FORT MONTGOMERY, NY — Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring, announced bipartisan legislation Friday that would reauthorize a conservation act to protect wildlife and support clean water across the region.
During a news conference at the Fort Montgomery State Historic Site, Maloney said the Highlands Conservation Act would also supply hundreds of local jobs, promote tourism and preserve historic sites.
Similar legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, along with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, and Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania.
Maloney said reauthorizing and improving the Highlands Conservation Act was key to ensuring the state has the ability to protect the environment and drinking water while creating jobs by promoting tourism and recreational attractions in the Hudson Valley.
“We are stewards of the Hudson Valley’s environment, and it’s our job to preserve New York’s great outdoors for our kids and grandkids to enjoy for generations to come,” he said.
The act is funded through the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and protects critical conservation areas in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, according to a spokesperson.
The Highlands is a nationally significant landscape that yields benefits and resources to more than 11 million Americans.
Since 2007, $70 million in funding has been awarded through the act’s grant program to the four states, including $20 million to New York. The program has helped preserve nearly 11,000 acres in the Highlands region, including more than 4,000 in New York alone.
Among the groups that support the legislation are the Appalachian Mountain Club, Housatonic Valley Association, Scenic Hudson and the Putnam County Land Trust.
Ned Sullivan, president of Scenic Hudson, said his organization was grateful to have Maloney as an ally in Congress.
“Our beautiful Highlands Region is essential to the well-being and prosperity of the Hudson Valley, which is why we must do everything we can to protect it,” he said.