Environmental Advocates comment on NYS Senate and Assembly proposed budgets
To find out more about Environmental Advocates of New York, visitwww.eany.org.
ALBANY — Both the New York State Senate and Assembly have released their one-house budgets, which will now be negotiated with the executive branch to create the final 2019-20 State Budget. Reactions from experts at Environmental Advocates of New York can be found below: Water Infrastructure/Lead Service LinesThe Senate proposed $2.5 billion for clean water infrastructure funding in their budget, while the Assembly proposed $500 million. The Assembly proposal includes $10 million for the state’s Lead Service Line Replacement Program, while the Senate did not specify how their $2.5 billion would be allocated between programs. • Maureen Cunningham, Senior Director for Clean Water at Environmental Advocates of New York: “It is truly a new day in the New York State Senate. We applaud the Senate for stating loud and clear that clean water funding is a priority in this year's budget. Their multi-year, $2.5 billion commitment will protect public health and the drinking water of millions of New Yorkers. The Senate proposal best reflects the enormity of New York’s $80 billion water infrastructure need, and best prepares local communities to tackle the current clean water crisis. "Municipalities across the state have been issuing a steady drumbeat of calls for a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar commitment for water infrastructure funding so they can fix their pipes and keep clean water flowing. In the coming weeks, we will continue to raise the voices of local elected officials, union members, and citizens throughout the state who deserve the economic and environmental benefits of clean water funding. "We hope the Assembly, Senate, and the Governor will now work together to put at least $2.5 billion on the books.” • Rob Hayes, Clean Water Associate at Environmental Advocates of New York: “Lead water pipes need to be dug out of the ground before kids get sick, not after. The Senate's $2.5 billion clean water proposal has the potential to provide a big boost to the Lead Service Line Replacement Program, which is critical to eliminating lead from drinking water. We look forward to working with the Senate, Assembly, and the Governor to designate $100 million of this funding to help local governments remove a major source of contamination and keep drinking water safe for all New Yorkers.” Congestion PricingBoth the Senate and Assembly budget proposals do not include a congestion pricing plan. • Conor Bambrick, Air & Energy Director at Environmental Advocates of New York: “Tailpipe pollution is a primary driver of the poor air quality that makes so many New Yorkers sick. Congestion pricing is the most viable solution to both reduce the number of polluting vehicles on our roads and properly fund mass transit. Let’s be clear, congestion pricing needs to get done in this year’s budget and we encourage the legislature to continue working on this issue.” Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) The Assembly budget proposal rejects a raid on RGGI funds that was included in the executive budget and instead directs those funds to clean energy initiatives in the communities that need it most. • Conor Bambrick, Air & Energy Director at Environmental Advocates of New York: “Clean energy funds should not be used to balance the budget. The Assembly is to be applauded for rejecting the Governor’s raid on climate funds and has shown great leadership by directing these funds to support clean energy solutions in the communities that need it. We strongly support the Assembly in their efforts to stand up for disadvantaged communities.” New York State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF)Both the Senate and Assembly budget proposals reject an attempt by the executive budget to use EPF funds to cover staffing costs. • Peter Iwanowicz, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York: “Now is not the time to nickel and dime the state’s Environmental Protection Fund, especially when every day we hear about another attack on our environment by a hostile Trump administration. New York needs to be an environmental leader. We applaud the Legislature for thoroughly rejecting this proposal and hopefully it is the last we will see of this bad idea.” ClimateBoth the Senate and Assembly fully rejected the climate proposals the Governor put forward in his executive budget. • Peter Iwanowicz, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York: “The Legislature was unimpressed with the climate plan Governor Cuomo had in his budget proposal. It is again clear that the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) is the way forward for New York to address our worsening climate crisis. We look forward to working with all parties to see that the CCPA becomes law in 2019.” Solid WasteThe Senate budget proposal includes a ban on plastic bags with a fee on paper bags that would support local government pollution reduction initiatives and programs to give away reusable bags (with a priority in low income areas). The Assembly did not include a plastic bag ban in its budget proposal. Both the Senate and Assembly budget proposals did not include an expansion of the state’s Bottle Bill. • Kate Kurera, Deputy Director of Environmental Advocates of New York: “Solid waste is becoming an epidemic in New York. The Senate’s approach—a ban on plastic bags coupled with a fee on paper bags—begins to dig us out from this mounting problem and must be part of a final budget agreement. "Unfortunately, both the Senate and Assembly missed an opportunity to further combat solid waste by expanding the bottle bill in order to fund other environmental projects. We encourage both houses to seriously consider this issue as budget negotiations move forward.” Environmental Advocates of New York are based in Albany. To find out more, visit www.eany.org.