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Hochuls environment budget is the largest yet, but advocates push to increase it.

Hochuls environment budget is the largest yet, but advocates push to increase it.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced last week a $216 billion executive budget to New York for the 2023 fiscal year. It included significant investments in climate change. Hochul’s budget is supported and supported by environmentalists, who believe that billions of dollars dedicated to combating climate change should be a key focus for the future of the state. Others and state legislators agree that $15 billion more is necessary.

One of the proposals is a $4Billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act. The environmental bond fund will help to revive natural habitats, reduce flood risks and conserve open spaces. It will also protect water resources and invest into pollution mitigation.

We are very excited about the bond act, stated Julie Tighe (president of the New York League of Conservation Voters). It is the most significant Environmental Bond Act we have ever had in New York. We last had one in 1996. It’s time to make major investments in the environment and combating climate change.

Tighe stated that the 1996 bond act budgeted just more than $1.75 billion. Hochuls budget includes:

  • Environmental Bond Act: $4 billion
  • 500 million investment in ports, manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure for offshore winds
  • 500 million for water infrastructure
  • $400 million for the annual environment protection fund, which represents a $100 million increase
  • $200 million for state park

Tighe stated, “We want to make sure people know that moving to a green economic system isn’t just beneficial for the environment. It’s also good to our communities and good for our pockets. It’s also good to ensure that people have decent green jobs.”
New York Renews, a coalition made up of over 100 environmental groups and clean energy groups, believes $15Billion is needed to commit to climate justice.

Maritza SilvaFarrell is the executive director of ALIGN. This group focuses on equity and environmental justice. We believe the $15billion is the starting point for this year’s budget and will lead us to a renewable energy economy. It will create thousands of green jobs and resilient infrastructure.

Jo Ann Simon of Brooklyn Heights, a member of the State Assembly, stated that Hochuls’ proposed budget doesn’t invest enough to address climate justice, emission reduction, and green job creation. This is despite the fact that Hochuls proposed budget includes $500 million for offshore wind development in waters near Long Island’s south shore and port infrastructure to make wind turbines in Brooklyn, and Albany.

Simon said that although the governor’s proposal includes climate investment that has never been done before it’s not enough. Simon also stated that it does not give us the buffer or the reservoir of resources we will need to make an impact.

Hochuls proposal also includes policy changes that could have an impact on how money is spent.

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She wants the state’s school buses to be 100% electric by 2035. All new purchases will have to be electric beginning in 2027. The budget would also establish the goal of electrifying all state vehicles with zero-emission vehicles within the next ten years.

Hochul promotes producer responsibility legislation in paper and packaging products. It also restricts PFAS chemical and other toxic substances in packaging.

She supports the Second Avenue subway extension, East Side Access, the LIRRs Third Track, as well other MTA projects to make it easier for New Yorkers to get around the city without cars.

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