January 5, 2016
Albany, NY

3rd Proposal of Governor Cuomo's 2016 Agenda: Bolster New York's Legacy of Environmental Protection

TOP 3rd Proposal of Governor Cuomo's 2016...

Allocate $300 Million for Environmental Protection Fund – Highest in State History and More Than Double Since 2011

Improve Downstate Water Infrastructure by Making Critical Investments in Sewer Systems and Supporting Bay Park Outfall Pipe

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Governor Cuomo unveiled the third signature proposal of his 2016 agenda – a number of initiatives to bolster New York’s legacy of environmental protection. The Governor announced that New York State will allocate $300 million for the State’s Environmental Protection Fund – the highest amount ever for the fund and more than double the fund’s level when the Governor first took office. The Governor also announced two major investments in water infrastructure in Suffolk and Nassau Counties. These announcements were detailed earlier today at an event on Long Island. 

This increase will provide record funding for urgent environmental investments, adding resources for land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, waterfront revitalization, and an aggressive environmental justice agenda. The Governor made this announcement at an event today in Nassau County.

“New York’s natural environment is one of our greatest assets – so we are stepping up to protect it like never before,” said Governor Cuomo. “This year we are going to make big investments that will protect the environment and make our communities cleaner, greener and more resilient for generations to come.” 

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The EPF offers wide ranging benefits to communities around the state and plays an important role in preserving the state’s natural resources and habitats. After years of funding cuts to the EPF, upon taking office in 2011, Governor Cuomo stabilized the EPF by freezing the funding level, even with a $10 billion budget deficit and has secured funding increases ever year thereafter.

The EPF offers wide ranging benefits to communities around the state and plays an important role in preserving the state’s natural resources and habitats. After years of funding cuts to the EPF, upon taking office in 2011, Governor Cuomo stabilized the EPF by freezing the funding level, even with a $10 billion budget deficit and has secured funding increases ever year thereafter.

State EPF Funding since 2011:

Year

State EPF Allocation

2011-12

$134M

2012-13

$134M

2013-14

$153M

2014-15

$162M

2015-16

$177M

2016-17

$300M

This year’s increase is more than double the $134 million dollar EPF the Governor inherited when he took office in 2011. Funding to support the increase will come from traditional funding sources. No funding from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative proceeds will be used to support the EPF.

“Time and time again Governor Cuomo has demonstrated his commitment to restoring and protecting the state’s environment, including new initiatives to position New York as a national leader on combatting climate change, the most pressing environmental issue of our time,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos. “With this unprecedented commitment to establishing a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, Governor Cuomo is solidifying his environmental legacy for generations to come. I applaud Governor Cuomo for this historic commitment to preserving New York’s incredible and economically important natural resources.”

Created in 1993, the EPF was established to provide funding for the broad categorical areas of Solid Waste, Parks and Recreation and Open Space. The EPF funds land acquisition, farmland protection, waterfront revitalization, municipal recycling, local government assistance to improve wastewater treatment plants and municipal parks. Many EPF-funded programs support innovative programs to solve environmental challenges and benefit municipal partners.

The EPF also supports the stewardship of public lands, including state parks and millions of acres of public lands throughout the state. Through partnerships with volunteer organizations, state agencies use stewardship funding to manage trails and lands, protect natural resources, preserve wildlife habitats, make critical capital improvements at parks and campgrounds, educate students about conservation and provide access to persons with disabilities.

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“NY’s natural environment is one of our greatest assets...we are going to make big investments that will protect the environment & make our communities cleaner, greener & more resilient for generations to come.”

Governor Cuomo
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Improve Water Quality on Long Island
Septic systems across Suffolk County discharge excess nitrogen resulting in contaminated groundwater and stormwater, degrading vital ecosystems, threatening public health, harming coastal wetlands and hindering vacation economies.

Governor Cuomo is therefore advancing a transformative initiative to connect nearly 10,000 Suffolk County households currently on septic systems to state-of-the-art sewer systems. This historic build-out of sewer infrastructure will ensure that household sewage is properly treated—dramatically improving water quality and thereby restoring critical habitats, enhancing protective natural buffers, and supporting vibrant fishing and tourism economies. Beyond new sewer systems, the State is actively supporting the development and testing of improved nitrogen-removing advanced individual septic systems. 

This initiative is expected to cost more than $388 million—of which the Governor has already secured nearly $122 million though state and federal sources. The State is actively pursuing $266 million in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and in September received an encouraging Phase 1 approval to proceed with project planning. Environmental review is already underway for key watersheds, and construction is expected to begin in 2018. 

Bay Park Outfall Pipe
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the Governor Cuomo invested $831 million in federal Sandy recovery dollars to ensure that the plant was not simply built back – but built back better. The state is investing $191 million in state and federal resources for the Bay Park outfall pipe, and pursuing $150 million more through the federal National Disaster Resilience Competition. The outfall is a long overdue project that will protect the Western Bays from high levels of nitrogen.

Upon completion of the outfall pipe construction, the state will fund a detailed technical analysis to determine if additional treatment measures may be needed to further reduce nitrogen pollution. 

 

 

 

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Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office

NYC Press Office: 212.681.4640

Albany Press Office: 518.474.8418