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August 2, 2007

DiNapoli: Spending from Environmental Protection Fund Surpasses $1 Billion


More than $1 billion was spent from the Environment Protection Fund (EPF) since the fund was established more than a decade ago, according to a summary of total EPF spending released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The summary is part of EcoNews, a newsletter highlighting key fiscal issues related to the environment in New York State.

“New York’s Environmental Protection Fund reached a historic landmark this year. More than $1 billion has been spent on preserving open space and farmland, improving urban parks and protecting our environment,” DiNapoli said. “This fund continues to be the most significant source of funding for environmental projects in communities throughout the state. My office will continue to track EPF spending and ensure that spending is completely transparent.”

This is the first time that the State Comptroller’s office has issued a summary of spending based on annual EPF appropriations since the fund was established in 1993. The EPF was created to help fund the environmental needs of New York’s municipalities and residents.

The summary released today showed that the EPF has grown from $31.5 million to $225 million. Of the $1.5 billion appropriated from the EPF from State Fiscal Years (SFY) 1994-95 through 2006-07, more than $1 billion was spent and another $170 million is encumbered, leaving $350 million, or 23 percent, available for future projects. Funding for open space projects was disbursed more expediently than funding for solid waste projects and recreational or historic preservation projects.

The analysis does not include the $250 million appropriation in the SFY 2007-08 Enacted State Budget, an increase of $25 million over the previous year. A new law was also passed in 2007 requiring the Department of Environmental Conservation to report on EPF projects quarterly and increases the EPF to $300 million by SFY 2009-10.

“The action taken by the Legislature and Governor this year ensures that critical environmental projects have the funding they need to go forward. The new reporting requirements will also let the public know how this money is spent,” DiNapoli said.

EcoNews also contains information on recent environmental audits undertaken by the Comptroller’s Office as well as actions taken by the New York Oil Spill Compensation Fund.

Click here for mp3 audio.

Click here to view EcoNews and the summary.



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