March 16, 2017

NYS Assembly Budget Proposal Invests $2 Billion in Drinking Water Protection Initiatives and Funds Other Environmental Safeguards

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright announced the Assembly 2017-2018 SFY Budget Proposal includes a $2 billion water infrastructure initiative and also funds other critical measures to protect the state's environment, including the Environmental Protection Fund.

"Our budget reflects the Assembly Majority's longstanding commitment to protecting our environment," said Speaker Heastie. "We believe that investments in measures that safeguard water quality and address climate change mitigation/adaptation not only protect the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers, but also significantly help to strengthen the state's economy.

"This Assembly budget proposal includes funding to advance some of the most beneficial actions our state can take to protect the environment," said Englebright. "Our fiscal plan invests in land acquisition, funds infrastructure improvements to better ensure the safety of our drinking water and helps communities throughout the state be more effective stewards of our environment."

The $2 billion clean water infrastructure initiative that is included in the Assembly 2017-2018 SFY Budget addresses many of the concerns raised across the state about water contamination, including the structural integrity of the infrastructure systems used in the delivery of drinking water, the treatment of waste water, and it funds measures that protect drinking water sources. The Assembly budget proposal provides:

In addition, the Assembly also allocates $80 million to create an emerging contaminant remedial program to ensure that emergency drinking water can be quickly provided in cases of contamination, and to also address the contamination of public water supplies from previously-unregulated contaminants. Monies also would be available to help municipalities clean up illegal dumping sites.

The Assembly budget provides $300 million to the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), which maintains the same amount allocated to EPF in the previous fiscal year's budget in order to fund such environmental initiatives as Zero Emission Vehicles; the Green Jobs and Renewable Energy Training Program in environmental justice communities; a statewide Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, including methane; and Municipal Climate Adaptation Projects.

Under the Assembly budget plan, an Environmental Justice Program would be established in statute and become a permanent recipient of fiscal support from the EPF, which also is a significant funding source for programs involving solid waste management, parks, recreation facilities and the preservation of open spaces.

The Assembly rejects the Executive budget's transfer of several programs into the EPF that were previously funded by state agencies, including the enforcement of the Navigation Law.

Other environmental funding initiatives included in the Assembly budget are air monitoring; e-waste collection days, $1 million; invasive species management and eradication, a $2 million increase for a total of $14 million; and Children's Environmental Health Centers, $4 million, a $2 million increase.