Sam Pryor Campground, Minnewaska State Park

Open Space Institute Joins Broad Coalition Calling for Full Funding of State Environmental Programs

Image Credit: Steve Aaron

Albany, NY (December 11, 2020)—The Open Space Institute today joined more than 175 groups throughout New York State to launch a new coalition to protect funding for the critical environmental programs that protect clean drinking water, create new parks, mitigate the intensifying climate crisis, advance environmental justice, support hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, and fortify local New York economies.

The coalition, known as the New Yorkers for Clean Water & Jobs, is advocating for the Environmental Protection Fund, the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, the NY Parks 2020 and DEC Capital Funding, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and for the reinstallation of the Environmental Bond Act on the ballot. Environmental programs have historically driven state economic recovery, serving as a proven investment that make New York communities stronger and healthier.

“As an increasing number of people turn to the outdoors seeking the mental and physical health benefits provided by our public parks and greenspaces, it is important for state leaders to fund New York’s environmental programs that not only protect and improve these vital spaces, but also expand the public’s access to nature, paving the way for healthier communities and residents,” said Kim Elliman, OSI president and CEO. “Now, when we need it most, is not the time to turn our backs on environmental programs that protect clean air and water; create and maintain local parks and green spaces; address the climate crisis; and protect precious natural resources.”

The new coalition is advocating to protect funding for these critical New York environmental programs, including:

  • Environmental Protection Fund (EPF): The EPF supports 350,000 jobs across the state and approximately $40 billion in economic activity each year. The program has a strong track record in preventing pollution, improving water quality, protecting family farms, and expanding parks, trails, gardens, and zoos across the state.
  • NY Parks 2020 and DEC Capital Funding: Over the last 10 years, Parks 2020 has funded $1 billion in upgrades to NY’s world-class state parks system. Every dollar invested in state parks generates $5 of economic activity. Likewise, the DEC NY Works Program has improved public recreation opportunities throughout the state and ensured the agency can address pollution that threatens both public health and natural resources.
  • Clean Water Infrastructure Act: New York’s drinking water and wastewater systems need tens of billions of dollars in upgrades to ensure our communities have safe drinking water. To date, the State has provided $3.9 billion for water infrastructure programs, including the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, and Governor Cuomo committed an additional $1.5 billion over the next three years as part of the FY19 budget for a total commitment of $5.4 billion. This program is a job generator, with every $1 million in state investment resulting in 17 local jobs.

The coalition, New Yorkers for Clean Water & Jobs, is also calling for the reinstallation of the Environmental Bond Act on the ballot. If put back on the ballot and passed by voters, the Environmental Bond Act would dedicate $3 billion to create jobs, protect clean water, modernize outdated water infrastructure, and address climate change.

The coalition is also advocating for federal aid for New York as the state grapples with a massive budget deficit bought on by the pandemic.

The ongoing pandemic and the escalating climate crisis put further urgency on protecting environmental programs that improve public health, safeguard clean water, strengthen the economy, allow New Yorkers to spend time in nature, and enable communities to reduce local climate risks.

Coalition members include:

