Statewide series of in-person and virtual listening sessions
√ Funding opportunities to enhance and protect communities across state
Gov. Kathy Hochul kicked off New York state's celebration of Earth Week on Monday by announcing a statewide educational listening tour for the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022.
Her team said, “Overwhelmingly approved by voters last fall, the Bond Act prioritizes investments in environmental justice, climate change mitigation, shoreline restoration, flood resilience, water quality, open space land conservation, recreational resources, and green jobs. The tour will provide an opportunity for the public and potential funding applicants to learn more about the Bond Act, and for the community to weigh in on the draft criteria developed to identify potential projects.
Hochul said, "Over the next few months, the Bond Act listening tour will travel across New York to connect with key state officials about this historic and significant investment in our environment. The listening tour will offer an opportunity for the public, municipalities and other potential applicants to learn how they can leverage these funds to help New York state reach our climate goals while growing our economy. As Earth Week kicks off today, we look forward to implementing the historic Bond Act that will create a greener future for our communities, our infrastructure, and our planet."
A press release stated, “The landmark Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act is the largest environmental bond in state history, and the first in New York since 1996. The Bond Act will make $4.2 billion available for environmental and community projects that also support job creation and a substantial investment in the ‘Clean Green Schools’ initiative that will serve more than 1,000 under-resourced public schools. Recognizing that vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected by negative environmental and climate change impacts, at least 35% of Bond Act benefits will be directed toward disadvantaged communities.”
Specifically, the Environmental Bond Act authorizes:
√ $1.5 billion for climate change mitigation;
√ $1.1 billion for restoration and flood risk reduction;
√ $650 million for water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure;
√ $650 million for open space land conservation and recreation; and
√ $300 million for other projects not specifically allocated in the act.
The press release stated, “The educational listening tour is part of the state's commitment to a collaborative and transparent process in the way Bond Act funds are delivered. Sessions will feature a presentation on the Bond Act and an opportunity for one-on-one discussion with state experts. Meetings will be open to the public.”
The first in-person session will be held at 1 p.m. May 30 at the University at Buffalo Center for Tomorrow – North Campus, 125 Service Center Road, Buffalo. To register, visit https://www.ny.gov/bondact. Additional meetings will be announced soon for Central New York, the Adirondacks, Upper and Lower Hudson Valley, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Long Island. Two virtual sessions will also be held.
A press release stated, “State agencies, local governments, and partners will be able to access Environmental Bond Act funding over a multiyear process. An interagency working group is currently identifying needs for environmental funding across the state and developing program logistics for Bond Act implementation. The educational listening tour will engage these stakeholders and other interested New Yorkers to learn about the types of projects the Bond Act can support, and begin discussions about eligibility criteria for advancing funding.”
State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, "DEC is excited to work under Gov. Hochul's leadership and begin implementing the most significant environmental investment in a generation. The Bond Act listening tour is an opportunity for DEC and our state partners to connect with communities across the state on significant environmental projects that will also benefit local economies. Today's announcement underscores the state's commitment to ensuring community input on the future of our environment, fighting climate change, and ensuring state infrastructure is resilient."
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Doreen M. Harris said, "The Bond Act is certainly part of the incredible momentum advancing New York's climate action work and, under Gov. Hochul's leadership, NYSERDA will utilize Bond Act funding to help school bus fleets electrify their buses, while also supporting under-resourced public schools so that they can make energy-efficient and green infrastructure upgrades. The upcoming listening tours are critical so that community needs across the state are known, and they can inform strategic decision-making that will benefit all New Yorkers."
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "New York state, under Gov. Hochul's leadership, has a tremendous opportunity to foster a clean environment, further environmental justice, address climate change, and expand access to healthy outdoor recreation through the Environmental Bond Act. Hearing ideas and insights from each region of the state are paramount to the successful implementation of this initiative. I look forward to these discussions with our government and community partners."
Environmental Facilities Corp. President and CEO Maureen A. Coleman said, "EFC is committed to working with DEC and our other state partners to ensure Bond Act funding is awarded to the communities that need it most. Gov. Hochul's listening tour underscores the state's commitment."
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "New York state has always been a leader in environmental efforts, including on our farms, and the overwhelming support we saw for the Bond Act last year only continues to show how much New Yorkers care about their environment. This listening tour will give our communities the opportunity to weigh in on how this critical legislation will help clean up our waterways, conserve our ecosystems, and invest in a healthy future for our state. I look forward to hearing input from our partners in agriculture on how we can continue to implement best practices that protect our natural resources while supporting our farmers."
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "The Bond Act is a prime example of how New York is investing in our future. This listening tour will connect HCR's Office of Resilient Homes and Communities and our partners with local neighborhoods to advance projects that help adapt to a changing climate and strengthen long-term sustainability. We look forward to engaging with communities across the state to build resiliency for generations to come."
The Nature Conservancy's New York Director of Policy and Strategy Jessica Ottney Mahar said, "New York's $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act provides communities an extraordinary opportunity to protect clean water, reduce pollution, conserve wildlife habitat, and create good jobs. The Nature Conservancy applauds Gov. Hochul for beginning implementation of the Bond Act with a listening tour that will provide opportunities for stakeholders to learn about available funding, share perspectives on community needs, and provide input on program design. Through this exciting process, communities across our state will be in a position to realize the promise of the Bond Act and deliver projects that improve quality of life now and for future generations of New Yorkers."
President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe said, "The New York League of Conservation Voters applauds Gov. Hochul's statewide listening tour to seek input from experts and local communities on the implementation of the Environmental Bond Act. When the $4.2B measure was overwhelmingly approved by New York voters, it was a resounding declaration of support for combating climate change, ensuring access to clean drinking water, and promoting environmental justice, and we are confident the governor's commitment to engaging with stakeholders will ensure the funds are distributed effectively and the projects that receive priority will have the greatest impact."
More information on the Bond Act is available at https://www.ny.gov/bondact.