Following the election of NYS’s first elected female Governor, things has been moving at a quick pace in the Capitol as advocates prep their agendas for 2023 and eye the forthcoming budget.
Progress Made on Class C Streams Bill
Clean water advocates gathered in Albany earlier this month to Encourage Governor Hochul to sign a bill which adds protections to Class C streams:
Clean Water Organizations Rally around 2023 Agenda
Clean Water Priority Letter – Reviewed and signed onto the NY Clean Water Coalition’s 2023 Citizens Campaign for Environment and other environmental organizations finalized their Shared Agenda for priorities, funding, and actions needed to protect clean water in NYS.
Advocates Urge Appropriate Funding for Oceans and Great Lakes Funding Line
Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper signed on to a funding support letter in collaboration with the New York State Ocean and Great Lakes Coalition which urge Governor Hochul to continue to provide $400 million for the Environmental Protection Fund in the State Fiscal Year 2023-2024 Executive Budget proposal, including at least $25 million for the Ocean and Great Lakes Program. Funding from the EPF Ocean and Great Lakes Program provides New York State with the tools and data it needs to make strategic decisions that conserve our environment, encourage responsible growth, and support families and businesses. Ocean and Great Lakes industries, such as fishing, tourism, and recreation, contribute billions of dollars to the state annually. In 2019 these industries generated over $35 billion for the state’s gross domestic product and supported more than 398,000 jobs,1 yet this pales in comparison to the resources’ full value. Our Great Lakes, estuaries, and ocean are natural assets that are significant drivers of economic activity and quality of life for New Yorkers. The Ocean and Great Lakes Program is the State’s primary source of funding for scientific research, habitat management, and ecosystem restoration projects that improve the health of our coastal waters. Without this funding, we cannot advance the ambitious agendas set by the state: the Great Lakes Action Agenda and the New York Ocean Action Plan.
NYS Great Lakes Action Agenda 2030 released for Public Comment
The next iteration of the Great Lakes Action Agenda 2030 was recently released by DEC. The plan builds on the progress made under the 2014 GLAA. Over 83% of the actions listed in the original GLAA have made significant progress and our strong partnerships with DEC contribute to this success. The GLAA 2030 serves as the workplan for DEC, organizations like ours and NYS Great Lakes municipalities to continue to advance the important work happening throughout the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario watersheds.
Read the Plan here:
Read BNW’s comments on the plan here:
Voters Pass $4.2 Billion Environmental Bond
With the passing of the NYS Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act on November 9, 2022 by voters across New York State, we now have a great opportunity to move forward many of the environmental priorities Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper has been working on over the decades. As laid out in the legislation, some of the funds will be distributed through the State funding process specifically $400 million Environmental Protection Fund, $650 million in water infrastructure funding and $650 million in open space conservation and recreation.
Water Advocates Continue to Monitor State and Federal PFAS Testing Requirements
BNW recently submitted comments to the Dept. of Health (DOH) highlighting the importance of setting meaningful Minimum Contaminant Levels (MCL) for PFAS substance which poses a number of a environmental and health concerns. Read our letter and follow along with the continuing PFAS work here: