Environmental Protection Fund (EPF)
Created in 1993, the EPF:
- Provides an ongoing source of primarily pay-as-you-go funding to address the State’s environmental needs.
- Supports a broad array of environmental programs, such as State and municipal open space conservation; municipal and agricultural non-point source water pollution control; State and local parks projects; municipal water pollution control and aquatic habitat conservation; support for the State’s zoos, botanical gardens and aquaria; waterfront revitalization; farmland conservation; and municipal climate change mitigation and resilience programs.
- Has been primarily funded with a portion of the State’s real estate transfer tax. However, from SFY 2014-15 through SFY 2018-19, General Fund Transfers were also a recurring funding source and accounted for 22 percent of EPF funding.
- Appropriations to the EPF have fluctuated over the life of the Fund. In SFY 2018-19, the EPF appropriation was $300 million.
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
- In SFY 2018-19, DEC All Funds spending totaled $1.2 billion, an increase of $242 million (24.8 percent) over SFY 2017-18.
- As of March 31, 2019, employment at DEC reached 2,996 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) positions, an increase of 109 FTEs over levels as of March 31 in the previous year. However, the 2019 figure was down 18.1 percent from March 31, 2009.
- For 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s State Average Annual Emissions Trend report shows estimated total emissions in New York from certain criteria pollutants covered by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, excluding lead, of 2.5 million tons, a decrease of 4.9 percent from the previous year’s estimated emissions and a decrease of more than 38 percent for those from 2008. These emissions include nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, particulate pollution, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and ammonia. Nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds are precursors of ground level ozone, or smog. Sulfur dioxide is a precursor of particulate formation in the atmosphere and of acid rain.
- Highway and off-highway vehicles and engines are the largest sources of carbon monoxide, with 558,823 and 734,275 tons of emissions, respectively. Together these sources account for 81.4 percent of total carbon monoxide emissions.
- Solvent utilization was New York State’s leading source of volatile organic compound emissions in 2017, with 170,617.4 tons of emissions or 44.4 percent of the total.
- Highway vehicles in New York were the leading emitter of nitrogen oxides in 2017, with 93,584.8 tons of emissions or 34 percent of the total.
- Mining and quarrying, construction, agriculture and road dust combined were New York’s most significant source of particulates in 2017, with 157,630 tons of emissions, 68.3 percent of the total.
- Fuel combustion by industry was the leading source of New York’s sulfur dioxide in 2017, with 18,605.6 tons of emissions or 48.2 percent of the total.
- Agricultural livestock and fertilizer application combined were the leading source of ammonia in 2017, with 21,261 tons of emissions or 65.8 percent of the total.
- In 2018, there were reported incidences of harmful algal blooms on 173 bodies of water in New York State, an increase of 23 over the prior year.
- A $2.5 billion capital projects appropriation was included in the SFY 2017-18 Enacted Budget for clean water infrastructure projects, including those projects authorized by the New York State Clean Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2017. Eligible projects include nonagricultural nonpoint source control; municipal waste water treatment; remediation of contaminated sites that contribute to water contamination; source water protection; and upgrades to septic systems and cesspools. As of March 31, 2019, $61.4 million (2.5 percent) had been spent from this appropriation.
- An additional $500 million was appropriated for water infrastructure projects in the SFY 2019-20 Enacted Budget.
- The SFY 2019-20 Enacted Budget included a statewide ban on most plastic carryout bags distributed by retail stores to package and carry purchases. In addition, the Budget authorizes an optional 5 cent charge on paper bags that may be adopted by cities or counties.
In 2019, legislation was enacted establishing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in New York State, which will require extensive changes in energy production and consumption throughout the State in future years. The legislation’s requirements include:
- A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the State of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and a reduction of 85 percent by 2050.
- Generation of 70 percent of electricity used in the State from renewable sources by 2030. By 2040, the State’s system to meet electric demand must generate no greenhouse gas emissions.
- Provisions to promote equity for disadvantaged communities in the legislation’s implementation.
According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, in 2016:
- New York State emitted 167 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, or 18.5 percent lower than 1990 levels.
- New York State generated 1,466 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) of electricity, with over one-third generated by natural gas and nearly 30 percent provided from nuclear sources.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:
- In 2017, New York State had the most energy efficient economy among U.S. states, consuming 2.6 thousand BTUs for every dollar of gross domestic product.
- In 2017, with energy expenditures of $2,762 per person, New York State had the second lowest per capita energy expenditures of any state.
- For March 2018, New York State’s average residential natural gas price of $12.06 per thousand cubic feet was 12th in the nation.
- For April 2018, at 18 cents per kilowatt hour, New York State’s average residential electric rate was eighth in the nation.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2017:
- There were 33,438 farms in New York State, 2,099 fewer than in 2012.
- New York farms encompassed 6.9 million acres, a reduction of 4 percent from 2012.
- The overall economic impact from New York farms as measured by net farm income was $1.4 billion, an increase of nearly 18 percent from 2012.
- Receipts from the sale of all agricultural commodities in New York State were approximately $5.4 billion.
- With total receipts of $343 million, New York was the second largest apple producer in the nation.
- New York was the third largest milk producer in the nation, with total sales of $2.5 billion.