Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Study: Environmental Protection Fund Builds NY Economy

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

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2 Responses

  1. Mick says:

    I’m surprised you would allow comments for this post.

    When you mention the New York Environmental Leaders Group, are you referring to NYEL, established by DEC? If so, of course they would advocate for EPF.

    I looked up the Trust for Public Land, and their senior management is comprised of bankers, lawyers, and former Nature Conservancy big whigs.

    Are you pushing an agenda on the residents of the Adirondacks? Are you trying to defend EPF’s indefensible position of causing economic ruin through its use of acquiring Forest Preserve land?

    Let’s state some real facts here: Every acre of productive forestland is worth $475.00 to NYS’ GDP every year. The State is considering purchasing another 80,000 acres. If it does, and if it uses EPF money to do so, it will cost the State $38 million per year in lost economic opportunity costs. Why don’t you address the negative economic impact of EPF?

    If EPF is truly used for public good, then that’s great. If it’s used to further the interests and incomes of bankers, lawyers, and TNC big whigs, then that’s just plain wrong.

    Thank you for posting this comment.

    By the way, the link you provided leads to nowhere, and the report you referenced can not be found on the Internet.

  2. Paul says:

    Mick,

    What you say may have merit, but the EPF is not only used to purchase Forest Preserve land.

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