EDF Celebrates the Passing of the NY Bond Act.

In the climate policy world, states and localities are often laboratories of innovation and progress. However, with the devastating impacts of hurricanes, wildfires and heat waves, residents are already experiencing the costly impacts of climate change. To mitigate these costs, EDF supports innovative funding and financing strategies — especially in areas that are most vulnerable to climate impacts. One example of this is EDF’s work on a ballot measure in New York State.

This week, voters passed the historic Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act ballot measure. This comes on the heels of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, ushering in a variety of new flood resilience projects aimed at mitigating these risks to communities.

This Bond Act will support environmental improvements that preserve, enhance and restore New York’s natural resources. It is also set to create more than 84,000 local jobs. The measure is the largest environmental bond act in state history at $4.2 billion and the largest on any ballot anywhere in the nation in 2022.

EDF worked in two ways on the ballot measure – first, supporting a coalition of more than 200 organizations called Vote Yes for Clean Water and Jobs to encourage voters to “Vote Yes” through a tremendous collaborative organizing effort. Second, EDF led a separate public education campaign focused on educating New Yorkers about the measure, working closely with many partners, including The Nature Conservancy, NY League of Conservation Voters, Scenic Hudson, WE ACT, Open Space Institute, The Trust for Public Land and others.

What this means for New York

The passage of the Bond Act means that new funding will be made available for projects that clean the water that New Yorkers drink and play in, improve the parks they use every day, reduce urban heat and greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigate the devastating flooding the state has experienced regularly in the past few years. Here’s a quick breakdown of how the money will be spent:

  • $1.1 billion to update community and natural infrastructure by updating failing infrastructure, reducing stormwater and flooding, and restoring wetlands, forests, and shorelines.
  • $1.5 billion to improve public health and reduce pollution by installing clean energy infrastructure and energy efficiency upgrades in public buildings and schools, building green roofs and gardens that reduce urban heat, and deploying zero emission school buses.
  • $650 million to preserve farms, forests and parks by investing in open space conservation, protecting farms, and expanding access and amenities at parks, campgrounds and nature centers.
  • $650 million to safeguard drinking water through projects like replacing lead pipes, expanding sewers, upgrading water treatment plants, and preventing pollution and runoff.

These funds can help advance the state’s commitments to greenhouse gas reduction and environmental justice, with at least 35-40% of funds directed to benefit state-designated disadvantaged communities, those most harmed by pollution.

park and resources

Parks and natural resources serve as an important refuge for people, fish and wildlife, such as Marine Park, Brooklyn, featured here. Funds from the Bond Act will be used to support natural resources and parks, among other priorities.

What does this mean for the nation?

As we seek to advance national climate action like the Inflation Reduction Act, it’s important to remember that much of the actual implementation occurs at the local level. States and localities nationwide need to prepare to seize the moment. With the Bond Act, New York is leading the way and prepared with funds that could serve as a match for these important federal dollars, and already thinking about which projects to tee up for development. We are thrilled to have supported this big win and hope that it can be a model for other states.

This entry was posted in Climate Resilience and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.