Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steven Englebright and Local Governments Committee Chair William Magnarelli today announced the 2017-2018 SFY Budget agreement funds the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 at $2.5 billion, a $500 million increase above the Executive's Budget, to help municipalities throughout the state upgrade their drinking and waste water treatment infrastructure so they can more effectively protect drinking water and the environment.
This budget includes funding for a range of environmental programs, including new testing requirements for public water suppliers in order to help ensure that emerging contaminants with the potential to harm public health are quickly identified. Financial support is also included for any mitigation and remediation involving contaminated public drinking water supplies.
"Water quality money is an important down payment on the future of our environment and on vital health benefits for this and many future generations of New Yorkers," said Heastie. "The increased funding levels in this budget will help local governments across the state invest in their drinking and waste water treatment facilities, which in too many cases have gone without significant improvements for too long."
"This budget stands on the science that indicates one of the best ways to protect the environment and drinking water is to ensure that drinking water sources are protected through land acquisition," said Englebright. "The $2.5 billion funding level the Assembly fought to include in this budget will help leverage billions of dollars in funding for water quality improvements, and provide even more value for public and environmental health."
"The water infrastructure funding commitment is good news for local governments statewide," said Magnarelli. "Thanks to the monies allocated in this budget, it will now be more feasible for local governments to consider moving forward on projects to upgrade their drinking and wastewater infrastructure."
To address concerns about drinking water quality and deteriorating water treatment facilities across the state, the 2017-2018 SFY Budget's $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 provides:
Assemblymembers Steven Otis of Rye and John McDonald of Cohoes are both former mayors who pushed for this budget to include increased funding for municipal and inter-municipal grants in order to continue and expand on the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015.
"Speaker Heastie and Chairman Englebright have enhanced our long term commitment to water quality programs by ensuring the 2017-2018 SFY Budget includes funding to continue the state's water infrastructure grant programs that helps to make clean water projects more affordable for local governments and taxpayers," said Otis and McDonald in a joint statement.
At the Assembly's urging, the Executive's $300 million appropriation for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) was modified to provide increased funding for several programs, including a $1 million funding increase for Invasive Species, for a total funding level of $13 million; and a $1 million increase for Non-Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution Control, for a total of $7 million. The budget also provides $36.35 million for Land Acquisition, a $3.35 million increase.
For the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, the Legislature modified the Executive's proposal to increase the state match to 75 percent from 50 percent and included language that would establish a state match of 85 percent for Environmental Justice communities. The budget also provides a $1 million increase to the EPF's Environmental Justice Program, for a funding total of $8 million.
Among the programs added to the budget to receive funding through the EPF are Renewable Energy Implementation and Job Training in Environmental Justice communities, $500,000 and a carbon farming incentive study, $50,000.