ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins proposed to increase environmental spending in several categories that would benefit the clean water, healthy forests and small communities of the Adirondacks.

The Assembly budget bill increased the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) from $300 million to $400 million. The EPF funds the state’s top conservation projects. 

On Monday, the Adirondack Council released a statement thanking the two lawmakers.

“We are pleased to see that both houses recognized the need to better manage the crowds of visitors pouring into the Adirondack Park,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William Janeway. “Both included money to help state and local officials redirect traffic to the most resilient locations and offer better protection to sensitive sites, while continuing to provide fair and equitable access to millions of visitors a year.” 

In addition to the funding from the EPF, the assembly plan is also including $9 million for Forest Preserve stewardship, $800,000 for Essex County to help with overuse of the Forest Preserve, and $400,000 to the Adirondack Research Consortium to create a plan for controlling overuse in the High Peaks region and other popular areas of the Forest Preserve. 

Janeway says Adirondack communities would continue to benefit from the Assembly’s $500-million addition clean water. This addition is for sewer and sewage treatment plant construction and improvements, source water protection and drinking water purity programs. Because of previous rounds of this funding, Adirondack taxpayers have received more than $58 million in state assistance to protect local waters from improperly treated sewage.

Additionally, the Senate revived a $3-billion Clean Water and Jobs Bond Act for overuse of the Forest Preserve and the state’s compliance with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.