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Groups warn state's environmental fund could be 'raided' under Cuomo budget

Environmental group leaders criticized Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's 2019-20 budget proposal because they say it would allow money from the $300 million state Environmental Protection Fund to be redirected to cover state agencies' costs.

“New York’s great legacy of national leadership on environmental funding is threatened by language that explicitly allows the EPF to be raided to offload agency staffing costs,” said Jessica Ottney Mahar, policy director for the Nature Conservancy.

The Environmental Protection Fund provides funding for open space preservation, waste reduction, green infrastructure and water quality improvements, said Julie Tighe, the president of the New York League of Conservation Voters.

"Offloading part of the EPF for personnel costs is an unacceptable financial gimmick," Tighe said.

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