By Michael Gormley
Albany, NY (July 19, 2007)- Gov. Eliot Spitzer and the Legislature agreed Thursday to phase in increases in the state’s Environmental Protection Fund, which protects open space from development and pays for many major environmental projects. Robert Moore, of Environmental Advocates of New York, said the fund will do more than protect the health of the Adirondacks. “It supports key programs in the New York City metro area, including urban forestry, waterfront revitalization and municipal parks,” Moore said. The fund was created in 1993 and is paid for by part of the state’s revenue from the real estate transfer tax.
“The Environmental Protection Fund is a pivotal funding source for the state’s premier environmental programs,” Spitzer said. The measure, which Gov. Spitzer signed into law Thursday after the Legislature passed it earlier this year, will:
* Increase the Environmental Protection Fund to $250 million in the 2008-09 state budget, a $25 million increase.
* Increase the fund to $300 million beginning in 2009-10.
Neil Woodworth of the Adirondack Mountain Club supported the bill. “Enactment of this legislation will provide greatly needed additional funds for open space protection in the Hudson Valley, Catskills and Adirondacks,” Woodworth said. Marcia Bystryn of the New York League of Conservation Voters called it “one of the most important environmental victories in New York state this year.”
“It is the way that we protect the water we drink, the air we breath and the food we eat,” said Senate Environmental Conservation Committee Chairman Carl Marcellino, a Long Island Republican. “By investing in the EPF we are investing in our quality of life and improving the quality of life for generations of New Yorkers.”
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