A white bird flies over blue waters surrounding by a green marsh.
Helping New York Thrive In his Executive Budget proposal released January 19, Governor Cuomo proposed critical investments in New York’s environment. © Charles Gleberman

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The Nature Conservancy Commends Executive Budget Proposals That Will Save Jobs, Protect Clean Water, and Expand Parks Across New York

In his Executive Budget proposal released yesterday, Governor Cuomo proposed critical investments in New York’s environment, including the continuation of a $2.5 billion program to improve water quality; a sixth annual appropriation of $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund; and a four-year $440 million investment in capital projects that will enhance public access to New York State Parks. The Governor’s budget proposal also includes $75 million in capital funding for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to improve access to state lands and recreational infrastructure and undertake other important work including wetland restoration. 

Finally, the budget proposal will add staff at environmental agencies, including the new Office of Renewable Energy Siting and Department of Environmental Conservation to implement the state’s nation-leading climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which will include building new renewable energy and energy infrastructure projects announced in Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address.  

Jessica Ottney Mahar, New York policy and strategy director for The Nature Conservancy said, “Governor Cuomo has embraced climate action and environmental conservation as a cornerstone of his plan to ensure New York recovers from the COVID pandemic and builds a sustainable future for our state. Environmental programs provide our communities good jobs, clean air and water, fresh food, and local parks. The Nature Conservancy applauds Governor Cuomo’s continued commitment to environmental funding and looks forward to working with state elected officials and partners to ensure that environmental appropriations are spent and the benefits they bring are fully realized across the state.”

At a briefing with the media on January 19, New York State Budget Director Robert Mujica stated during a Q&A with press that Governor Cuomo remains committed to the $3 billion Environmental Bond Act, and that while it was not included in the budget proposal, a discussion with the Legislature about when to place it on the ballot will occur.  

Jessica Ottney Mahar responded to this statement saying, “We are pleased that Governor Cuomo’s administration remains committed to the $3 billion Environmental Bond Act. We are excited to continue our work with partners to ensure environmental funding remains a priority and to campaign in support of the Bond Act when it is placed on the ballot.”

“We look forward to learning more specifics about the Governor’s proposals and to working with Governor Cuomo, the New York State Legislature, and partners to ensure that critical environmental investments are included in this year’s final budget,” concluded Ottney Mahar.

For more information about environmental funding in the state budget, visit www.cleanwaterandjobs.org

For more information about The Nature Conservancy’s work in New York, visit www.nature.org/ny

Read our full testimony before the Joint Legislative Hearing on the environmental conservation portions of the Executive Budget.

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 75 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 38 through partners, 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.