- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $141.6 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes $172 million for the Environmental Protection Fund, a $10 million increase over last year.

The fund is used for clean water projects, parks, land purchases, farmland preservation and a broad range of other environmental programs. The fund once stood at $255 million.

Cuomo also wants to create a $50 million farmland preservation fund, with $20 million dedicated to the Hudson Valley and $30 million aimed at strengthening the Southern Tier’s agriculture industry.

Cuomo proposed a $20 million clean energy competition. The money would be invested in companies that locate in the Southern Tier, where many landowners and labor groups had hoped to profit from shale gas development before Cuomo announced last month that he’ll ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

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