NEW YORK STATE BUDGET
The Environment, including Farmland Protection and Water Quality, Receive Strong Support in FY 2017/2018 Budget
With thanks to many, the New York State budget announced on April 10 includes strong support for the environment and conservation initiatives focused on water quality and farmland protection. Our thanks go out to Governor Cuomo and our state representatives from Long Island — including Senators Ken LaValle and John Flanagan and Assemblymen Fred Thiele, Anthony Palumbo and Steven Englebright.
Leading the news is the announcement that the Environmental Protection Fund would once again receive record funding: $300 million for FY 2017/2018. This follows last year’s growth in the fund, which had been reduced and stagnant for many years.
Part of this funding includes an increase for the Land Trust Alliance’s Conservation Partnership Program. This program assists land trusts in capacity development and projects. The Trust has received numerous grants through this program, most recently for planning projects with both the Towns of Riverhead and Southampton with a focus on farmland conservation.
The budget also includes $2.5 billion for new Clean Water Infrastructure programs — including source water protection which can include acquisition of lands important to protecting our drinking waters. Specifically, the budget language says “land acquisition projects that support, expand or enhance drinking water quality protection, including but not limited to aquifers, watersheds, reservoirs, lakes, rivers and streams.” The program will make $110 million available over the next five years to municipalities and not-for-profits to acquire land and conservation easements.
We are excited by the prospects this budget presents to care for our environment, our farmland and our precious water resources. We look forward to working with our representatives to ensure a healthy and productive Long Island.
Please take a moment to reach out and thank the Governor and your local Senator and Assemblyperson for their commitment to New York’s environment.