By: Chelsea Siegal | ABC News 10
NEW YORK STATE (NEWS10) – More than 175 groups launched a new coalition, New Yorkers for Clean Water & Jobs, to protect funding for critical environmental programs. These programs support jobs and local New York economies, protect clean drinking water, create parks, advance environmental justice, and mitigate the intensifying climate crisis.
These state programs include:
- Environmental Protection Fund (EPF): The EPF supports 350,000 jobs across the state and approximately $40 billion in economic activity each year. The program has a strong track record in preventing pollution, improving water quality, protecting family farms, and expanding parks, trails, gardens, and zoos across the state.
- Clean Water Infrastructure Act: New York’s drinking water and wastewater systems require billions of dollars in upgrades to ensure communities have safe drinking water. To date, the State has provided $3.9 billion for water infrastructure programs, including the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, and Gov. Cuomo committed an additional $1.5 billion over the next three years as part of the FY19 budget for a total commitment of $5.4 billion. This program is a job generator, with every $1 million in state investment resulting in 17 local jobs.
- NY Parks 2020 and DEC Capital Funding: Over the last 10 years, Parks 2020 has funded $1 billion in upgrades to NY’s world-class state parks system. According to Parks 2020, every dollar invested in state parks generates $5 of economic activity. Likewise, the DEC NY Works Program has improved public recreation opportunities throughout the state and ensured the agency can address pollution that threatens both public health and natural resources.
- Over the course of the program, $228 million of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative funds (17% of total funding) have been transferred by NYSERDA to the state General Fund, which could deprive New Yorkers of funding that could lower energy bills and create jobs.
The coalition is also calling for the reinstallation of the Environmental Bond Act on the ballot. If put back on the ballot and passed by voters, the coalition says the Environmental Bond Act would dedicate $3 billion to create jobs, protect clean water, modernize outdated water infrastructure, and address climate change.
The group is also advocating for federal aid for New York as the state grapples with a budget deficit bought on by the pandemic.