A broad coalition spanning business, economic development, labor and environmental groups lauded the New York State Assembly for introducing the $5 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act which would go before voters on the November 2009 ballot. The bill (A. 8810) was introduced by New York State Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney.
Members of the coalition noted that the measure will invest in long-term improvements to wastewater infrastructure, protect open space and our state’s natural resources, energy efficiency, transit, public health protection and economic development projects; it will also expand opportunities for “green-collar” jobs and accelerate the pace of infrastructure projects to protect our water and air.
Each $1 billion invested generates upwards of $82.4 million in state and local tax revenue. The Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act is expected to generate over 100,000 jobs with parallel benefits to state and local economies.
Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) stated, “Environmental bond funds will directly benefit communities across the state by protecting New York's natural resources. The funds will be for projects to improve water quality, preserve lands for recreation and wildlife habitat protection, clean up polluted properties and reduce air pollution. This investment in New York’s environment will improve the state’s public health while spurring economic growth, creating green jobs and enhancing the states infrastructure.”
“We are thrilled that the Assembly has recognized the importance of introducing this bill. It’s a positive first step in ensuring the creation of over 100,000 new jobs for New Yorkers –good -paying jobs in management, construction and innovative industries,” said Jim Melius, administrator for the NYS Laborers Tri Funds. “These new jobs would put New York firmly on track to becoming a leader in green technology.”
“Nothing is more important in the current economic climate than putting New Yorkers back to work. Putting the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act before voters means they have the opportunity to build on the federal stimulus strategy by creating well-paying, career track jobs that contribute directly to preserving and enhancing our state’s environmental quality. Green jobs that contribute to energy efficiency, renewable energy, brownfield clean-ups and community revitalization help working families and protect the environment. This proposed bond act will pay back the investment it represents many times over,” commented Jeff Jones, director for the New York State Apollo Alliance.
“The 2009 Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act will allow New York State transit providers the capital to improve transit service and air quality by putting more hybrid and other low emission buses on our roads,” said Ray Melleady, the president of the New York Public Transit Association. “Investing in transit will improve our environment and drive our economic recovery. The bill’s introduction in the Assembly is a great first step in that direction.”
“The environmental challenges facing New York State continue to grow,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “The Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act of 2009 will help meet those challenges while putting New Yorkers back to work and creating permanent taxpayer savings.”
“We are thrilled that New York State Assembly is taking the first steps to bridge the gap in environmental funding. The Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act will get New York State on the right track to be an environmental leader in the region and the nation,” said Leslie Wright, New York state director with The Trust for Public Land.
“This draft legislation gives us hope that the lands and forests that help purify and maintain our clean drinking water across New York State will be protected,” said Bill Ulfelder, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in New York. “We applaud the Assembly, especially Environmental Conservation Chairman Robert Sweeney for taking steps to empower the voters to generate the resources necessary to protect our drinking water sources.”
“Critical upgrades to failing and sub-standard sewer treatment plants from our Great Lakes to Long Island’s shoreline can be had if the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act becomes a reality,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “From the water we drink to the water we swim in to the fish that we eat, investing in infrastructure that will keep our waters safe and healthy is a long-term investment not just now but for future generations.”
“The health of our communities and the prospects for future economic growth are all linked to clean water and a restored environment, the New York State Assembly is doing the right thing to make the needed investments in our water and energy infrastructure to protect the quality of life of all New Yorkers, and keep New Yorkers working,” said Albert E. Caccese, executive director of Audubon New York.
“Studies show that every dollar of public investment spent on brownfields development leverages up to $8 in total investment through wages, job creation and taxes, while property values increase up to 15 percent and public investments are recouped within three years,” said John Fleming of New Partners for Community Revitalization. “We encourage our elected representatives to allow the proposal to go before the voters this November."
“New York State has a long and proud tradition of being a leader in environmental protection and our state parks system is second to none,” said Robin Dropkin, executive director of Parks & Trails New York. “Providing needed environmental funding through this bond act is a great investment in our future, and will be a significant boost to the economy – a win-win scenario.”
“With new funding, we will increase our conservation efforts in New York to protect the wetlands that provide habitat for waterfowl and cleaner water for citizens,” said Bernie Marczyk, governmental affairs representative for Ducks Unlimited. “The funds produced from the New York Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act will restore habitat from Montauk to Buffalo to Plattsburgh.”
“New York must act now,” said Brian L. Houseal, executive director of the Adirondack Council. “With hundreds of millions of dollars needed in water infrastructure and open space protection in the Adirondacks alone, the Environmental Protection Fund and other existing sources are not adequate to keep up with the current demands. A bond act must be passed this year to help the state meet its environmental obligations.”
"This proposed Bond Act goes right to the heart of our communities' needs -- clean water, healthy air and the creation of jobs to spur economic renewal," stated Andy Bicking, Director of Public Policy for Scenic Hudson. "Our natural infrastructure is integral to these public benefits and voters should be allowed the opportunity to make this investment a top priority."
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.