New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) supports industries that generate approximately $40 billion annually for the State’s economy and sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to a recent analysis.
The report, prepared by The Trust for Public Land (a national conservation organization) in collaboration with the New York Environmental Leaders Group, concludes that the EPF generates jobs, supports local economies, and elevates property values. The analysis also concludes that for every $1 invested to protect lands under EPF, $7 in economic benefits is returned to New York through “natural goods and services,” such as filtering air and water of pollutants, and flood control.
EPF programs directly fund open space and farmland protection, recycling and solid waste management, and investments in parks, recreation, and historic preservation. These activities support a broad spectrum of industries, including outdoor recreation, tourism, forest products, and agriculture as well as protecting the drinking water for millions of New Yorkers, The Trust for Public Land said in a statement announcing the study.
“As we conduct these studies around the nation, we are finding, time and time again, that investments in land conservation, urban development, and environmental infrastructure, yield returns that sustain and stimulate local and regional economies,” said Jessica Sargent-Michaud, economist for The Trust for Public Land and author of the report. “The findings for New York’s Environmental Protection Fund show that the stronger the EPF is, the more local economies benefit.”
The report says that yearly returns on EPF funding include:
The New York State Park System — which receives significant support from the EPF — generates $1.9 billion in visitor spending, five times more than management and operations costs.
EPF-supported industries sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs, including but not limited to:
Outdoor recreation activity: 130,000 jobs
Forest-related manufacturing and logging: 38,000 jobs
Farm operators and laborers: 117,000 jobs
Recycling: 32,000 jobs
EPF protected lands that support wildlife-associated recreation in New York attract millions of visitors annually who participate in fishing, hunting, or wildlife watching, which generates more than $3 billion in annual sales.
In 2010 and 2011, total EPF funding was held at $134 million, approximately 0.001 — or one-tenth of one percent — of total state spending. The proposed EPF budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year is $134 million.
For the full report or a two-page summary, visit tpl.org/new-york