New York Voters Say Yes to the Environment!

New York voters turned out on Election Day to deliver a resounding victory for the environment! Voters approved Proposition 1, the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, and they elected environmental champions up and down the ballot, led by our great, green statewide trifecta of Governor Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James, and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

By overwhelmingly passing the largest Environmental Bond Act in the state’s history, New York will now have the resources in place to pay for projects that safeguard clean drinking water, mitigate the impact of climate change, and conserve natural resources, all while creating family-sustaining green jobs. 

Importantly, it does all this while delivering environmental justice to communities who are on the front lines of the climate crisis and for too long have paid the steepest price for poor environmental policies. 

Of the 147 candidates endorsed by the New York League of Conservation Voters for Congress or the New York State legislature, 120 won their election and, as of this writing, another 3 are ahead in races, although they are officially still too close to call. It is clear, however, that the League is on track for a record breaking number of endorsed candidate victories. We are encouraged by the many new environmentally-friendly elected officials headed to Albany, who we expect to make up a strong pro-environment caucus in the assembly and senate.

Among the many winners, all of which can be viewed here, were the following environmental champions: 

Dan Goldman (NY-10), Pat Ryan (NY-18), Monica Martinez (SD-4), Iwen Chu (SD-17), Jessica Scarcella-Spanton (SD-23), Nathalia Fernandez (SD-34), *James Skoufis (SD-42), *Lea Webb (SD-52), Chris Eachus (AD-4), Gina Sillitti (AD-16), Ron Kim (AD-40), Grace Lee (AD-65), Alex Bores (AD-73), Tony Simone (AD-75), Amy Paulin (AD-88), Nader Sayegh (AD-90), MaryJane Shimsky (AD-92), Chris Burdick (AD-93), Matthew Slater (AD-94), Dana Levenberg (AD-95), Anil Beephan (AD-105), and Scott Gray (AD-116).

[* Indicates the candidate is ahead, but the race has not yet been officially called.]

Elected officials will now have an unprecedented opportunity to set New York’s environmental agenda. The Environmental Bond Act was not only the state’s largest ever, but the largest in the country this election. And the $4.2 billion is just part of the funding that New York will be able to use for its environmental projects, as the state will also be eligible to receive matching federal funds through the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

This all comes at a crucial time as the nation and the world come to terms with worsening climate news. A draft report by the National Climate Assessment, produced by U.S. federal agencies, warns of a “far-reaching and worsening” impact of climate change, The New York Times reported. “The things Americans value most are at risk. More intense extreme events and long-term climate changes make it harder to maintain safe homes and healthy families, reliable public services, a sustainable economy, thriving ecosystems and strong communities.” 

But the report indicates some states are taking positive steps to thwart the worsening impact. That’s certainly the case in New York. And the impact of these victories goes well beyond our state borders: we have sent an unmistakable message to the country and the world that when the environmental and labor movements work together on environmental issues, they can make a difference, and when it comes to choosing bold environmental leaders and green investments, New York voters are second to none!

Article updated on November 14, at 3 pm, to reflect new information.

11.09.22 // AUTHOR: Devin Callahan //