Protecting the Environment and Securing Our Energy Future
New York State boasts some of the most magnificent natural resources, vistas, lakes, rivers and landscapes. The Adirondack Park is a world-class tourism destination for recreational opportunities with breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife. The Finger Lakes host pristine waters and expansive rolling hills with charming wineries. Long Island boasts stunning beaches and Western New York, majestic waterfalls. It is vital that we commit to a greener future to preserve these natural beauties for our children and grandchildren.
Throughout his tenure, Governor Cuomo has underscored his vision to promote responsible stewardship of our natural resources, creating a cleaner and healthier environment, improving our resiliency against extreme weather, accelerating robust growth in the clean energy economy, and improving energy affordability.
Lowering New York’s Carbon Footprint through Clean Energy
Governor Cuomo has made New York into a national leader in promoting a greener environment through clean energy initiatives. He led a multi-state effort to lower carbon emissions by 45 percent through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which also provided $340 over the past three years for clean energy measures, including $100 million to encourage community-driven smart growth and sustainability plans. Likewise, under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, state facilities will lower their energy use by 20 percent, saving taxpayers $50-60 million per year and avoiding as much as 180,000 tons in greenhouse gas emissions annually.
Governor Cuomo also championed a landmark investment in the clean energy economy by launching a $1 billion NY Green Bank to stimulate private sector financing and to facilitate the financing of creditworthy clean-energy projects in New York State. In addition, the Governor guided another $1 billion through the NY-Sun initiative to promote the wide scale deployment of solar projects throughout the state.
To encourage residents to undertake clean energy projects in their homes, Governor Cuomo signed into law an “on bill recovery” program that allows New Yorkers to pay back the cost of their projects through payments on their utility bills.
Modernizing our Electric Transmission and Generation
In order for New York to compete on a national and international economic level, we must have an energy infrastructure that provides reliable power at competitive prices. The Governor’s Energy Highway Blueprint aims to build a modern, efficient, and environmentally sustainable energy system that will be the core of New York State’s long-term economic revitalization. It will address bottlenecks that currently cost consumers $600 in higher electric bills and encourage the growth of clean energy development by connecting renewable energy projects with the grid. The Energy Highway Blueprint also provides millions in funding to make our power grid more reliable and resilient against severe weather and help prevent power outages.
Stewardship of our Natural Resources
New York State boasts some of the most stunning forests, waters, mountains and landscapes, making it a world-class tourism destination. It is critical that New York safeguard the health and wellness of our communities and preserve these natural resources for the generations to come.
Underscoring his commitment to protecting open space, conservation and wildlife preservation, Governor Cuomo has during his tenure secured $583 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), increasing it 17 percent from the year he took office. The EPF is the state’s core funding source for projects such as: purchasing land for the state Forest Preserve, restoring historic sites, conserving farmland, restoring habitats, boosting recycling programs, supporting the stewardship of public lands for managing trails and lands, protecting natural resources, and preserving wildlife habitats.
Promoting Recreational Opportunities that Improve Communities and Support Tourism Growth
The Governor’s commitment to purchase 69,000 acres of former Finch Pruyn lands and other properties represented the largest addition to the State Forest Preserve in the Adirondack Park in more than a century. In February of this year, the Governor approved the classification of key tracts, including the Essex Chain of Lakes, OK Slip Falls and miles of wild upper Hudson River, ensuring their continued protection. These land acquisitions balance the need to protect the Park’s priceless natural resources for future generations with efforts to expand tourism opportunities and provide additional recreational access that will benefit local communities and grow local economies.
In line with these efforts, Governor Cuomo hosted the first ever Adirondack Challenge to bolster tourism in the region, drawing international attention to the natural wonders of our great state.
New York’s park system attracts millions of visitors every year and greatly enhances the quality of life in our communities. Governor Cuomo has invested more than $300 million to restore our parks and historic places, including a bold redesign of Jones Beach and Niagara Falls. Under his leadership, the State has inaugurated two new state parks – Four Freedoms on Roosevelt Island and Buffalo Harbor State Park — and launched “I LOVE MY PARK DAY,” an annual volunteer event that invites thousands of New Yorkers to dozens of parks around the state for a day of cleaning, repair, and stewardship.
Building on his commitment to promote tourism across the state, in 2013 Governor Cuomo launched the NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen. Under this initiative, hunting and fishing licensing has been streamlined and fees reduced, and dozens of new and improved sites have been provided for access to fishing, hunting, hiking and wildlife observation. Additionally, fishing clinics have been expanded, millions of dollars have been provided in funding for upgrades and improvements to fish hatcheries, and a reauthorization of crossbow hunting. Governor Cuomo also introduced the “Adventure Series” to transform a driver’s license into an Adventure License by allowing sportsmen and women with lifetime licenses, as well as individuals holding Parks-issued Lifetime Empire Passports and those with Boater Safety Certificates, the convenience of having icons on their drivers licenses, rather than carrying separate hunting and fishing licenses.