Advocates on both sides of a measure are trying to influence Gov. Kathy Hochul's final decision for a proposal that is meant to strengthen protections for New York's streams.
The measure, now sitting on Hochul's desk, would expand the number of streams in the state that could fall under environmental protection.
The proposal has the backing of Democrats in the Legislature who approved the bill earlier this year as well as environmental advocacy organizations in order to improve access to safe drinking water. But the plan is opposed by agriculture organizations as well as a group of local highway superintendents.
Supporters of the measure on Tuesday in Albany, along with state Sen. Peter Harckham, urged the governor to grant final approval for the measure. The bill would reclassify what are currently listed as class "C" waterways, currently used for boating, fishing and other recreational activities as streams.
"Because of the close contact people have with class "C" waterways, listing them as streams will allow for their protection," according to the bill's memorandum.
If approved, the provision would come after voters this year backed a $4.2 billion bond act meant to bolster environmental infrastructure and protections for New York's waterways against the effects of a changing climate.
But agriculture organizations and the New York State Highway Superintendents Association have raised opposition. Then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2020 vetoed a similar bill.
The highway officials organization in August wrote to Hochul in August urging her to veto the measure, calling it far too onerous and expensive to implement.
The Northeast Dairy Farmers have also pushed back against the measure, saying in the statement the proposal "would be an inefficient use of taxpayer resources, while adding undue financial and regulatory burdens for family farms, other landowners, and Local Soil and Water Districts."