Kaminsky pushes for Clean Water, Green Jobs, New York Bond Act

Jeff Bessen for LI Herald

April 21, 2021

Originally published in Long Island Herald on April 21, 2021.

The Clean Water, Green Job, New York Bond Act is a $3 billion package that encompasses restoring the shorelines, mitigating climate change and the risk of flooding, along with preserving open space and land for recreation, improving water quality and building resilient infrastructure, while aiming to benefit underserved areas.

Included in the newly approved state budget the bond act will need public approval. The referendum will be on the ballot in November 2022.

Democrat State Sen. Todd Kaminsky and chairs the Environmental Conservation Committee and worked to ensure that the bond act was included in this year’s budget.

“We have real aging infrastructure such as water towers and there is marsh degradation, this will make the shore more resilient,” Kaminsky said, adding that everything that is included will help to create cleaner, healthier communities.”

Should the bond act be approved, the state will be able to borrow the money and put out request for proposals for the work that will include green building projects, extending sewer lines, repairing failing septic tanks, replacing aging water pipes, ridding the waters of poisonous algae blooms, rebuilding marshes and shorelines. Kaminsky said that all the work should create 65,000. The state would be permitted to begin using the money in 2023.

He pointed to the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Sandy as a primary reason for supporting the bond act. “It will help for us to have cleaner water, fight climate change and boost jobs,” Kaminsky said. “I do think it will be popular. It’s a smart, important investment.”

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said the Farmingdale-based group is “very excited” as the bond act could aid in shaping Long Island’s future to create a more sustainable environment for the bi-county region, especially for the vulnerable South Shore.

“Restoring wetlands will ensure we have a strong buffer against wind and wave damage to the mainland,” Esposito said in an email, referring to the South Shore. “There will also be additional funding to advance renewable energy, reduce energy consumption, preserve land and upgrade our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. These programs are an investment in our future and are critical to ensure a healthy and more vibrant state.”

The New York League of Conservation Voters also supported the bond. “The environmental bond act will invest in critical programs to mitigate the effects of climate change and protect clean water, all while creating good-paying, green jobs,” Julie Tighe, the group’s president, said in an email. “It will put thousands of New Yorkers back to work protecting our water and open spaces while prioritizing frontline communities. The bond act will fund crucial investments in coastal resiliency so that Long Island is better able to withstand the next Sandy, which is what stands out to us most. We urge voters to support the bond act when they cast their ballot next year.”