Since 2019, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Legislature have invested $500 million annually in clean water infrastructure, supporting drinking water and wastewater improvement as well as per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) remediation, among other issues. 

But in her executive budget this year, Hochul added only $250 million to the funding, which has environmentalists uneasy.

“We’re very concerned about this,” said Rob Hayes, director of clean water at Environmental Advocates New York. “For the first time in a long time, Gov. Hochul is proposing to cut clean water funding in the state budget.”

When asked if he believes the governor may want to use money from the $4.2 billion “Clean Water, Clean Air, Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act” to add to her funding for clean water, Hayes pointed out that the state needs $80 billion to fix its drinking water infrastructure.

“The Environmental Bond Act was always designed to be supplementary to traditional environmental programs funded through the budget, rather than to supplant those programs,” he said. “And that’s because the needs across the state are so enormous.”