Environmental Advocates of New York Responds to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget Proposal

For Immediate Release: January 23, 2020

Environmental Advocates of New York Responds to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget Proposal

Governor Cuomo’s 2020-2021 budget proposal includes $500 million in new funding for water infrastructure projects. The following statement in response can be attributed to Maureen Cunningham, Senior Director for Clean Water for Environmental Advocates of New York:

"We applaud the continued investment of $500 million in clean water funding. However, $500 million isn't nearly enough to clear the backlog of shovel-ready water infrastructure projects across New York. The need in New York State is $80 billion to fix our pipes. At a time when our drinking water systems face increased costs from aging infrastructure and new threats from emerging contaminants like PFAS chemicals, we need to do better in order to protect our water for future generations.

Water infrastructure funding is an investment with tangible benefits today, as well as in the future. New York's water infrastructure grants created 20,000 jobs in 2019 alone, and each public dollar spent on water infrastructure yields $2.62 in economic output in other industries. Preventing sewage overflows and water main breaks makes both environmental and economic sense. That’s why we are calling on the State Legislature to double the Governor's proposal and invest at least $1 billion in new Clean Water Infrastructure Act funding this year.”

For more information about water infrastructure spending see Environmental Advocates of New York’s report Untapped Potential: Water Infrastructure Spending in New York.

Governor Cuomo’s 2020-2021 budget proposal lacks a dedicated climate fund and fails to fully align with New York’s climate priorities. The proposal also diverts $28 million of clean energy funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The following statement in response can be attributed to Conor Bambrick, Director of Climate Policy for Environmental Advocates of New York:

“Six months ago, Governor Cuomo signed the nation’s most aggressive climate legislation, promising that New York would ‘lead the way forward’ and ‘set a new standard.’ Many of the measures in the Governor’s budget are commendable—including an effort to electrify more public transit buses across the state and a recognition that more has to be done to get renewable energy projects off the ground—but this budget proposal falls short of fully aligning with New York’s stated climate priorities because of what is missing. 

Absent is a dedicated climate fund that would jumpstart building the infrastructure necessary for the clean energy economy and immediately start delivering resources to help communities and the state’s workforce transition off fossil fuels. We believe a $1 billion investment is a necessary first step, but much more is going to be needed to get to a level that truly matches the urgency of the climate crisis.

Also, once again the Governor’s proposed budget includes a raid on clean energy funds received through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). These funds need to be going to frontline communities struggling with the effects of climate change, not used to prop up general spending.”

For more information on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), see Environmental Advocates of New York’s report RGGI At A Crossroads.

Read our full budget testimony here.

###