Senator Michelle Hinchey Receives Prestigious Clean Water Award from the New York Water Environment Association

Michelle Hinchey

February 23, 2022

On the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Nonprofit Lauds Senator Hinchey’s Achievements Promoting Water Equity and Greater Investment in Water Infrastructure

ALBANY, NY On the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act (February 10, 2022), the New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA), a statewide non-profit organization of leaders in water quality management, presented Senator Michelle Hinchey with the esteemed Nelson A. Rockefeller Award for her commitment to advancing clean water initiatives and to modernizing and investing in New York State’s aging water infrastructure.

“I am incredibly humbled and honored that the New York Water Environment Association has seen in me a level of work on water quality issues that they deem worthy of the prestigious Nelson A. Rockefeller Award,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey. “Water is the most precious resource we have on Earth, which is why I’ve made protecting it a top priority in my office because no one should struggle with something that is guaranteed as a human right in New York. This work is personal to me. I started my career as a grassroots organizer for Environment New York and became enamored with that work thanks almost entirely to my father who was a leading voice in this fight. I’m dedicated to continuing the generations of important work of those who came before me and I am deeply grateful to NYWEA for this award. I will continue to advance real, meaningful improvements to New York’s aging systems until everyone across our state has access to clean water.”

Patricia Cerro-Reehil, Executive Director, NY Water Environment Association, said, “NYWEA is honored to award Senator Michelle Hinchey with the Nelson A. Rockefeller Award. This Award commemorates Nelson A. Rockefeller’s insightful leadership when he proposed, promoted and implemented the State Pure Waters Program and encouraged the Federal government to follow suit, this action culminated in the 1972 Clean Water Act. This is tremendously meaningful for us to give this award to the Senator on the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act. Presenting her with this award has additional historical meaning to NYWEA, as her father received this same award in 2001. This award is one of NYWEA’s most prestigious awards and given to an elected official who has made substantial and meaningful contributions to advancing effective water quality programs.”

Clean water initiatives created and supported by Senator Hinchey include:

  • Introducing the Safe Water Infrastructure Action Program to provide municipalities with a steady funding stream to finance water system upgrades and repairs. (S3968A)
  • Leading a Bipartisan Legislative Forum Focused on Clean Water Infrastructure Funding Reform to identify clean water issues burdening municipalities and solutions to fix New York’s aging water systems. 
  • Passing legislation to expand water testing for lead and other contaminants in schools, making school drinking water safer and cleaner for students and staff. (S2122A)
  • Passing legislation to establish New York’s first list of emerging contaminants, requiring every water utility across the state to test for those contaminants and notify the public if dangerous levels are found. (S1759A)
  • Working with advocates to stop a pumped storage facility from being built on the Ashokan Reservoir and threatening the New York City Watershed.
  • Championing the Green Amendment, which adds the right to clean air, clean water, and a healthful environment in the New York State Constitution.
  • Working with her colleagues to secure a record $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), which supports a range of local environmental projects, from protecting farmland to conserving our watershed areas.
  • Securing $4.5 million for climate-resilient farming programs and $18 million for farmland protection.
  • Reinstating the $3 billion Environmental Bond Act for November 2022 voter approval, which would allow the state to reduce pollution, upgrade water and wastewater infrastructure, preserve open space, and help our communities build resilience to extreme weather.
  • Sponsoring the Soil Health and Climate Resiliency Act (S4722A) to reduce carbon emissions and help farmers expand healthy soil practices.
  • Delivering the first-ever funding stream for Catskill Park, putting it on par with the Adirondacks, as well as an additional $100,000 to expand the number of Catskill Park Stewards.
  • Introducing legislation to establish the first-ever position of Catskill Park Coordinator (S6421) within the Department of Environmental Conservation to address natural resource and public access concerns throughout the Catskill ecosystem.