Oyster Bay, New York – The Adirondack Council, Audubon New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, League of Conservation Voters, Land Trust Alliance, New York Farm Bureau, North Shore Land Alliance, and The Nature Conservancy gathered today at the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center in Oyster Bay to thank Senator Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) for their work to pass legislation during the 2007 session of the New York State Legislature that will increase the Environmental Protection Fund to $300 million by 2009.
"The Nature Conservancy applauds Senator Marcellino and Assemblyman Sweeney for their work to continue to expand environmental funding in New York State," stated Henry Tepper, State Director of The Nature Conservancy – New York. "This legislation to increase the Environmental Protection Fund will help protect biodiversity, open space, clean water and clear air throughout New York State," Tepper continued.
"Passage of the Environmental Protection Fund Expansion Act was one of the most important victories of the legislative session," said Marcia Bystryn, executive director of the New York League of Conservation Voters. "This development puts us one step closer toward increasing the fund to $500 million by 2010 and meeting the growing need in our local communities. New York owes a great deal to Senator Carl Marcellino and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney for their leadership."
"By increasing EPF funding, Senator Marcellino and Assemblyman Sweeney have increased opportunities for our farm families to protect the land and water resources we so wholly depend on," said John Lincoln, president of New York Farm Bureau.
"The EPF is a giant success story in New York State," stated Adrienne Esposito, CCE Executive Director. "The citizens of New York State continually demonstrate strong support for these and other environmental programs and this legislation guarantees the continued success of more than 60 essential programs which protect public health and our environment. We are looking forward to the Governor signing this important legislation," Esposito added.
"We are most grateful to Senator Marcellino and Assemblyman Sweeney for authoring and insuring the passage of this important legislation. Increasing the Environmental Protection Fund to $300 Million is a very positive step in ensuring a healthier future for us all," said Lisa Ott, President of the North Shore Land Alliance.
"New York’s 90+ land trusts have protected almost 2 million acres of the natural areas, farms, and places communities love best. Thanks to the leadership of Assemblymember Sweeney and Senator Marcellino, the resources for this essential work—and many other important environmental priorities—will continue to grow, serving all New Yorkers," said Lynn Schumann, Northeast Director of the Land Trust Alliance.
"Increasing open space protection is vital to the future of the Adirondack Park," stated Adirondack Council Executive Director Brian L. Houseal. "The EPF must continue to grow as development pressure grows. We applaud the efforts of Senator Marcellino and Assemblyman Sweeney to help close the gap between the needs of environmental projects and the available funding."
The Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) was created in 1993 as a dedicated annual funding source for capital projects that directly benefit New York’s land, air and water. It funds recycling, open space preservation, water quality programs, farmland protection, zoos, botanical gardens and aquaria, state land stewardship, invasive species programs, and pollution prevention programs, and more. The annual allocation of funds among programs is subject to Executive and Legislative agreement. The EPF was funded in its first year (State Fiscal Year 1994-95) at $31.5 million. This year (State Fiscal Year 2007-08) the EPF was funded at $250 million during the State budget process. The funding for the increase provided by this legislation will come from revenue generated by the State’s Real Estate Transfer Tax, which is the traditional source of EPF funds.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading international, nonprofit organization that preserves plants, animals and natural communities representing the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 15 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 102 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Visit us on the Web at nature.org.