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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Aubertine opposes cuts to EPF

Posted by Debbie Groom/The Post-Standard February 17, 2009 3:43AM
State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine is urging Gov. David Paterson not to cut the Environmental Protection Fund allocations for programs designed to help farmers protect land from development and comply with environmental regulations to keep water clean.
"These programs not only help farmers protect the environment, they benefit farmers and our economy," Aubertine said. "We cannot continue to dip into the Environmental Protection Fund to balance our budget."
The senator wrote a letter to Paterson asking for his "support and leadership" in protecting EPF funding, especially for the Farmland Protection Program and Agriculture Nonpoint Source Program.
The proposed 2009-10 Executive Budget proposes reducing EPF funding available for farmers to permanently protect their farmland from development to just $17.5 million. With 181 applications to protect 49,000 acres of farmland at a cost of close to $159 million in 2008, funding at this level would prevent approval of roughly 90 percent of these applications.
The budget proposal also calls for a $500,000 reduction in funding for the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Program (and associated Agricultural Environmental Management program), which provides money and technical assistance to help farmers adopt environmentally sound farm practices.