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Momentum Grows For Enhancing Environmental Fund

Submitted by Elizabeth Mooney on Thu, 2012-03-08 12:35.
Several years back, the Environmental Protection Fund was set at $250 million a year. Then the financial crisis hit and that number went down to $134 million. 

Here is just one of the ads NYLCV and our  partners have been running to boost support for the Environmental  Protection Fund.Here is just one of the ads NYLCV and our partners have been running to boost support for the Environmental Protection Fund.The question now is, how can this fund be bolstered so it can actually meet the need -- while not raising taxes or fees? 

Sen. Mark Grisanti, chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, made headlines last week when he floated an idea at NYLCV's Eco-Breakfast.

He is proposing to direct unclaimed bottle deposit money into the EPF -- those unclaimed deposits right now just go to the general fund, to no environmental benefit. 

Now, that proposal is quickly gaining steam. 

The Times Herald-Record, a prominent newspaper in the Hudson Valley, editorialized in favor of Grisanti's plan.  "It's a smart idea, because the state has been whittling away at that fund in recent years, making it that much harder to fulfill its mission. The fund helps protect farmland, preserve open space and support local parks and historic preservation," the Times Herald-Record opined.

Then on Monday, the Albany Times Union followed suit, supporting it on the TU's editorial page. "The Environmental Protection Fund is short about $45 million for farmland acquisition, for instance. To delay such funds means running the great risk of losing open space that might better be preserved and forever altering the landscape of New York, especially upstate," the TU wrote.

This week, the Friends of New York's Environment -- a coalition that includes NYLCV -- began airing radio ads to support the EPF. A big goal of the coalition this year is to implement exactly the kind of idea that Grisanti proposed.


 

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