Tuesday, January 26, 2021

What’s in the state budget for the Adirondacks?

Satellite view of the Adirondacks with blue line superimposed courtesy Adirondack WildFollowing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State presentations, last week we learned about his 2022 proposed budget. Cuomo was largely asking the federal government to give the state more money, citing the coronavirus pandemic. New York is currently almost $15 billion in the hole.

But after Cuomo talked, some budget documents were released with a better idea of what next year could look like.

I’ll be delving into those in a bit more detail, but overall, we found that Cuomo plans to keep intact the $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, an important source of money for Adirondacks projects. The state Department of Environmental Conservation could be getting some new staff members, but it looks like they will be focused on implementing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Some funding was renewed for Essex County to address overuse in the High Peaks, and $250,000 was renewed for the Adirondack Diversity Initiative.

Of course, all of this has to get fleshed out through budget hearings and the state Legislature still. The budget has to be passed by April 1.

Cuomo and the state budget director never voluntarily mentioned the $3 billion environmental bond act that they proposed last year. Reporter Marie French at Politico asked the state budget director last week about the act. He said state officials would be discussing it with legislators.

At 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, there will be a joint public hearing on the environmental conservation budget. It will be streamed live here: https://www.nysenate.gov/calendar/public-hearings/january-27-2021/joint-legislative-public-hearing-2021-executive-budget.

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Gwen is the environmental policy reporter for Adirondack Explorer.

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