Letter to the Editor: Environmental Bond Act on the Ballot

To the Editor,

Election Day is fast approaching, and this year, for the first time in over 25 years, New Yorkers have an Environmental Bond Act on the ballot to consider. After voting for candidates, I urge readers to turn their ballots over and vote YES on Proposition 1: The Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022.

Voting YES will do much to protect our threatened biodiversity and natural areas, make our communities more resilient in the face of worsening storms and rising water levels, and secure our aging water systems. Early Voting begins on Saturday, October 29 and runs through Sunday, November 6. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.

Voting YES on the Environmental Bond Act will authorize New York’s State Comptroller to issue $4.2 billion in state bonds. This money would then be distributed to a variety of crucial projects:

  • $1.5 billion in climate change mitigation (including funds for zero emission school buses)
  • $1.1 billion in flood restoration and risk reduction.
  • $650 million in open space land conservation and recreation.
  • $650 million in water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure.

Climate change has ravaged New York over the past decade. Hurricanes Sandy and Irene along with the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused billions of dollars in flood damage and killed hundreds of New Yorkers. These storms severely damage crucial infrastructure and show no sign of stopping. Voting YES will give New York the tools we need to protect ourselves from future storms, while also creating economic opportunity; analysis by the infrastructure consultant AECOM shows that the Bond Act will create over 84,000 jobs.

New York’s water infrastructure is also aging rapidly. Recent studies by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers indicate that our wastewater and drinking water systems are in mediocre to poor condition: Over 35,000 miles of our wastewater systems are more than 60 years old and roughly 10% were built before 1925. Our drinking water systems suffer from severe unaccounted for water – in some places, as much as 40% of water processed by these systems is unaccounted for, meaning decreased overall system capacity and increased costs for taxpayers.

Over 300 community organizations support the Environmental Bond Act, including Green Ossining, Westchester County, the Putnam County Land Trust, the Putnam Highlands Audubon, Riverkeeper, and the Sierra Club. The Town Board of Ossining, which I lead as Supervisor, has also passed a resolution in support of the Bond Act.

I thank your readers for their consideration, and hope this crucial measure will pass.

Sincerely,

Dana Levenberg
Supervisor, Town of Ossining

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About the Author: Dana Levenberg