For Immediate Release: April 1, 2019
Despite Budget Water Spending, Drinking Water of Millions of New Yorkers Remains at Risk
The 2019-2020 New York State budget 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 NY.
“While $500 million announced in the budget is an appreciated down payment to fix our pipes, this funding only makes a dent in the state’s $80 billion water infrastructure need. The drinking water of millions of New Yorkers remains at risk until we invest more.
As the ink dries on the budget, Environmental Advocates won’t be slowing down. We urge the Governor to provide specificity for the $500 million in new allocations in the Clean Water Infrastructure Act. We will also continue to work side-by-side with state leaders and our local community and labor partners for the multi-billion dollar clean water investment necessary to keep businesses running, create good-paying jobs, and protect public health.”
Lead Service Line Replacement Program
The Lead Service Line Replacement Program receives at least a $40 million boost in the 2019-2020 state budget. The following statement in response can be attributed to Robert Hayes, Clean Water Associate for Environmental Advocates NY:
“We commend the Legislature and the Governor for listening to the labor, local government, and environmental justice organizations who raised their voices on the acute health impacts of lead in drinking water and the need for more funding.
Our goal at Environmental Advocates is a lead-free New York, and we will continue to fight for increased funding until these dangerous pipes no longer threaten the health of our most vulnerable residents.”
Congestion Pricing Plan a Boon to NY¹s Environment
The 2019-2020 New York State budget includes a congestion pricing plan that will help invest in the state’s mass transit system. The following statement in response can be attributed to Conor Bambrick, air and energy director for Environmental Advocates NY.
“Congestion pricing is welcome news for everyone who enjoys breathing clean air. Exhaust from tailpipes is New York’s largest source of climate pollution–congestion pricing will help this by removing tailpipes from the road and providing the resources necessary to invest in New York’s mass transit.”
NYS Budget a Mixed Bag on Waste Issues
The 2019-2020 New York State budget includes a ban on plastic bags and a program to reduce food waste. An expanded bottle redemption plan was not included in the budget. The following statement in response can be attributed to Kate Kurera, Deputy Director for Environmental Advocates NY.
“The solid waste and plastic pollution crisis is certainly on the minds of New Yorkers. We are glad to see our political leaders take up the charge to help reduce food waste, litter, and improve recycling. This year’s budget agreement starts us on an important path, but misses some key opportunities to demonstrate environmental leadership.
A statewide ban on plastic bags will certainly reduce plastic waste in New York and is a positive step forward. However, exemptions to restaurant and take-out establishments and the 5-cent fee opt-in provision for cities and counties, is not the gold standard approach and will leave the state with a patchwork of local programs.
And while disappointed that the budget does not take steps to further expansion of New York’s Bottle Bill, we are optimistic that this issue will remain front and center. We look forward to achieving the real environmental and curbside recycling benefits obtained by including glass containers—like wine, cider, and liquor— into the deposit framework.”
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
The 2019-2020 New York State budget diverts $23 million of clean energy funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to pay for tax credits that would otherwise be supported by the General Fund. The following statement in response can be attributed to Conor Bambrick, air and energy director for Environmental Advocates NY. For more information on Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), see Environmental Advocates NY’s report RGGI At A Crossroads.
“It is disappointing that the state budget again includes a raid on clean energy funds. New York needs to be directing these funds to lower income and environmental justice communities that are disproportionately burdened by the impacts of climate change and fossil fuel derived pollution—not paying for tax credits.”
Environmental Protection Fund a Positive Step in This Year¹s NYS Budget
The 2019-2020 New York State budget does not include the Governor’s raid on the state Environmental Protection Fund that would have gone to pay for agency staff and operations. The following statement in response can be attributed to Peter M. Iwanowicz, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates NY.
“We are glad that this budget agreement maintains the integrity of New York’s vital Environmental Protection Fund. New Yorkers should cheer that the EPF has $300M to dedicate to important programs that provide cleaner air, cleaner water, and healthier communities for people and wildlife.”