Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Scenic Hudson urgent request to protest cuts to land conservation

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Dear Peter,
We need your help. The word from Albany is that Gov. Paterson and NY State lawmakers are proposing placing a moratorium on all state funding for land protection and acquisition. The portion of the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) dedicated to direct land protection already is less than 1/1,000th of the overall state budget -- and now they're proposing bringing it all the way down to ZERO.
We understand that NY is facing a budget crisis, but eliminating all state land preservation would be a dreadful mistake. Here are three reasons why:
1. Developers are gearing up for a post-recession wave of buildingBuilders are using their current downtime to plan and seek approvals for the next wave of residential construction. The latest estimates suggest that 100,000 new housing units have already been proposed for the Hudson Valley, many of which will eliminate farmland and mar the iconic views that have made the valley a world-famous attraction.
2. Depressed real estate prices are creating great conservation opportunitiesGiven a choice, many property owners would prefer to see their land conserved than sell it to a developer-especially in this economy, when buyers of any kind are scarce. By placing a moratorium on land purchases now, New York is turning away from some unprecedented land protection bargains.
3. State land protection programs are a proven winnerUnlike many aspects of state government, the program that makes EPF funds available for land protection projects is highly efficient. This small part of the state budget brings big benefits to New Yorkers with very little waste. Let's not mess it up!
As most of you know, the governor and lawmakers have already robbed the EPF of half a billion dollars -- this year's EPF has been reduced by nearly 25 percent from funding levels passed into law in 2007. Don't let our lawmakers cut it further by enacting this wrong-headed moratorium. Please visit this page to send them a letter today.
Ned Sullivan President
P.S. I know this is a busy time of year, but sending this letter is really important. Thanks for all that you do.

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