This year’s state budget required lawmakers to make difficult decisions in a year when the state faced an historic deficit. Thankfully, the Legislature reaffirmed New York’s commitment to protect our land, air and water, and support programs that benefit local governments and the economy by allocating $222 million to the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Long Island legislators, including Bob Sweeney and Brian X. Foley, championed programs that protect Long Island’s precious drinking water, forests, beaches, bays, parks and open spaces.
In addition to funding the EPF, the budget maintains its stable and proven funding source and does not allow resources to be swept into the state’s general fund. The agreement on the fund was a result of the Senate, Assembly, and governor working together to reach a compromise to support essential environmental programs.
Finally, the compromise to expand the Bottle Bill to include water bottles will increase recycling rates, reduce pollution and provide as much as $115 million in much-needed revenue for the state. We thank lawmakers for their work to protect the environment in this year’s budget.
Kevin McDonald, director of Public Lands
The Nature Conservancy on Long Island
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