  • + POOL
  • Adirondack Council
  • Adirondack Land Trust
  • Adirondack Mountain Club
  • Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve
  • Agricultural Stewardship Association
  • Alley Pond Environmental Center, Inc
  • Alliance for a Green Economy
  • Alliance for the Great Lakes
  • American Farmland Trust
  • Appalachian Mountain Club
  • Association for a Better New York
  • Atlantic States Legal Foundation
  • Audubon New York
  • Audubon Society of the Capital Region
  • Bedford Audubon
  • Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper
  • Capital Roots
  • Catskill Center
  • Catskill Mountainkeeper
  • Central Westchester Audubon Society
  • Champlain Area Trails
  • Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy
  • Chemung Valley Audubon Society
  • Citizens Campaign for the Environment
  • City Parks Foundation
  • Clean and Healthy New York
  • Climate XChange
  • Coalition of Living Museums
  • Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor
  • Columbia Land Conservancy
  • Concerned Citizens of Montauk
  • Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley
  • Defend H2O
  • Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Earthjustice
  • Eastern Long Island Audubon Society
  • Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve, Inc.
  • Empire State Forest Products Association
  • Environmental Advocates NY
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Finger Lakes - Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance
  • Finger Lakes Land Trust
  • Food & Water Action
  • Four Harbors Audubon Society
  • Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation
  • Friends of the Bay
  • Friends of the Upper Delaware River
  • Friends of Tillson Lake, Inc.
  • Friends of Times Beach Nature Preserve
  • Genesee Land Trust
  • Genesee Valley Audubon Society
  • Genesee Valley Conservancy, Inc.
  • Grassroots Gardens WNY
  • Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition
  • Great South Bay Audubon Society
  • Green Ossining
  • Greene Land Trust
  • Groundwork Hudson Valley
  • Group for the East End
  • HabitatMap
  • Hampton Bays Civic Association
  • Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association
  • Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee
  • Hudson Highlands Land Trust
  • Hudson River Audubon Society of Westchester
  • Hudson Valley Fishermen’s Association
  • Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, Inc.
  • Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
  • Indian River Lakes Conservancy
  • Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University
  • Keuka Outlet Trail
  • Kingston Land Trust
  • Lake Agawam Conservancy
  • Lake George Land Conservancy
  • Lake Placid Land Conservancy
  • Land Trust Alliance
  • Lewisboro Land Trust
  • Long Island Contractors' Association, Inc.
  • Long Island Pine Barrens Society
  • Manhasset Bay Protection Committee
  • Mianus River Gorge
  • Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy
  • Mohonk Preserve
  • Moms for a Non Toxic New York
  • Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Nassau Hiking & Outdoor Club
  • Natural Areas Conservancy
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • New York Botanical Garden
  • New York Building Congress
  • New York City Audubon
  • New York League of Conservation Voters
  • New York Restoration Project
  • New York State Assc. of Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3)
  • New York State Laborers’ Union
  • New York State Pollution Prevention Institute
  • New York State Urban Forestry Council
  • New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
  • New Yorkers for Parks
  • Newtown Creek Alliance
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association – New York (NOFA-NY)
  • North Fork Audubon Society
  • North Fork Environmental Council
  • North Salem Open Land Foundation
  • North Shore Audubon Society
  • Northern Catskills Audubon Society, Inc.
  • Northern New York Audubon
  • NY Climate Reality Chapters Coalition
  • NY Product Stewardship Council
  • NYC Audubon
  • Onondaga Audubon
  • Ontario Bays Initiative, Inc (OBI Land Trust)
  • Open Space Institute
  • Orange County Audubon Society
  • Orange County Land Trust
  • Otsego Land Trust
  • Our Outer Harbor Coalition, Buffalo
  • Palisades Parks Conservancy
  • Parks & Trails New York
  • Peconic Baykeeper
  • Peconic Estuary Protection Committee
  • Peconic Land Trust
  • Pollinator Conservation Association, Inc
  • Preservation League of New York State
  • Protect the Adirondacks!
  • Putnam County Land Trust
  • Rebuild by Design
  • Renewable Energy Long Island (reLI)
  • Rensselaeer Plateau Alliance
  • RETI Center
  • Riverkeeper
  • Riverside Park Conservancy
  • Rochester Museum and Science Center
  • Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee
  • Saratoga PLAN (preserving land and nature)
  • Save The Great South Bay
  • Save the Sound
  • Saw Mill River Audubon
  • Scenic Hudson
  • Seatuck Environmental Association
  • Serpentine Art and Nature, Inc.
  • Setauket Harbor Task Force
  • Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter
  • Somers Land Trust
  • South Shore Audubon Society
  • Southampton Town Civic Coalition
  • Southern Madison Heritage Trust
  • St. Lawrence Land Trust
  • Stormwater Infrastructure Matters (SWIM) Coalition
  • Surfrider Foundation
  • Sustainable Westchester
  • SWANA - New York Chapter
  • Syracuse Cultural Workers
  • Teatown Lake Reservation
  • The Conservation Fund
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The North Shore Land Alliance, Inc.
  • The Trust for Public Land
  • Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
  • Trout Unlimited
  • Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust
  • Urban Green Council
  • Van Cortlandt Park Alliance
  • Vision Long Island
  • Wallkill Valley Land Trust
  • Waterfront Alliance
  • WE ACT for Environmental Justice
  • Westchester Land Trust
  • Western New York Environmental Alliance
  • Western New York Land Conservancy
  • Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Winnakee Land Trust
  • Woodstock Land Conservancy

New Yorkers for Clean Water & Jobs

New Yorkers for Clean Water & Jobs is a broad coalition formed to demonstrate the vast support for New York environmental funding and programs that protect clean water and air, create jobs, and address the climate crisis. For more information on the website, please visit:

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