Statement from New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe:
“This year’s budget is a tremendous achievement for climate action. The budget provides vital funding for the environment starting with the $4.2 billion Clean Air, Clean Water, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act that will invest in programs that improve water quality, create good-paying green jobs, make our communities more resilient from flooding and heat, reduce emissions, and prioritize disadvantaged communities. We applaud the inclusion of an all-electric school buses by 2035 mandate coupled with $500 million in funding for this initiative from the Bond Act; this first-in-the-nation commitment is a huge win for children, educators, and families in communities across the state. This year’s budget includes the largest expansion of wetlands protection in a generation, protecting more than 1 million acres of vulnerable wetlands. The budget also includes $500 million for water infrastructure and $500 million for offshore wind supply chain development, as well as tax credits for up to 25% of the cost of installing an efficient geothermal heating system.
We thank Governor Hochul; Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins; Speaker Heastie; Senators Todd Kaminsky, Pete Harckham, and Tim Kennedy; and Assemblymembers Steve Englebright, Patricia Fahy, and Michael Benedetto and many others for their leadership and investing in a green future.
However, this is also a wake up call that critical advocacy work is still needed for New York to achieve a full-fledged green recovery. We are disappointed that the budget agreement did not tackle critical policies needed to fight climate change and achieve zero waste such as extended producer responsibility legislation for packaging, a clean fuel standard to reduce transportation emissions and accelerate the transition to a clean transportation future, and a building decarbonization plan. These are critical policies that are needed for New York to reach the goals set in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. NYLCV will continue to advocate for these priorities through the end of the legislative session, and lawmakers can expect to see bills tackling these issues on our 2022 legislative scorecard.
Finally, we are disappointed to see a gas tax holiday that extends until the end of 2022. While we are sympathetic to the pain high gas prices are causing and grateful that the State has committed to fully making up any funding shortfalls to the MTA, this is a shortsighted policy. Instead, we need to advance policies like a clean fuel standard that will encourage our transition away from fossil fuels, end our reliance on the volatile fossil fuels market, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmful co-pollutants.”
Statement from New York League of Conservation Voters Policy Director Patrick McClellan:
“We applaud Governor Hochul and the New York State Senate and Assembly for extending the Brownfield Cleanup Program by 10 years and increasing funding for the Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program. We are particularly excited to see the addition of renewable energy projects to the list of credit-eligible project types. Thank you to Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Tim Kennedy for their leadership on this issue.”