Thursday, May 28, 2009

2009 Environmental Bond Act Pitch From Adk Council

I’m reprinting below a press release issued on the proposed $5 billion 2009 Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act by John Sheehan, Director of Communications for the Adirondack Council. The bond act is also being pushed by businesses like Caterpillar and Nova Bus, and the American Cancer Society, Audubon New York, Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, New York League of Conservation Voters, New York Public Transit Association, New York State Laborers, Scenic Hudson, and The Nature Conservancy. The hope is that the targeted spending in this time of economic crises will encourage a green economy and provide more jobs. Projects include wastewater infrastructure, energy efficiency, transit, public health protection and economic development projects. Although details are scarce (bond act organizers are waiting for the Legislature to suggest projects), I have a copy of a slightly more detailed pdf fact sheet outlining the bond act, if anyone is interested. More later today.
State Government Urged to Protect Pure Water and to Provide 100,000 New, Green Jobs for New Yorkers

Albany, New York – A broad coalition spanning business, economic development, labor, and environmental groups called on the state to place a $5 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act on the November 2009 ballot. New York State Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney convened a hearing in Albany to consider the merits of draft legislation that would place the measure on the November ballot.

Members of the coalition and the public testified today in support of the measure that will invest in long-term improvements to wastewater infrastructure, energy efficiency, transit, public health protection and economic development projects; it will also vastly expand opportunities for “green-collar” jobs and accelerate the pace of infrastructure projects to protect our water and air.

Bond act supporters noted the multiplier effect of investing bonding funds: a recent study shows that a $1 billion investment in water and wastewater infrastructure creates $3 billion in economic activity and supports up to 26,000 new jobs with an average salary of $50,000. Each $1 billion invested generates $82.4 million in state and local tax revenue. The Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act should generate over 100,000 jobs with parallel benefits to state and local economies.

“Even a conservative view of this bond act suggests that it would create over 100,000 new jobs for New Yorkers. These would be good-paying jobs in management, construction, and innovative industries,” said Jim Melius, administrator NYS Laborers Tri Funds. “These new jobs would put New York firmly on the track to becoming a leader in green technology at the cost of less than $4.00 a month per household.”

“Nothing is more important in the current economic climate than putting New Yorkers back to work. With the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act, we have the opportunity to build on the federal stimulus strategy by creating well-paying, career track jobs that contribute directly to preserving and enhancing our state’s environmental quality. Green jobs that contribute to energy efficiency, renewable energy, brownfield clean-ups and community revitalization help working families and protect the environment. This proposed bond act will pay back the investment it represents many times over,” commented Jeff Jones, director, New York State Apollo Alliance.

“We support the 2009 Clean Water, Clean Air & Green Jobs Bond Act because it will allow New York State transit providers the capital to improve transit service and air quality by putting more hybrid and other low emission buses on our roads,” said Ray Melleady, the president of the New York Public Transit Association. “Investing in transit will not only improve our environment, but it will drive our economic recovery. Public transportation creates jobs in the hundreds of New York businesses that supply the equipment and services we need to provide public mobility.”

“The last Clean Water and Clean Air Bond Act, which passed in 1996, has been spent down yet the challenges of climate change continue to grow,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “The Clean Water, Clean Air & Green Jobs Bond Act of 2009 will help meet those challenges, while putting New Yorkers back to work and creating permanent taxpayer savings.”

“New York State is falling behind in meeting its obligations to protect our environment. This year the state legislature appropriated $222 million for environmental purposes, far short of the $1 billion a year that is needed, according to the coalition. The Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act will bridge that gap and get New York State on the right track to be an environmental leader in the region and the nation,” Leslie Wright, NY state director with The Trust for Public Land.

“Across New York the lands and forests that help purify and maintain our pure drinking water are at risk,” said Bill Ulfelder, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in New York. Water sources for millions of New Yorkers, including the Catskills, which provide clean, pure drinking water to more than eight million New York City residents, face an uncertain future. Every New Yorker has a right to clean drinking water and the best way to ensure that right is to conserve the watersheds that provide it. We have a choice — invest now in a sustainable way to protect our drinking water sources or spend billions to build the infrastructure necessary to treat drinking water. The Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act would provide New Yorkers the opportunity to generate the resources necessary to protect our drinking water sources.”

“Funds from this bond act can provide critical upgrades to failing and sub-standard sewer treatment plants from our Great Lakes to Long Island’s shoreline – helping protect water quality in our lakes, rivers, bays and harbors while stimulating jobs,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “From the water we drink from the water we swim in to the fish that we eat, investing in infrastructure that will keep our waters safe and healthy is a long-term investment for not just now but for future generations.”

“As the health of our communities, and the prospects for future economic growth are all linked to the availability of clean water and a restored environment, New York state must now step up and make the needed investments in our water and energy infrastructure to protect the quality of life of all New Yorkers, and keep New Yorkers working,” said Albert E. Caccese, executive director of Audubon New York. “Audubon New York strongly urges the state to quickly enact the 2009 Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act, because the longer we wait to make these investments in our water and open space resources, the more costly they become.”

“Targeting resources to reclaim and redevelop downtown brownfield sites will provide environmental benefits, while at the same time maximizing limited funds to create jobs, leverage private investment, and increase tax revenue,” said John Fleming of New Partners for Community Revitalization. “Studies show that every dollar of public investment spent on brownfields development leverages up to $8 in total investment through wages, job creation and taxes, while property values increase up to 15 percent and public investments are recouped within three years. As an organization dedicated to the cleanup and reuse of contaminated urban properties, we support the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act and encourage our elected representatives to allow the proposal to go before the voters this November.”

“New York State has a long and proud tradition of being a leader in environmental protection and our state parks system is second to none,” said Robin Dropkin, executive director of Parks & Trails New York. “But, our parks and environmental infrastructure is in serious need of revitalization, and the current level of funding can’t begin to address the capital projects backlog. Providing much needed environmental funding through the bond act is an investment in our future, and it will be a significant boost to the economy –it’s a win-win scenario.”

“Ducks Unlimited has conserved nearly 40,000 acres of wetlands and other waterfowl habitat in the Empire State. With new funding from the Bond Act, DU will increase our conservation efforts in New York to protect the wetlands that provide habitat for waterfowl and cleaner water for citizens of this state,” said Bernie Marczyk, governmental affairs representative for Ducks Unlimited. “The funds produced from the New York Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act will provide much-needed funding for habitat restoration from Montauk to Buffalo to Plattsburg.”

“New York must act now,” said Brian L. Houseal, executive director of the Adirondack Council. “With hundreds of millions of dollars needed in water infrastructure and open space protection in the Adirondacks alone, the Environment Protection Fund and other existing sources are not adequate to keep up with the current demands. A Bond Act must be passed this year to help the state meet its environmental obligations.”

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