Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget demonstrates her commitment to fighting climate change through actions such as decarbonizing buildings and increasing renewable energy transmission capacity. Unfortunately, it also represents a step backward in the state’s commitment to funding clean water infrastructure and other capital projects critical to protecting the environment and public health.
We applaud the governor’s proposal for the Affordable Gas Transition Act, which aligns closely with the NY HEAT Act, one of our top priorities.
We are also pleased with the Governor’s proposal to streamline the siting process for transmission lines, which will help ensure we have the infrastructure in place to deliver clean energy to every corner of the state.
While we understand the financial challenges the state is facing, clean water should not be used as a fiscal scapegoat. We do not accept a glass half full when it comes to funding for clean water infrastructure grants. Cutting $250 million per year for two years will do little to make the state whole financially, but it will slow our ability to replace lead service lines, tackle emerging contaminants and ensure our waterways are safe and swimmable, while jeopardizing public health, the environment and the jobs created by infrastructure projects to fix our pipes and deliver safe drinking water to our families.
Similarly, allowing up to $25 million from the Environmental Protection Fund to be raided for agency staffing is a dangerous precedent that amounts to a cut for environmental protection and climate mitigation projects in the near term and all but ensuring the EPF will be used as a bargaining chip in years to come. We strongly oppose this approach.
As we work with the governor and state legislature toward a final budget, we will push hard for policies to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in every corner of the economy while shoring up our renewable energy production and transmission capacity. At the same time, we will work to ensure the Clean Water Infrastructure Act and the EPF receive full funding so they can function as intended.