Senate Republicans moved to protect the state’s commitment to fund environmental protection programs today when they proposed an amendment to the 2009-10 state budget that would stop a planned cut of nearly $80 million to the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Senate Democrats voted unanimously in opposition to striking the proposed EPF cut from the budget.
"The bottom line is that the EPF is responsible for preserving and protecting our most fundamental needs to protect our air, water and food supply,” Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said. “By investing in the EPF we are investing in our quality of life now and for future generations of New Yorkers, that is why we fought to maintain EPF funding at $300 million in this budget.”
"When I first became Chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee, the EPF was funded woefully at $30 million," Senator Marcellino said. "Two years ago, I sponsored a law to set funding at $300 million to fuel the engine which protects our environment, now the Governor and Senate and Assembly Democrats want to raid the EPF again to balance the budget and that is wrong for our communities and wrong for the environment."
The 2009-10 state budget reneges on the state’s commitment to fund the EPF at $300 million by cutting the funding level by $78 million. The EPF has been a repeated target. The Governor swept $125 million from the fund in the 2008-09 state budget and cut $50 million from the EPF in his deficit reduction plan.
The projects funded by the EPF include clean water, open space, working farms, municipal and urban parks, land stewardship, urban and community forestry programs, local recycling programs, historic preservation, Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquaria (ZBGA), smart growth, and public health initiatives like breast cancer research.