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Statement by The Nature Conservancy on Governor Hochul's State of the State Address

an open wetland with a winding river running through it.
Cohocton River wetland Cohocton River wetland before flood © Mathew Levine/TNC

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Albany, NY—Governor Hochul’s State of the State address today included nation-leading proposals to conserve nature and address the escalating climate emergency.

The Nature Conservancy released the following statement from Jessica Ottney Mahar, policy and strategy director:

“The Nature Conservancy applauds Governor Hochul for proposing critical initiatives that will save lives, improve public health and safety, protect clean drinking water and conserve the natural resources we all depend on. Through clean energy development, reforestation and community safety programs, Governor Hochul is advancing New York’s national leadership on climate and the environment.

The Governor proposed a series of climate priorities that would accelerate the implementation of New York’s groundbreaking climate act and build a clean energy economy. The need to eliminate emissions and make the clean energy transition affordable for all New Yorkers cannot be overstated. Air pollution from fossil fuels is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths worldwide.1

We are also pleased to see Governor Hochul’s “Blue Buffers” proposal that would utilize funds approved by voters through the 2022 Environmental Bond Act. Voluntary buyouts are essential for the health, safety and well-being of people who live in areas that flood. Across New York, people are living in homes that flood again and again; many need and want help to move to safe, dry ground. Buyout programs are critically important, not just to the families they help, but to entire communities when we can return flood-damaged properties back into native wildlife habitats that reduce the impacts of flooding.

The Governor also announced other critical steps to reduce climate risks including comprehensive climate planning and updated maps that show coastal erosion hazard areas. Accurate information is essential to protect people and build communities that will be safe for our children and grandchildren.

Governor Hochul’s proposal to plant 25 million trees by 2033 would also help New York meet its carbon reduction goals while protecting clean drinking water, restoring wildlife habitat and reducing the risks of extreme heatwaves, which can be fatal in neighborhoods without trees. If matched with adequate funding, this goal would spur market growth, workforce development and a local supply chain for seedlings and other reforestation supplies.

We thank Governor Hochul for her leadership and look forward to working with the Governor, Legislature, state agencies and partners to help ensure these investments build a safer, cleaner and healthier future for every New Yorker.”

 To learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s work, visit nature.org/NewYork.

1Karn Vohra, Alina Vodonos, Joel Schwartz, Eloise A. Marais, Melissa P. Sulprizio, Loretta J. Mickley, Global mortality from outdoor fine particle pollution generated by fossil fuel combustion: Results from GEOS-Chem, Environmental Research, Volume 195, 2021, 110754, ISSN 0013-9351, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.110754.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.