Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright today announced the Assembly's 2018-2019 SFY Budget of $170.2 billion provides $300 million for the state Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to support such critical statewide environmental protection programs as water initiatives, municipal recycling projects and land acquisition.
"The funding priorities we identify in this Assembly budget reflect our conference's strong concern and advocacy for the protection of our environment, which we believe is critical to the safety of public health and also the state's economy." said Speaker Heastie. "Our budget invests in a series of environmental measures that not only will bring improvements to the quality of life for today's New Yorkers but also for future generations."
"By funding the EPF and investing in other very worthwhile and needed environmental programs, our budget continues funding support for many practical and cost saving measures that communities across the state rely on to protect drinking water, air quality, parks and open space, and to address the destructive consequences of climate change," said Englebright.
The Assembly's 2018-2019 SFY Budget accepts the Executive budget's $300 million allocation to EPF, the same funding level as the previous fiscal year. Within the EPF, the Assembly budget provides $37 million for land acquisition, a $7 million increase; $16 million for zoos, botanical gardens and aquaria, a $3.5 million increase; $3.2 million for the Hudson River Park Trust, a $2.2 million increase; $9 million for Environmental Justice, a $1 million increase; and $1 million for a new paint stewardship program.
Also through the EPF, an increase of $1 million is provided to both the Children's Environmental Health Centers and the states invasive species eradication efforts for total funding amounts of $3 million and $7 million respectively. The Assembly also allocates $250,000 to study the feasibility, costs, location and impact of the construction of a sea gate to protect Long Island's south shore from storm surge.
The Assembly's steadfast and longtime commitment to ensuring the availability of safe drinking water to New Yorkers is also reflected in its budget. It includes language that clarifies all water bodies are eligible for state funds of $65 million, an amount previously identified and announced by the Executive, for the purpose of combating harmful algae blooms.
The Assembly fiscal plan also calls for the Environmental Justice Program to be made permanent within the EPF, and also provides $20.5 million for climate-change related programs. Under the Assembly plan, modifications are made to the Executive budget involving such environmental protection measures as Brownfield Opportunity Areas, to ensure clarity for grant applicants; Food Waste Diversion, to ensure greater ease in program implementation; and Long Island Pine Barrens Expansion, to include additional land.
Municipal recycling projects are provided for in the Assembly budget through the establishment of the paint stewardship program and continued funding support for food waste diversion measures.