Statement by OSI president and CEO Kim Elliman:
ALBANY, NY ( January 20, 2021)—The Open Space Institute commends Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s 2021-2022 budget proposal for its support of New York state parks and the protection of the state’s vital natural resources.
The Governor’s spending plan further establishes New York as a national leader in protecting our country’s precious natural resources. OSI is particularly pleased that the Governor’s budget includes:
- $440 million for state park infrastructure over four years. The new Parks 100 initiative, building to the 2024 celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the New York State park system, continues the governor’s historic commitment to revitalizing and expanding New York’s state parks.
- $330 million to maintain the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) at historic funding levels. The EPF is a critical source of funding to protect natural resources and the communities that depend on them and has a strong track record in protecting open space, preventing pollution, improving water quality, protecting family farms, and supporting parks and trails across the state. The program supports 350,000 jobs across the state and approximately $40 billion in economic activity each year.
- $500 million for clean water infrastructure, including vital funding for clean drinking water source protection. This investment in drinking water infrastructure, wastewater infrastructure, and source water protection will enhance community health and wellness, safeguard the state's most important water resources, and create jobs.
Over the past year, in the wake of the current health crisis, legions of New Yorkers have expressed their deep appreciation for parks and open space and these sources of funding support the interests of all New Yorkers. We commend the Governor for taking these bold actions in support of environmental funding and hope to see these measures included in the final budget.
And as the 2021 Legislative Session gets underway, we renew our call for an Environmental Bond Act measure, with which New York can achieve big environmental solutions such as the protection of forests for clean drinking water and fresh air, the absorption of carbon to aid in halting and mitigating the negative effects of climate change and improving the public’s access to nature.