The Finger Lakes Land Trust commends Governor Kathy Hochul for presenting a forward-looking budget that will positively impact all New Yorkers for years to come. The proposed budget clearly demonstrates New York’s enduring commitment to the environment by introducing the landmark Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act and making the largest ever investment in the Environmental Protection Fund.
Governor Hochul’s budget proposal includes a $1 billion increase to the original Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, bringing its total to $4 billion. The Bond Act will be on the ballot this November and, if approved by the public, this extraordinary initiative will provide the funding needed to restore New York’s critical habitats, address flooding, conserve additional lands and waters, combat harmful algal blooms, and mitigate climate change.
In addition to the Bond Act, Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget also proposes a record level of funding for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The governor’s $400 million investment in the EPF will support critical projects throughout the state that address the effects of climate change, improve agricultural resources, protect our waters, advance land conservation, and provide outdoor recreation opportunities. The Finger Lakes Land Trust has been the fortunate recipient of EPF funding in past grant rounds and used it well to protect critical lands and waters throughout the region.
The governor is also making a commitment to invest in our state parks and improve public access to state lands. The Finger Lakes Land Trust works closely with state parks and the Department of Environmental Conservation to expand public lands and increase their accessibility. Projects like the permanent protection of Bell Station on Cayuga Lake, expansion of Bear Swamp State Forest near Skaneateles Lake, and new additions to Bare Hill Unique Area overlooking Canandaigua Lake are examples of our successful partnership.
As 2022 gets underway, the Finger Lakes Land Trust looks forward to working with Governor Hochul and her administration to advance land and water conservation throughout the region.