(Albany, NY) – Last Friday and Saturday the State Legislature passed finalized budget language detailing environmental initiatives for the 2022-2023 Fiscal Year. The proposal offers significant funding for key programs to fight against climate change and preserve New York’s environment.
Among the big-ticket items included in the final plan is a $4.2 billion Bond Act proposal and $400 million for the Environmental Protection Fund, dollars that will go a long way to financing crucial water quality projects and initiatives for habitat restoration, open space conservation and flood risk reduction.
“This budget once again represents record resources for important environmental programs,” said Assemblymember Kevin A. Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess). “They serve as critical investments in New York’s ability to preserve and protect our communities and help us continue our national leadership in addressing the reality of climate change as it bears down upon us in the form of increasingly extreme weather.”
The fiscal plan strengthens safeguards for fragile wetlands, giving the Department of Environmental Conservation a broader mandate to conserve dwindling habitats, which will better protect our homes and businesses by mitigating the impacts of severe flooding. Other proposals will extend and introduce significant incentives for New Yorkers to convert to green biofuel and geothermal systems and install infrastructure for charging electric vehicles.
The package was certainly not without gaps in environmental policy and funding. The legislature and governor have yet to address our aging and increasingly ineffective bottle deposit laws or require a full accounting of the tax breaks handed out to fossil fuel polluters. Also remaining to be done is putting more teeth behind our landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act by placing a fee on carbon pollution paid by those who create it. Assemblymember Cahill has specific proposals to accomplish each of those important goals.
“While I am disappointed that the budget did not include these crucial pieces of environmental legislation, the investment it otherwise represents is significant. I will continue to work with my colleagues to improve incentives for the recycling of beverage containers, prevent billions of taxpayers’ dollars from flowing into the pockets of fossil fuel companies and put in place the tools we need to continue to do our part to save our endangered planet.”