While the climate change clock rapidly counts down to the point of no return, a record investment in the environment, renewable energy and climate adaptations is on the table in the $220 billion New York state budget for 2022-2023.
A key component to the state’s strategy for turning the tide of global warming is the creation of the Environmental Bond Act. This bill would authorize an amount not to exceed $4.2 billion in state debt to “restore mother nature.” It would focus on funding capital projects to preserve natural resources and reduce the impacts of climate change. Because the measure will create a state debt, voters will have the opportunity to approve the act in November’s election. If approved, the state will issue and sell bonds for the full amount of this cost starting immediately.
The bulk of this legislation – also known as Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022 – will provide $1.5 billion in capital money for climate change mitigation and $1.1 billion for flood risk measures. It will also provide $650 million to both land conservation and recreation as well as water quality improvement projects and infrastructure.
Under the climate change funding, $400 million will go towards green building projects, and $200 million of the climate adaptation and mitigation funding will be allocated for disadvantaged communities for air and water pollution reduction or elimination. Another $500 million will pay for zero-emissions school buses.
The state also has a goal of allocating 40% of the jobs created by climate change and environmental funding to disadvantaged communities, which includes a promise of no less than 35% job creation.
As of early Friday afternoon, the bill behind these environmental measures had passed the New York Senate.