A group of environmental activists, labor leaders and elected officials joined together at Wantagh Park, in Wantagh, to announce the reinstatement of the $3 billion Environmental Bond Act on the 2022 statewide ballot.
Earlier this month, the law’s reauthorization was included in the final budget and will appear on the November 2022 ballot. State Senator Todd Kaminsky, who championed the bill, discussed its importance at a news conference ahead of Earth Day. He noted the significance of holding the conference at Wantagh Park, where they stood in front of a canal dotted with degrading marshes.
The Environmental Bond Act aims to restore natural areas like the marshland of Long Island’s south shore, among many other efforts to combat climate change. The legislation commits $3 billion to create jobs, protect clean water and fund local environmental projects such as habitat restoration in places like Mastic Beach, East Hampton, Sunken Meadow State Park and the Pine Barrens.
Other goals are to replace old septic systems, fund infrastructure projects in flood-prone areas and allow communities to modernize coastlines. This includes helping homeowners and business owners relocate to safer areas and to restore natural areas to prevent flooding.
“That’s what it takes to keep New York healthy, clean and to keep the economy going,” said Adrienne Esposito, the executive director of the Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment.
This is the “halfway point of a marathon” for the legislation, said Assemblyman Steve Englebright, noting that it’s now up to the voters to pass it. Kaminsky put the Bond Act on hold last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. “I think that was wise,” Englebright said. “But I think it’s also wise to continue the momentum it has going.”
"With the Bond Act's passage, New York has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect our environment, fortify our communities from extreme weather, purify our water and create 65,000 good-paying green jobs,” said Senator Todd Kaminsky. This $3 billion investment in our state's infrastructure will continue New York's national leadership in combating climate change and safeguarding our natural resources for generations.”
Matt Cohen, the vice president of Government Affairs of the Long Island Association, said that Long Island’s environment is synonymous with its economy and the Bond Act “will create new jobs and spur economic growth while protecting our water and making our region more resilient to severe weather.”
"Placing this Environmental Bond Act before the voters will enable them to directly participate in securing a healthy future for our state,” Englebright said. “Investing into open space, new parkland, protection from floods and job training for renewable energy installations are just some of the numerous significant environmental and economic benefits that will be enabled by passage of this measure.”