First of 10 In-Person and Virtual Listening Sessions Gets Underway in Buffalo on May 30
Once-in-a-Generation Funding Opportunities Will Enhance and Protect Communities Across the State
Benefits Include Advancing Environmental Justice, Mitigating Climate Change, Creating Jobs, and Protecting Public Health
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the details for the next five locations in the statewide educational listening tour to advance the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act. 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 conservation, recreational resources, and green jobs. The tour provides an opportunity for the public and potential funding applicants to learn more about the Bond Act and the draft eligibility guidelines being developed to identify potential projects.
"The Environmental Bond Act will be truly transformative for our communities and I look forward to the start of these listening sessions next week with stops across the state throughout the summer," Governor Hochul said. "The listening tour will be instrumental in helping New York State combat climate change and grow our economy by providing an opportunity to discuss future projects that will create jobs, protect the environment, improve quality of life, and leave lasting benefits for our communities."
The first listening session was announced by the Governor during Earth Week and will be held on May 30, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the University at Buffalo's Center for Tomorrow.
The next round of listening tour sessions include:
- Central New York: June 8, from 1 to 3 p.m., State University of New York Cortland, Corey Union Function Room
- North Country: July 14, 1 to 3 p.m., North Country Community College, Sparks Athletic Complex Alumni Gymnasium
- Capital Region: July 20, 1 to 3 p.m., University at Albany, Campus Center Auditorium
- Lower Hudson: August 15, 1 to 3 p.m., Westchester County Center, Little Theater
- Long Island: August 24, 1 to 3 p.m., Suffolk County Community College, Suffolk Credit Union Arena
Additional details are being finalized for two New York City locations in the Bronx and Brooklyn, as well as two virtual meetings. These meetings will be announced soon.
To register for any of these sessions, visit www.ny.gov/bondact.
The landmark Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act is the largest environmental bond in state history and the first in New York since 1996. 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, at least 35 percent, with a goal of 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; and
- $650 million for open space land conservation and recreation
- $300 million for additional projects in any of the four major categories
State agencies, local governments, and partners will be able to access Environmental Bond Act funding over a multi-year process. Last month during Earth Week, Governor Hochul announced the first availability of Bond Act funding that, when combined with existing state funding sources, totals $425 million being made available in state water grant funding. Applications are due by July 28 and more information can be found at efc.ny.gov/wiia.
An inter-agency working group is currently identifying needs for environmental funding across the state and developing program logistics for Bond Act implementation. The educational listening tour will engage these stakeholders and other interested New Yorkers to learn about the types of projects the Bond Act can support and begin discussions about eligibility guidelines for advancing funding.
The educational listening tour is part of the State's commitment to a collaborative and transparent process in the way Bond Act funds are delivered. Sessions will feature a presentation on the Bond Act and an opportunity for one-on-one discussion with State experts. Meetings will be open to the public.
State Department of Environmental Conservation and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The Environmental Bond Act's $4.2 billion will be a tremendous resource for State and local governments, community organizations, and many other stakeholders advancing projects to protect our natural resources and make a difference in the lives of those most burdened by pollution and our changing climate. DEC looks forward to joining our agency partners at these sessions to hear from New Yorkers and discuss the Bond Act's wide-ranging and long-term benefits for the state's environment, communities, and economy."
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Doreen M. Harris said, "The Bond Act listening tour is an opportunity for us to hear directly from New Yorkers regarding what climate change and clean energy priorities they would like to see supported through this critical funding - including in underserved communities. I look forward to this statewide opportunity for information gathering and solutions-based brainstorming about how best to implement this funding for the benefit of residents today and into the future."
New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "The Bond Act listening tour is a great opportunity to connect with local governments, community partners and individuals from across the state to hear their ideas and insights on the type of environmental projects that will be most significant to their communities. I look forward to these discussions and continuing to advance the Environmental Bond Act to foster a clean environment, further environmental justice, address climate change, and expand access to healthy outdoor recreation."
Environmental Facilities Corporation President and CEO Maureen A. Coleman said, "EFC is excited to engage with stakeholders about the significant funding that's being made available for critical water infrastructure projects. We will advance Governor Hochul's commitment to environmental justice by ensuring these dollars are being awarded to the communities that need it most."
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "The overwhelming support we saw from voters for the Environmental Bond Act is a true testament to New Yorkers' commitment to protecting their environment. The $4.2 billion in funding will go toward projects that will combat the effects of climate change, curb pollution, improve air and water quality in our communities, and protect our natural resources for generations to come. This listening tour will allow our community members to weigh in on the decision-making process as well as learn more about the tremendous benefits this legislation will provide."
More information on the Bond Act is available at www.ny.gov/bondact.
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