State Budgeting

About Our Budget Work: With declining fiscal conditions and a looming economic recession, state budget matters and the money dedicated to the agencies responsible for implementing environmental law have taken on new and critical importance. Environmental Advocates of New York’s Fiscal Policy Program looks for innovative ways to ensure the state’s primary environmental agency, the Department of Environmental Conservation, has the resources it needs to effectively implement existing law and protect the health of our air, land and water.

Governor Cuomo was emboldened recently when his raid on federal dollars dedicated for our communities clean water infrastructure was approved by the obscure Public Authorities Control Board (PACB), even as one member who voted yes continued to express criticisms and disapproval.

Why would the agency in charge of funding clean water projects vote unanimously to divert $511 million on hand  to construct a bridge when, by their own admission, we face an over $36 billion shortfall in clean water funding over the next 20 years?

You have made our campaign against Big Oil’s plan to turn NY into a global crude oil transport hub our biggest effort ever! Nearly 3,000 people signed our petition to Governor Cuomo, and just last week we stood with Albany County Executive Dan McCoy

The only way to describe what is taking place in the halls of the Capitol as the Legislature responds to the Governor’s proposed budget is: “breathtaking.” It is a word that gets tossed around a lot when proposed legislation is sweeping, but in this case, I mean it literally.

“The primary contaminant of concern is coal tar, a dark, oily liquid with a powerful and unpleasant odor that migrated to a depth of 34 feet. In some areas, strings of tar were found at a depth of 60 to 70 feet and have spread widely beneath and beyond the site boundaries. The groundwater plume extends approximately 3,800 feet south of the site and is about 600 feet wide. A village public water supply well is located immediately adjacent to the site….”

Municipalities are looking for ways to clean up their neighborhoods, and local governments, especially those located in the former manufacturing cities of upstate New York, are finding a laundry list of vacant industrial sites within their borders that require remediation and revitalization.

Environmental Advocates of New York recently released a report Turning a Blind Eye to Illegal Pollution that, among other environmental permits, details how DEC’s monitoring of air permit holders has become more passive since the agency incurred substantial staffing and resource cuts- most notably, by losing 860 employees since 2008.

The following editorial appeared in the September 12, 2013 issue of City and State.

Unlike years past when Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Dean Skelos and Shelly Silver exchanged high-fives in the Red Room on the last day of session, this year’s silence spoke volumes about the quality of their work together.

On July 16, the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) will vote on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s dangerous plan to raid more than a half billion in public dollars meant for our clean water infrastructure to instead help pay for a new Tappan Zee Bridge. The PACB should reject the proposal and elected representatives should demand that Governor Cuomo finally be forthcoming with how the public will be impacted by his plans.

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