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Environmental Bond Act Vote On Election Day

The former Graniteville wetland forest, now bulldozed for a BJ's big box store.

On November 8, 2022, residents of New York State have the opportunity to vote to approve the Environment and Climate Change Projects Bond Measure. Upon passage, this ballot initiative can accomplish a wide range of goals including the preservation of natural resources such as woodlands, wetlands, and Bluebelts in communities such as Staten Island. It can also help to minimize damage from future storms that ravage coastal areas as Hurricanes Sandy and Ida did in recent years.

A “yes” vote on this ballot measure supports issuing $4.2 billion in general obligation bonds for projects related to the environment, natural resources, water infrastructure, and climate change mitigation. A “no” vote opposes this. A simple majority vote is needed for passage.

The current bond measure was proposed by former Governor Andrew Cuomo during his State of the State Address on January 8, 2020, and was referred to as the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act. Due to financial uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, this bond issue was withdrawn.

In September 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul asked legislative leaders to amend the bond issue to increase the bond amount from $3.0 billion to $4.2 billion. This was passed by the State Legislature in April 2022, and the measure was renamed the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act. The State Senate voted 48 to 15 to approve the measure and the State Assembly voted 113 to 35 to approve the bill. The bill was then signed by Governor Hochul, sending the issue to the ballot for November 8, 2022.

All neighborhoods in Staten Island are eligible for funds from this bond initiative. While Staten Island overall is a highly advantaged community, all or parts of a few Staten Island communities are considered disadvantaged — especially in the northern portions of Staten Island. Neighborhoods such as Graniteville, Mariners Harbor, Elm Park, Port Richmond, St. George, Tompkinsville, Stapleton, Clifton, Rosebank, Fort Wadsworth, Concord, Grasmere, as well as parts of Oakwood and Midland Beach, are especially well-positioned to receive funds for land conservation, wetlands protection, storm surge mitigation, new street trees, urban forest programs, coastal and shoreland restoration, flooding risk reduction, river and creek buffer zones, stormwater runoff reduction, algae bloom remediation, and water pollution reduction projects.

Mark Latour

Read the full report here.

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