After another protracted budget session in the New York State Legislature, we are happy to say that this year’s budget has delivered for the environment. Some of the biggest wins to come out of the 2022-2023 budget negotiations are the $4.2 Billion in the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022, often referred to in Albany as the “Environmental Bond Act,” along with major wins in Wetland Protection, Electrification of School Bus Fleets and an extension in the Brownfield Cleanup program. While we were successful in including these major initiatives, there is still a lot of work to be done in the remaining weeks of the legislative calendar.
The budget reinforces New York State’s commitment to environmental justice with the inclusion of major investments in environmental protection. Starting with $1.2 Billion added to the Environmental Bond Act, raising the total to $4.2 billion, additional funding in the budget includes $400 million for the Environmental Protection Fund, $500 million investment to develop the State’s offshore wind supply chains and port infrastructure, and $500 million for Clean Water Infrastructure. Additionally the budget includes $500 million allocated in the Environmental Bond Act for schools to purchase electric vehicles.
This funding will allow New York to reach the targets set under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) of reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 and no less than 85% by 2050 from 1990 levels.
Governor Hochul and the legislature also delivered on Wetland Protections, expanding the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s ability to require permits for activities that impact wetlands larger than 7.4 acres along with smaller wetlands of “unusual importance,” and made access to wetland maps educational instead of jurisdictional. Another win is the 10 year expansion of the Brownfield CleanUp program.
While this budget was a move in the right direction, the New York League of Conservation Voters is disappointed that the legislature did not include legislation on extended producer responsibility or clean buildings, but we will continue to work with them to get this done in the post-budget session. Additionally, we are also disappointed with the implementation of a Gas Tax Holiday, a suspension that on the surface appears to help everyday New Yorkers, but fails to address the core issue of New York needing to advance the transition towards more sustainable forms of transportation.
We look forward to getting back to Albany and continuing the fight for creating a more healthy and sustainable future!
By Andrew Williams