The New York State Assembly hit a home run in its fiscal year 2021-22 New York State budget with the historic increase of the Environmental Protection Fund.
The New York State Senate hit one out of the park with its authorization of the $3 Billion Clean Water, Green Jobs, Green New York Bond Act.
The New York State Assembly and State Senate released their new state budgets for fiscal year 2021-22 and they contain big news for the Adirondack Park. The Assembly boosted the Environmental Protection Fund to $400 million and designated $9 million in EPF funding for “Adirondack and Catskill Visitor Safety and Wilderness Protection.” This represents the biggest boost and brightest spotlight on Forest Preserve and Wilderness management in New York’s history. The State Senate authorized passage of the new $3 Billion Clean Water, Green Jobs, Green New York Bond Act and focused research funding on visitor use management in the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
The State Assembly released an ambitious state budget that includes a $400 million Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) raising the fund from $300 million proposed by the Executive. The Assembly EPF calls for investments in a number of Adirondack Park priorities, including land protection funded at $44 million, invasive species control funded at $19.3 million, State Lands Stewardship at $40.465 million, and Climate Changes Mitigation and Adaptation at $19.8 million. The State Lands Stewardship funding includes $9 million for Adirondack and Catskill Visitor Safety and Wilderness Protection, $800,000 for Essex County over-use, and $400,000 for the Adirondack Research Consortium to work on helping to organize and develop a Visitor Use Management monitoring program for the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
Consistent with the Governor’s budget and the new Senate budget, the Assembly also funds in the EPF the Adirondack Diversity Initiative at $250,000, the Paul Smiths VIC at $180,000, the Newcomb VIC at $120,000, Adirondack landfill closure for Essex and Hamilton counties at $450,000, Essex County Over-Use at $800,000, and Lake George invasive species control at $450,000.
The Senate kept EPF funding at $300 million, but added the $3 Billion Clean Water, Green Jobs, Green New York Bond Act to its budget, which if passed would be on the state ballot in November 2021.
The State Senate EPF $300 million spending accounts allocations are very similar to the Executive Budget.
The State Senate includes $400,000 for the Adirondack Research Consortium to work on helping to organize and develop a Visitor Use Management monitoring program for the Adirondack Forest Preserve in its budget for Aid to Localities.
Clean Water, Green Jobs, Green New York Bond Act: The State Senate included a new $3 billion environmental bond act, called the “Clean Water, Green Jobs, Green New York Bond Act.” This measure would be placed on the state ballot for a vote in November 2021! Unlike in last year’s state budget, there is no budget language authorizing them to remove it from the ballot once it is passed. Click here to read the Senate’s bond act program language, which tracks closely to the to the environmental bond act from last year.
The $3 billion Clean Water, Green Jobs, Green New York Bond Act includes $1 billion for climate change restoration and flood risk reduction, $550,000 million for open space land conservation and recreation, $700 million for climate change mitigation, and $550 million for water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure, among other project and programs.
Click here for an EPF chart for the two houses.
Clean Water Infrastructure
Both the Senate and Assembly continued important clean water funding, including $500 million in new funding for clean water infrastructure and commitments to capital improvements at our state parks and environmental conservation facilities. This is consistent with the Executive budget.