Highlands effort needs full funding

By Mary Yrizarry Tuxedo

(Letter published in Journal News: September 3, 2006)

Thanks to The Journal News for the Aug. 20 article discussing the activities of the Highlands Environmental Research Institute, which provides scientific support for environmental sustainability.

One of the other tools supporting environmental sustainability is the Highlands Conservation Act of 2004, supported by President Bush, which authorized $10 million per year for 10 years to be distributed among the four states covered by this green belt of mountains for public land acquisition.

To date, in the wrangling currently under way in Congress, of the paltry $2 million suggested in the president's budget for next year only about $1 million has survived in the House.

In our own back yard alone there are two critical projects connected to Sterling Forest that require several million dollars to acquire. Time is running out fast.

We urge Reps. Sue Kelly, Maurice Hinchey and all of New York state's congressional delegation to press for full funding of the Highlands Conservation Act before our precious water resources and wildlife treasures fall into developers' hands.