Environmental Bond Act listening tour launched

— Photo from ny.gov/programs/clean-water-clean-air-and-green-jobs-environmental-bond-act

A statewide educational listening tour is underway for the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022. 

On Tuesday in Buffalo, Governor Kathy Hochul launched an educational listening tour for the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act.
Local residents can have their say on July 20, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the University at Albany Campus Center Auditorium. To register, visit www.ny.gov/bondact

The tour is meant to provide the public and potential funding applicants a chance to learn more about the bond act, and for the community to weigh in on the draft eligibility guidelines being developed to identify potential projects.

The bond act was the largest environmental measure on the ballot nationwide in 2022, and marks the largest bond act in New York state history and the first since 1996.

“The Environmental Bond Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fund projects across New York that will protect clean water, create good-paying jobs, protect our beautiful open spaces and promote environmental justice,” Hochul said in a release announcing the tour. “This listening tour will connect communities with state agency experts to begin this collaborative and transparent process and lay the groundwork to deliver essential funding across the state.”

Overwhelmingly approved by voters last fall, the bond act prioritizes investments in environmental justice, climate-change mitigation, shoreline restoration, flood resilience, water quality, open-space land conservation, recreational resources, and green jobs. 

The bond act will make $4.2 billion available for environmental and community projects that also support job creation and a substantial investment in the Clean Green Schools initiative that will serve more than 1,000 under-resourced public schools.

Recognizing that vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected by negative environmental and climate change impacts, 40 percent of bond act benefits will be directed toward disadvantaged communities.

Specifically, the Environmental Bond Act authorizes:

— $1.5 billion for climate change mitigation;

— $1.1 billion for restoration and flood risk reduction;

— $650 million for water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure;

— $650 million for open space land conservation and recreation; and

— $300 million for other projects not specifically allocated in the Act.

State agencies, local governments and partners will be able to access Environmental Bond Act funding over a multi-year process. An inter-agency working group is currently identifying needs for environmental funding across the state and developing program logistics for implementing the bond act.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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