Legislature Agrees On Environmental Protection Fund

John J. Bonacic

June 27, 2006

The Senate passed legislation (S.8470) today appropriating $225 million to the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The legislation includes $8.75 million for municipal recycling. Senator Bonacic wrote the 2000 law which authorized the cost of municipal recycling planning and promotion to be included in the Environmental Protect Fund.

"Recycling at the municipal level ensures our air is cleaner, are landfills are less congested, and we are reusing resources whenever possible. By funding this service through the State, rather than just at the local level, we are working on an important initiative and also saving property taxpayers the cost of those services," Senator Bonacic said.

Bonacic and the late State Assemblyman Jacob E. Gunther III authored the 2000 law. In addition to the funding for municipal recycling, the EPF also provides:

* $23 million for farmland protection. The grants under this program help purchase conservation easements. Senator Bonacic has successfully advocated for conservation easements on several farms in Ulster and Orange Counties.

* $20.5 million for municipal parks. Municipalities are able to apply on a competitive basis for grants under this fund.

* $50 million for land acquisition. Senator Bonacic has worked successfully with funds under the land acquisition program to save important pieces of the Shawangunk Ridge and the Catskill Region.

* Other initiatives funded under the Environmental Protection Fund include waterfront revitalization ($16.75 million); Stewardship of State lands ($14.75 million); Historic Barn preservation ($5 million); and the Hudson River Estuary Plan ($5 million).

"Preserving key open spaces like the Shawangunk Ridge, helping to ensure our farms can remain viable, and enhancing our municipal parks are important across the State, but are particularly important in growing region’s like the Hudson Valley," Bonacic said.

Senator Bonacic is a senior member of the Senate’s budget subcommittee which helps set the Environmental Protection Fund’s priorities. He is the only Senator from the Hudson Valley on that subcommittee, which addresses important preservation and environmental protection needs across the State.

"Fighting to make sure our region receives its fair share in Environmental Protection Funds is something I take very seriously. I am confident our region will receive an ample share of the funds allocated under the EPF this year, as we have in years past," concluded Senator Bonacic.