For Immediate Release
HUDSON VALLEY — Scenic Hudson thanks Governor Kathy Hochul for her dedicated efforts to develop a $233 million budget proposal that upholds her commitment to protect the environment and enhance the wellbeing of all New Yorkers. While we commend her leadership, her proposed budget falls short of meeting historical funding levels for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and clean water infrastructure. We join with our partners across the state to encourage the Governor and the Legislature to address the budget challenges this year without cutting funds from the environmental programs that will safeguard the health and inspirational beauty of our state for generations to come.
Important aspects of the budget proposal include:
- $375 million for the Environmental Protection Fund, with $25 million for agency staffing costs
- $300 million for State Parks capital improvements, including projects funded in celebration of our State Parks’ Centennial
- $47 million to facilitate the planting of 25 million trees by 2033
- $500 million in clean water infrastructure funding over two years – a 50% cut from the $500 million allocated annually for the past five years
- Investments in Climate and Flood Resiliency to protect New Yorkers from extreme weather
- The proposed Renewable Action Through Project Interconnection and Deployment (RAPID) Act that will expedite the environmental review and permitting of major renewable energy and transmission facilities
As we look towards the release of the final budget, we thank Governor Hochul for her continued investment in public health and environmental causes, and encourage her to build upon the nation-leading work that she has done so far on the environmental front. We respectfully request the maintenance of a whole $400 million Environmental Protection Fund – with no reduction for agency staffing costs. We also emphasize that Bond Act funds are meant to supplement existing programs and not be used as a stopgap measure in the face of budgetary shortfalls.
Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said, “Scenic Hudson has been honored to collaborate with the Governor’s administration to preserve and transform lands along the Hudson River, increase public access to natural resources, restore critical habitats, and improve the overall quality of life in the Hudson Valley. We thank the Governor for boosting investment in the Parks Capital Fund and look forward to maintaining our dynamic collaboration. We will continue to advocate for programs in this year’s state budget that combat the climate crisis and connect communities to our state’s bountiful natural resources.”
“The Governor has taken a comprehensive and holistic approach to protecting our environment both in the Hudson Valley and across the state,” said Executive Director of Policy, Advocacy and Science Pete Lopez. “We commend her focus on providing resources and incentives that will fight climate change while promoting sustainability and resiliency in our homes, farms, and businesses.”
“The proposed increase in capital funding for our robust state parks system comes at a critically important moment,” said State Policy Manager Carli Fraccarolli, “As temperature highs become more extreme due to climate change, it’s imperative that New Yorkers have ample opportunities to cool off. We are pleased that Sojourner Truth State Park is slated to receive a floating swim structure in its Quarry Lake through Governor Hochul’s NY SWIMS program. We applaud the Governor’s passion and creativity in addressing the need for both recreation and refuge from the heat in our urban communities.”