A report by the New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, outlines the state of Environmental Funding in New York State and highlights the impact of low budgets and decreased staffing at the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
“Created in 1970, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is responsible for most of the State’s programs to protect wildlife, natural resources and environmental quality. DEC programs range widely from managing fish and game populations and overseeing the extraction of natural resources to monitoring the discharge of pollutants and hazardous materials and cleaning up contaminated sites. These services are integral to New Yorkers’ public health and general well-being, and to the State’s economy.”
Over the past decade, the scope of DEC’s mandates have increased while staff has declined by over 300 (10.4%) and overall environmental funding remains flat and is expected to decline over the next three years, all while New York raids the dedicated environmental funds to provide budget relief elsewhere.
“The combination of increased responsibilities, reduced staffing, and ongoing fiscal pressure raises questions regarding the DEC’s capacity to carry out its critical functions.”
The report is intended to assist State policy makers and the public in assessing these critical issues.