Follows Governor Hochul’s Historic Environmental Investments in the FY 2023 Budget
Read the Proclamation Here
Governor Kathy Hochul today issued a proclamation on Earth Day to round out Earth Week. This follows the Governor’s bold, unprecedented investments in clean energy infrastructure and climate resiliency in the FY 2023 Budget, as well as the Governor’s announcement of $638 million in grants to upgrade water infrastructure across the state. Governor Hochul also announced the approval of contracts to deliver renewable electricity to New York City and a $150 million investment to replace old water and sewer system infrastructure in Mount Vernon, further proving New York State’s commitment to advancing environmental justice for all communities.
“New York is a national leader in the fight against climate change, and this year, we are celebrating Earth Day not just with words, but with actions,” Governor Hochul said. “Investing in offshore wind, climate friendly homes, zero emission school buses, and expanding the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act are just a few ways in which New York is tackling the existential threat of climate change and making our state greener and more sustainable. We must ensure we leave our planet better for our children and their children, and in New York we take that responsibility seriously.”
Governor Hochul issued this proclamation to celebrate Earth Week, the days surrounding the annual Earth Day celebrations on April 22. A full copy of the proclamation can be viewed here.
Earlier this week, Governor Hochul announced the state Environmental Facilities Corporation has awarded $638 million in grants to municipalities and public authorities for 199 water infrastructure projects across the state that protect public health or improve water quality. Nearly $601 million in Water Infrastructure Improvement Act grants and over $37 million in additional federal subsidies will support approximately $1.6 billion in total infrastructure investment. The grants are projected to contribute over 35,000 jobs to New York’s economy and save taxpayers an estimated $1.4 billion. This announcement marked the largest-ever award of Water Infrastructure Improvement Act grants.
The Governor also announced that the State Public Service Commission has approved contracts with Clean Path New York LLC for its Clean Path NY project and H.Q. Energy Services Inc. for its Champlain Hudson Power Express project to deliver clean, renewable solar, wind and hydroelectric power from upstate New York and Canada to New York City. The state’s first-of-its-kind renewable energy and transmission projects are expected to deliver up to $5.8 billion in overall societal benefits statewide, including greenhouse gas reductions and air quality improvements, and $8.2 billion in economic development across the state, including investments in disadvantaged communities.
Governor Hochul also announced a historic $150 million investment and a precedent-setting three-way partnership with Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard and Westchester County Executive George Latimer to immediately advance work to address longstanding water infrastructure and related public health challenges that have plagued the city of Mount Vernon for decades. This announcement included $7 million to immediately launch the ‘Third Street Sewer Project,’ which, when complete, will ensure reliable wastewater service for 500 nearby households currently served by temporary pumps and a makeshift system staged in the street to ensure adequate wastewater collection.
Governor Hochul announced the protection of 1,175 acres of ecologically important forest lands along the Rensselaer Plateau after it was acquired from the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance, which was also a grantee among 51 not-for-profit land trusts receiving more than $3.3 million in State funding announced earlier this week.
Earlier this month, Governor Hochul detailed highlights of the investments and environmental initiatives in the FY 2023 Budget:
Expanded Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act
The Enacted Budget authorizes an additional $1.2 billion, for a total of $4.2 billion, for the landmark Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act. This historic initiative to be taken up by voters later this year, will provide the support New York needs to provide safe water to drink; invest in critical water infrastructure; restore critical environmental habitats; reduce flood risks; preserve our outdoor spaces and local farms; and invest in climate change mitigation and adaptation projects that will reduce air pollution, lower carbon emissions and improve the ability of New York communities to withstand the climate-driven increase in severe weather events and flooding. The Bond Act will also support a substantial investment in the Clean Green Schools initiative that will reach every public school located in a disadvantaged community.
