October 19, 2012 - A survey released earlier this month showed that Hudson River Valley residents strongly support open space protection. One in four people call it their top priority—despite the economic downturn of the last several years.
The full results of the study, “Many Voices One Valley 2012,” can be found here and on the web at www.manyvoicesonevalley.org. Conducted by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in partnership with the Dyson Foundation, the survey results document residents’ perceptions of living in the Hudson Valley over the past 10 years.
Conservation and economic development go hand-in-hand, as we see with projects like the Hudson Valley Rail Trail and the Walkway Over the Hudson, which have drawn great numbers of tourists to the region.
Just a year earlier, another survey—this one polling voters statewide—showed that by a wide margin New Yorkers believe we can promote a strong economy and a clean environment at the same time.
Therefore, as state leaders consider future budget priorities, we hope they’ll remember the Environmental Protection Fund, a dedicated funding source enacted in the early 1990s for environmental issues including open space protection, municipal parks and historic preservation.
Since it was enacted, the EPF has been funded primarily by the Real Estate Transfer Tax. It peaked with a $255 million appropriation in 2008 but many times in recent years it has also lost millions in unspent balances that were swept out of the EPF to pay for other line items in the state budget.
The Environmental Protection Fund has been the cornerstone of progressive, job-creating environmental projects in every corner of New York State for 15 years. It has provided for the protection of thousands of acres of farmland, clean water initiatives, increased recycling, and protected more than a million acres of the state’s spectacular open spaces, from the High Peaks of the Adirondacks to the Hudson Valley.
The results of studies like “Many Voices One Valley” show over and over that New York residents support a healthy environment and rank open space alongside priority issues like education, health and housing. We hope that state leaders will keep New Yorkers’ wishes in mind in future budget discussions.