On Friday, several hundred officials from across the North Country gathered in Lake Placid to hear Governor Andrew Cuomo discuss highlights of the recently passed state budget. The fiscal plan includes $2.5 billion for the statewide Clean Water Infrastructure Act and $13.2 million in aid to municipalities. The spending plan keeps the Environmental Protection Fund at $300 million. New York state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos calls it the best environmental budget the state has passed in three decades.
“We saw enormous cutbacks in the late 2000’s to DEC’s budget, Park’s budget. You know we were talking at one point obviously about parks being closed and shuttered. This year we’ve not only have a $300 million EPF but really the centerpiece of this budget being this $2.5 billion for clean water will truly be transformational statewide. It’s going to give us the resources we need to protect health, to protect drinking water. It’s going to give us the resources to set land aside in conjunction with towns and nonprofits. For us it gives us everything we were asking for and much more.”
The new state fiscal plan includes $41 million for solid waste programs, $86 million for parks and recreation, and $900 million to upgrade and repair state parks. The state budget also includes $19 million for climate change adaptation programs.