In addition to the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, the Budget provides a record $400 million Environmental Protection Fund to support climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, improve agricultural resources to promote sustainable agriculture, protect our water sources, advance conservation efforts, and provide recreational opportunities for New Yorkers. In addition, $500 million in clean water infrastructure funding is included, bringing the State’s total clean water investment to $4.5 billion since 2017.
The Department of Environmental Conservation’s funding will increase by $15 million. This increase will go towards capital needs to improve state lands, rehabilitate campgrounds, and upgrade its recreational facilities, all as part of the Adventure NY program which connects New Yorkers with nature. This funding will also provide for health and safety repairs to state infrastructure, including dams, wetland restoration, state lands, and fish hatcheries. The enacted Budget also includes an additional $20 million in funding for infrastructure improvements at the state-owned Conklingville Dam.
Consistent with the Governor’s commitment to protecting New York’s natural resources, the Budget includes essential improvements to the State’s wetlands protection program, safeguarding an estimated one million additional acres of unprotected wetlands habitat and helping New York adapt to increased flooding and severe storms fueled by climate change.
The Budget includes an extension and expansion of New York State’s successful Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP), which was set to expire in December 2022. The program is reauthorized for 10 years. The Budget improves the program by incentivizing cleanups in disadvantaged communities. Additionally, the program reaffirms Governor Hochul’s commitment to affordable housing development by expanding the universe of affordable housing programs eligible for BCP property tax credits, providing vital benefits to incentivize the redevelopment of brownfields as much-needed affordable housing. Further, the BCP now encourages the development of certain renewable energy facility sites, with new tax credits, to help focus BCP-driven redevelopment and meet the State’s ambitious climate goals.
Zero Emission School Buses
In order to improve air quality for school-age New Yorkers, the State Budget requires that all new school bus purchases be zero-emissions by 2027 and all school buses on the road be zero-emissions by 2035. The State Budget will provide $500 million through the Environmental Bond Act to support school districts in purchases of zero-emission buses and related charging infrastructure including charging stations. Additionally, the State Budget authorizes school districts to lease or finance zero-emission buses for 12 years, more than double the current five-year limitation for diesel buses, in order to help districts meet this goal, and ensures Transportation Aid is provided on zero-emission buses and related charging infrastructure.
The Budget will build on Governor Hochul’s commitment to bring environmental sustainability to New York schools. The Clean Green Schools initiative, supported by the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, will serve more than 1,000 public schools and benefit nearly 1 million students. The program will drive significant infrastructure upgrades, such as geothermal heating and cooling, solar, green roofs, and indoor air quality/ventilation. This vital investment will not only boost the state’s economy but advance climate justice by bringing clean energy and a healthier indoor environment to under-resourced public schools.
Climate Friendly Homes
As part of the Governor’s commitment to support the development of at least 1 million electrified homes and up to 1 million electrification-ready homes by 2030, the Enacted Budget provides funding for a $25 billion, five-year Capital Housing Plan that will create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes and electrify an additional 50,000 homes.
Offshore Wind Investment
The Enacted Budget includes a $500 million investment to develop the state’s offshore wind supply chains and port infrastructure. This nation-leading initiative will create 2,000 jobs in a growing industry, while helping to make New York the offshore wind capital of the country.
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Funding
The Enacted Budget will increase funding for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation by $140 million, for a total of $250 million. This increase will be invested into enhancing and improving New York’s State parks. This substantial level of funding will aid the ongoing transformation of New York’s flagship parks and support critical infrastructure projects throughout the park system.
The funding will allow the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to continue its mission of providing safe, enjoyable recreational and interpretive opportunities for New York State residents and visitors. The Office functions as a steward of New York State’s valuable natural, historic, and cultural resources. OPRHP operates the State Park System, a network of 181 State parks and 35 historic sites. In 2021, the system welcomed a record 78.4 million visitors.
The Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation collectively oversee 5.35 million acres of open space statewide, including 2.6 million acres in the Adirondack Park and nearly 300,000 acres in the Catskill Forest Preserve.