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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

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Vote ‘Yes’ on Prop 1

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Long Island undoubtedly has environmental and public health challenges, and on November 8 we have the power to make the change needed to combat these issues. Vote “yes” on New York’s Environmental Bond Act. Proposition 1: Clean Water, Clean Air, Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act will allocate $4.2 billion to environmental projects to protect clean drinking water, upgrade water infrastructure, preserve open space and family farms, fight climate change, keep communities safe from extreme weather and strengthen New York’s economy.

If approved, the NYS Clean Water Bond Act will have impactful funding opportunities for restoration and flood risk reduction, open space preservation and recreation, climate change mitigation, and a portion of these funds will go towards environmental justice efforts in disadvantaged communities. Suffolk County has 30,000 acres of undeveloped land that could be preserved.

This is an important moment in New York’s environmental history. New York, 100 years ago, would be almost unrecognizable today, yet much of our water infrastructure is over a century old. Suffolk County is known as the “Septic Capitol” of the world with 360,000 homes relying on outdated septic systems and cesspools that do not adequately remove nitrogen pollution. In both Nassau and Suffolk Counties, plans to expand sewers where appropriate, and upgrade septic systems is expected to restore water quality in our bays, lakes, and estuaries, but it will take significant and sustained funding investments. We have a plan to attain clean water but we need the funds to get the job done!

Over the next 20 years, state agencies estimate that $80+ billion is needed to repair and upgrade New York’s sewage and drinking water infrastructure. Emerging contaminants including 1,4-dioxane and PFAS chemicals threaten the health of Long Islanders and our sole-source aquifer. Clean Water Bond Act funding will help us tackle our most urgent water infrastructure needs.

As rising temperatures and fatal floods become increasingly common, protecting our shorelines has never been more important. The Clean Water Bond Act will help ensure that Long Island is equipped to withstand future storms by modernizing stormwater infrastructure, restoring wetlands, and increasing natural buffers along our shorelines. This funding will help tackle climate change by expanding renewable energy, increase energy efficiency and conserve our open spaces.

It has been 26 years since the last Environmental Bond Act was adopted. In addition to environmental benefits, state-wide infrastructure projects will create and support 100,000 jobs. Environmental programs have a high return on investments, with a study by the Trust for Public Land finding that for every dollar we invest in land and water protection, $7 in economic benefits is generated for New Yorkers.

The Bond Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to safeguard our communities from future flooding and make critical water infrastructure upgrades, all while creating good-paying jobs. To protect the future of our environment and our communities, vote “yes” on the Bond Act.

Adrienne Esposito is the Executive Director at Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

Adrienne Esposito
Adrienne Esposito
Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment