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The Nature Conservancy Celebrates Nation-Leading Wins for New York’s Environment, Economy, and Communities in FY19-20 State Budget

The final budget agreement includes congestion pricing, new funding to protect clean water, a ban on plastic bags, and the 4th year of $300M for EPF

Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have come to a final agreement on a state budget that includes major wins for New York’s environment, including a congestion pricing plan for New York City, $500 million of additional funding for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects, $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), and a ban on single-use plastic bags. The budget agreement also ensures the integrity of the EPF through the removal of language that would have allowed unlimited use of EPF funds for state agency personnel costs.

Stuart F. Gruskin, New York chief conservation and external affairs officer, said, “The Nature Conservancy is thrilled the final budget agreement includes a congestion pricing plan for New York City. This policy will bring many important benefits to the entire state. It will reduce carbon pollution, the driver of climate change, while improving air quality, making the streets safer, and raising money for mass transit improvements. We thank Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for their national leadership. New York City is the first city in the United States to enact congestion pricing and is setting a great example for other cities across the country. Around the world, congestion pricing has successfully improved the flow of traffic, reduced pollution, and improved public health, and New York will now see those benefits.”

Jessica Ottney Mahar, New York policy director for The Nature Conservancy, said, “The budget agreement continues historic funding of $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund, the state’s premier program for conserving New York’s natural resources. In addition, a provision authorizing a precedent-setting 'raid' on the EPF was rejected. We are grateful for the leadership from the Senate and Assembly, led by Environmental Conservation Committee Chairs Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assemblyman Steve Englebright, along with Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who worked with Governor Cuomo to reach an agreement to protect the integrity of the EPF. We applaud Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for building on the incredible legacy of conserving open space and clean water, creating community parks, supporting working farms, reducing pollution, and addressing climate change through this year’s EPF.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.