Unhappy news to banish the lingering Earth Hour glow from your cheeks: New York State is hemorrhaging environmental conservation jobs, and funding. Governor Paterson’s “winter of reckoning” (not altogether a bad idea, as Albany bears an $8.2 billion deficit) is hitting the environmental sector hard, and 2010-2011 looks to be a very bleak season for those who work in conservation.
From a little piece by Roger Downs, Chapter Conservation Program Manager, in this spring’s Sierra Atlantic newsletter:
“While there are concessions that every sector of our state must make in times of fiscal crisis, the environment takes a disproportionately cruel hit in the governor’s deficit reduction proposal.”
According to the Sierra Club newsletter, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will see 34% of its operating budget slashed – a cut so big that it’ll dip far beyond fringe programs and initiatives, and into “basic programs.” New York’s total budget for this year is up by 0.6%, but environment programs’ budgets are down by 27.5%. And environmental agencies at large will absorb 43% of all state work force staff cuts (though they only represent 3.3% of the state work force to begin with) – or the loss of about 677 green jobs.