EPF an Essential Pillar of Governor's $33 Billion Five-Year Plan to Combat Climate Change, Enhance Natural Resources and Protect Communities
Expansion of State's Product Stewardship Initiatives to Promote Recycling of Mattresses and Carpets Will Reduce Waste Across the State
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the FY 2021 Executive Budget includes record funding for the Environmental Protection Fund at $300 Million - the highest sustained level of funding in the program's 25-year history. As part of the Governor's new $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change, which includes the EPF and the proposed $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, these major investments continue New York's national environmental leadership, advance essential projects to protect the state's water, air and natural resources, prevent damages from flooding and help communities capitalize on the economic returns of environmental funding.
"While the Trump Administration continues an all-out assault on our nation's landmark environmental programs, New York is leading the charge to create the green economy of the future and show the nation and world the economic potential of our incredible environmental programs," Governor Cuomo said. "New York's Environmental Protection Fund continues to support critical projects across the state that protect clean water and open space, combat climate change and increase recycling, and when combined with our new programs to improve waste management, we are making incredible advances to ensure a cleaner environment for our future generations."
The $300 million funding proposal is more than double the $134 million dollar EPF the Governor inherited when he took office in 2011. The 2020-21 Executive Budget EPF appropriations include $39 million for solid waste programs, $89 million for parks and recreation, $152 million for open space programs and $20 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program. This sustained investment will provide funding for critical environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement and an aggressive environmental justice agenda.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Governor Cuomo is advancing one of the most ambitious environmental agendas in the nation and he's doing it at time when our environment and communities need it most. By continuing his longstanding commitment to the EPF and advancing new initiatives to improve waste management in the state, The Governor is solidifying New York's role as the leader in the fight against climate change and creating a greener future for all."
The Governor's Executive Budget also includes two significant new initiatives to reduce environmental pollution statewide: the previously announced ban on the use of polystyrene and the creation of a new Product Stewardship Program for the recycling of two particularly difficult-to-manage products, carpets and mattresses. The new proposal places the responsibility for endoflife management for carpets and mattresses on the producer, helping to ensure these programs consider endoflife impacts of the product or packaging during the earliest stages of design. The initiative also incentivizes manufacturers to redesign products and packaging to be less toxic, less bulky, and lighter, as well as more recyclable.
The Governor's product stewardship proposal also develops the framework for future stewardship programs that will help reduce the costs and negative environmental impacts of products at the end of their useful life. Reducing material use and toxicity and increasing recycling results in significant environmental, economic, energy, and greenhouse gas reduction benefits.
Governor Cuomo has overseen the implementation of numerous extended producer responsibility programs, helping divert over 725 million pounds of electronic waste, mercury thermostats and rechargeable batteries from landfill disposal. In 2019, Governor Cuomo accomplished a key goal of his Justice Agenda when he signed landmark legislation banning single-use plastic bags in New York State. This milestone accomplishment, which goes into effect in March 2020, will prevent plastic bag litter in our environment, reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastic bag production and disposal, from petroleum used to produce the bags to emissions from the transportation of bags to landfills. New York is one of only eight states to have a single-use plastic bag ban in place.