Environmental organizations on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to add more money in the state budget to address clean water and the challenges created by climate change in New York.
The Environmental Advocates NY in testimony to state lawmakers cheered the $500 million proposed by Gov. Kathy Hochul in her $216 billion spending plan that would address water mains, sewage overflows and seek to replace lead pipes. Similarly, the group was pleased with Hochul for moving forward on efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuel by transitioning to electric buses in the coming years.
But the organization also argued more could be done.
The clean water spending amounts to $500 million in Hochul's budget; advocates are seeking $1 billion.
“While we’re pleased to see Governor Hochul proposing $500 million in clean water infrastructure spending, the need is so great that this is unfortunately just a drop in the bucket," said Rob Hayes, the group's director of clean water. "Our research clearly demonstrates that this funding level will not meet local governments’ demand and that critical clean water programs may go underfunded and shovel-ready projects put on hold."
Meanwhile, the group also called for further implementation of the climate change law that shifts New York's energy usage to renewable fuels in the coming decades.
"Without dedicated financial support for the state climate law, New York will fall farther behind in building the infrastructure necessary for a transition off fossil fuels. We need state leaders to instead jumpstart this transition with an unprecedented upfront investment in our clean energy future that will result in billions of dollars in climate and health impacts avoided,” said Conor Bambrick, the director of Climate Policy.