New York Passes a Pro-Environment State Budget

New York is on a path to a green recovery. The State Legislature passed a budget last week that makes it clear that the environment is a priority for New York.

The budget includes policies we have been advocating for over many years and included as top priorities in this year’s Policy Agenda

While President Biden and Congress work to pass a historic climate change infrastructure package later this year, policymakers are looking to states like New York for leadership and guidance. We are happy to report that our state is serving as a role model for others to follow. By including billions of dollars of investments in environmental initiatives that will create green jobs, New York is showing that we can fight both our climate crisis and our economic crisis at the same time.

The budget included:

Environmental Bond Act: A $3 billion Environmental Bond Act will invest in programs that improve water quality, create good-paying green jobs, make our communities more resilient, and reduce emissions. It provides funding for key investments in local infrastructure and ecosystem restoration that will help communities across New York prepare for flooding, rising seas, and dangerous extreme heat. The bond act will next go to voters for approval on the ballot in November 2022.

Environmental Protection Fund: The landmark Environmental Protection Fund was fully-funded at $300 million. It provides critical investments in projects to improve and protect water quality, enhance recycling, preserve land, promote recreational opportunities, create green jobs, and fight climate change. 

Protect Clean Water: Building on the 2017 $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act, the budget includes an additional $500 million for protecting clean water across the state. The funding will go toward preventing and addressing contamination, upgrading drinking water systems and filtration plants, upgrading wastewater treatment plants, replacing failing septic systems, improving sewer systems, replacing lead service lines, and preserving land in drinking watersheds.

Expanding Renewable Energy: The budget included legislation that will bring our renewable siting process in line with other types of large-scale energy production. It also included legislation to create a standardized tax model for renewable energy projects. These new policies will encourage more renewable energy projects to get built and streamline their implementation. Finally, the budget included new labor standards for renewable energy projects as well as encouraging a home grown supply chain, ensuring that these projects create good green jobs and reinforce our economic recovery. 

Funding for Parks: The budget includes $110 million to transform the State’s flagship parks and support critical infrastructure projects. The budget also includes $75 million to improve access to State lands and rehabilitate campgrounds.

Investing in Mass Transit: Upstate transit systems will be provided with $20 million for the second installment of a $100 million five-year program to support transit agencies’ transition to electric buses. Under this program, the transit authorities will electrify 100% of their fleets by 2035. The Legislature also protected dedicated MTA funds, ensuring that mass transit gets all of the funding that it is supposed to by law. 

Green Energy Investments: The budget supports $29 billion in green energy investments to create 12,400 megawatts of renewable energy, which will promote economic recovery and help us meet our climate goals. The investments include the largest offshore wind program in the nation, plans to make New York a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse, constructing a green energy transmission superhighway, and a public-private partnership to build 23 solar farms and one hydroelectric facility.

We are disappointed that the budget agreement did not include extended producer responsibility legislation for packaging to reduce waste or a clean fuel standard to reduce emissions from transportation. NYLCV will continue to advocate for these priorities.

We thank the Governor, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie, Senator Todd Kaminsky, Senator Kevin Parker, Assemblyman Steve Englebright, and Assemblyman Michael Cusick for their leadership and investing in a green future.