DiNapoli audit finds state air pollution program severely underfunded and facing $70 million deficit
Added 08-17-19 04:25:02am EST - “A Department of Conservation program that collects fees and issues permits to the state's major air polluters is seeing its revenue decline faster than its expenses, leading to annual deficits topping $70 million, according to an…” - Nydailynews.com
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A Department of Conservation program that collects fees and issues permits to the state’s major air polluters is seeing its revenue decline quicker than its expenses, leading to annual deficits that topped $70 million in 2017, according to an audit conducted by Controller Thomas DiNapoli.
The probe found that the program, meant to be self-sustaining based on fees collected, wound up borrowing from the state’s short-term investment pool and reallocating almost $50.4 million in expenses primarily from its general fund appropriations.
“New Yorkers rely on the Department of Environmental Conservation to control pollution and keep our air clean," DiNapoli said. “My auditors found that this important program regulating industrial pollution is running a deficit, forcing the agency to spend money that should be going to other priorities.”
Revenues fell 38.8% during the audit period, from 2009 to 2017, while expenses only fell 10.8% during the same time, DiNapoli found.
The good news is that New York’s air quality may be better off despite the program’s shortfalls. The deficit is in part due to a drop in the number of regulated facilities, from 468 to 380, and overall emissions fell 54.4%.
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