BUFFALO, NY — With the midterm elections just around the corner, early voting begins next weekend. A lot of the focus has been on the candidates who appear at the front of the ballot. But on the flip side is the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, or the 2022 Environmental Bond Act for short.
You may remember hearing about it in 2020, but the effort was canceled due to the pandemic. Voters decide whether the state is allowed to borrow that money.
Its funding will go to four categories of projects: climate change mitigation, flood risk reduction, water infrastructure, and land conservation and recreation. They are classified as follows:
- $1.5 billion for climate change mitigation
- $1.1 billion for flood risk
- $650 million to replace wastewater, sewage, septic tank infrastructure, lead service lines, reduce stormwater and agricultural nutrient runoff, and address harmful algal blooms
- $650 million for land protection and recreation.
The law also requires that 40% of the jobs created by climate change initiatives be met by people from disadvantaged communities, and that at least 35% of bond proceeds benefit disadvantaged communities. I am also looking for
If passed, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said it would be a game changer. He calls it a down payment for our future. Seggos says to think positively to protect yourself from Mother Nature’s wrath.
“In western New York, we have several very important habitat projects along the Buffalo and Niagara Rivers that are making good progress and we hope to increase that work,” Seggos said. “Skajaquada Creek has been a source of nearby wastewater pollution for many years. We have invested in it, but there is still a gap in the amount of money available.”
If this is approved on Nov. 8, the state will issue bonds for investors to purchase. These bonds are like loans that the state will pay back to the bondholders in at least 30 years. This fund can only be used for capital projects.