Environmental Protection Fund
Since it was created in 1993, New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to protect open space, revitalize waterfronts, support recycling, preserve farmland, enhance water quality, and help connect New Yorkers with the outdoors. The program, financed primarily through New York's real estate transfer tax, has also contributed to economic development and generated thousands of jobs for New Yorkers.
ADK helped craft the original EPF legislation and has worked every year since to ensure that critical environmental programs receive adequate state funding. During the current state fiscal year, the EPF is providing $134 million for environmental programs, including $17.5 million to purchase land and conservation easements and $16 million for stewardship of state-owned land. The stewardship funding is particularly important tor ADK because it helps support our Professional Trail Crew and Summit Steward Program.
In 2014 the real estate transfer tax (RETT), the main source of funding for the EPF had rebounded to a projected collection of $1 billion. ADK, with other conservation groups, requested a reasonable increase of $47 million for the FY 2014–2015 budget. This increase would have funded the EPF at $200 million. The final FY 2014-2015 budget, March 29, 2014, has an increase to the EPF of $9 million for a total of $162 million. See Press Statement on the EPF in the FY 2014-2015 Budget.
In 2015 New York State has a budget surplus. Now is the time to invest aggressively in what makes our communities and economy stronger. It is time to provide a significant increase to the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) which strengthens communities and builds economies by providing capital funds for forests, farms, clean water, local parks, recycling, municipal infrastructure, combating aquatic invasive species, and much more. Governor Cuomo has done a good job of using the state budget surplus for capital investments, and now investing in a $200 million EPF will be a powerful way for the Governor to grow his capital investment strategy. The EPF is an effective vehicle for making capital investments in our communities and economy because for every $1 the Fund invests, $7 is returned to New York State. Through various programs, the EPF supports more than 350,000 jobs across a spectrum of industries, including outdoor tourism, agriculture, and protecting drinking water for millions of New Yorkers. All told, EPF-supported industries generate approximately $40 billion every year.
Press Statement: Conservation Groups Applaud Proposed Increase to the EPF