New York Assemblyman Steven Englebright is seeking support for the 2015 Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and is asking fellow representatives to urge that it be increased to $200 million in the state budget. The Executive Budget proposal currently increases the EPF appropriation by a modest $10 million to only $172 million. Assemblyman Englebright's letter requesting this support is due to Speaker Carl Heastie THIS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13.
From Assemblyman Englebright's letter:
"Funding for the EPF must be restored at a faster rate if we are to address critical needs that exist for programs that provide every district in the state benefits including clean air and water, healthy communities, job creation and municipal services. A greater level of investment in the environment is appropriate and needed in this year's budget, as our economy continues to recover and revenue grows.
During the recent recession, the annual EPF appropriation was drastically reduced from $255 million to $134 million. This reduction negatively impacted programs that conserve our precious clean water; support our community parks and farm, forestry, recycling, and tourism sectors; and empower our municipalities to become more resilient to storm impacts.
A 2012 study by the Trust for Public Land showed that for every $1 invested in land and water conservation through the EPF, the state received $7 in economic return. The EPF supports thousands of jobs in our state through its various programs across a broad spectrum of industries, from outdoor tourism and agriculture to drinking water protection for millions of New Yorkers. EPF supported industries generate approximately $40 billion in revenue every year. With a 7 to 1 payoff for every dollar invested, a surplus in the state budget, and significant needs in communities from Brookhaven to Buffalo, now is the time to make additional progress and further enhance the EPF. We accordingly urge that the EPF appropriation grow to $200 million in this state budget."
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Please reach out to your Assembly members and ask them to sign on to Assemblyman Englebright's letter. Since this letter is to the Speaker, it is helpful to have it come from members of his conference.