State Budget and its Impacts on Environment, Land Preservation

April 6, 2009 at 6:01 pm Leave a comment

Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan praised Gov. Paterson and legislative leaders for passage of a budget that continues funding for the Environmental Protection Fund with an expanded Bottle Bill and for continuing the Hudson River Valley Greenway as a vital force in the region.

Mr. Sullivan said, “In his 2009 State of the State address, Governor Paterson expressed his commitment to ‘clean up the Hudson and try to make it look like it did when Henry Hudson visited it many years ago.’ We now have the potential to make that happen through the collaboration of more than a dozen land trusts working together with the state to Save the Land That Matters Most. I can’t imagine a more auspicious start to our 400th-anniversary celebration of Henry Hudson’s epic voyage.

“By preserving a stable funding source for the Environmental Protection Fund and guaranteeing added revenues for land protection – in part through negotiations to expand the Bottle Bill – Governor Paterson, Senate Majority Leader Smith and Assembly Speaker Silver have bolstered the state’s commitment to helping us conserve 65,000 acres of the Hudson Valley’s most majestic landscapes, ecological treasures and working farms. This is the goal of Scenic Hudson’s Saving the Land That Matters Most campaign. The state’s investment is critical to sustaining the valley’s $4.5-billion tourism economy, attracting new solar and other ‘green’-technology firms, improving the quality of our drinking water and mitigating future impacts of climate change. By restoring the Hudson River Valley Greenway, legislators also guaranteed this vital agency will continue helping communities focus development in downtowns while protecting open space around them.

“The entire Hudson Valley Delegation worked hard to make sound budget decisions during these challenging fiscal times. In particular the legislators whose leadership was instrumental in retaining the Hudson River Valley Greenway in the budget include Senator Neil Breslin, Senator Suzi Oppenheimer, Senator Steve Saland, Assemblyman Kevin Cahill and Assemblyman Marc Molinaro. Freshman Assemblyman Frank Skartados also demonstrated a strong understanding of the relationship between the economy and the environment. Scenic Hudson appreciates these lawmakers’ efforts, which galvanized the region’s delegation around a shared commitment to environmental conservation and compatible economic development. Scenic Hudson’s top priority of saving land and creating parks that connect people with the beauty and inspiration of the Hudson will be enhanced by these budget actions — and so will the lives of all Hudson Valley residents,” said Mr. Sullivan.

Andy Bicking, Scenic Hudson director of Public Policy added, “Democrats and Republicans alike showed their support for a healthy environment and regional economy when these important programs could have been casualties of Albany’s belt-tightening response to the fiscal crisis. The environmental provisions in this budget indicate that our state leaders understand sustainable economic growth. The Hudson River Valley Greenway and the Hudson River Estuary Program help communities revitalize downtowns – spurring new businesses and jobs, while conserving open space and farms growing healthy produce. Virtually every valley municipality has utilized EPF funds to build new parks, improve drinking water, abate pollution, protect open space and revitalize waterfronts. Both programs stimulate private investment, create jobs and reduce the need to increase taxes.”

Ned Sullivan also acknowledged the leadership and terrific efforts by the governor’s staff, particularly Judith Enck, the administration’s deputy secretary for the environment.

 

Scenic Hudson works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors. A crusader for the valley since 1963, we are credited with saving fabled Storm King Mountain from a destructive industrial project and launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement. Today with more than 10,000 ardent supporters, we are the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley. Our team of experts combines land acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy and sophisticated planning tools to create environmentally healthy communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the public and preserve the valley’s inspiring beauty and natural resources. www.scenichudson.org
Jay Burgess
Director of Communications, Scenic Hudson, Inc.
Tel: (845) 473-4440 x22
Cell: (914) 489-0362
jburgess@scenichudson.org

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Entry filed under: Dive In, Public Waterfront, Region. Tags: , , , .

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