, Governor Cuomo highlighted how New York’s economy and environment are interconnected, and only with a healthy environment can we create communities that will attract businesses to provide well-paying jobs, protect essential resources including clean water, and improve quality of life for New Yorkers. When we restore and conserve our environment, our economy benefits."
"Today’s commitment by Governor Cuomo to increase funding for the EPF to historic levels is a tremendous victory for New York’s environment, economy, communities and people," said Erik Kulleseid, Senior Vice President of the Open Space Institute. "New Yorkers overwhelmingly support protecting our natural resources and ensuring that our communities are environmentally healthy and strong. By fully funding the EPF, New York will truly be 'built to lead,' with reliable and resilient infrastructure, water and air quality and the long-term protection of forests, habitats, parks and farmland."
"We applaud Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented announcement today to fully fund New York's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The programs contained in the EPF are incredibly diverse and touch every New Yorker’s life in some manner through land conservation, urban forestry, sustainable waterfront planning, agricultural sustainability, pollution prevention programs and more," said Darren Suarez, Director of Government Affairs for The Business Council of New York State, Inc. "The Business Council was pleased to join with nearly 150 organizations from every corner of New York in advocating for this bold action."
In December, a statewide bi-partisan public opinion poll showed that New Yorkers overwhelmingly support increasing public investment in the state’s environmental quality, including more than seven in ten (73%) voters who said they support fully funding the EPF at $300 million per year. Commissioned by the Open Space Institute, The Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy and the Adirondack Council, and conducted by a bipartisan team of polling firms, the survey revealed extraordinary support statewide and across party lines in every demographic—confirming that voters understand investing in clean water, resilient infrastructure, and conserving natural resources are essential to building strong, healthy communities and economic prosperity in New York.

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