November 9, 2022 -- On November 8th, more than 60% of New Yorkers took the once-in-a-generation opportunity to vote YES on the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act, an initiative that will invest $4.2 billion into projects we can see, feel, and taste. This funding will be used to improve our drinking water and air quality, preserve our environment, and protect us from the worst of the climate crisis. Mountainkeeper is proud to have been part of the VOTE YES effort, and we're so grateful for each and every voter who chose to invest in our shared environment. Click 'read more' to see how the bond act will help support the Catskills and communities statewide.
For communities in the Catskills, our spectacular wild forests and natural spaces are where we live, play, and work, and our region is a vital part of New York’s economy. In 2020, our State Parks generated over $21 billion in economic activity and created more than 241,000 jobs. The economic benefits of outdoor recreation come as no surprise to those of us in the Catskills, which offers world-class fly fishing, hundreds of miles of hiking and cycling trails, and countless more recreational activities that draw visitors to our region year after year.
We depend on our parks, rivers, and farmland for our livelihood, and the Bond Act will support family farms, expand access to natural spaces, and protect wild habitat, both here in the Catskills and across the entire state.
The Bond Act will also fund urgently needed upgrades to New York’s aging sewer systems, roads, and outdated drinking water infrastructure. Roughly 360,000 lead pipes still deliver drinking water to homes in New York, and they must be replaced to protect the health of our families and communities. Overhauling our infrastructure is no small task, and this ambitious undertaking will generate nearly 100,000 jobs.
It’s no secret that the climate crisis is making weather in the northeast less predictable, and more intense. This summer’s severe droughts and wildfires are only a taste of what’s to come, and we need to prepare for emergency scenarios like extreme heat waves and devastating hurricanes. The Bond Act will help build cooling centers that save lives during heat waves, and back projects to maintain water treatment facilities and protect our drinking water supply from contamination and runoff pollution. Additionally, 35-40% of Bond Act funding will go towards low-income, minority communities that suffer the most from the consequences of climate change.
We can’t just react to these disasters as they hit; we need to address the root causes of the climate crisis and bolster our ability to mitigate the worst impacts in advance. Funding low-emission school buses, supporting community gardens, and creating green roofs that produce food and mitigate flash flooding are just a few ways the Bond Act will help benefit the health of our families and communities. The Bond Act will protect our planet – and our wallets – by retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient, and expanding renewable energy infrastructure.
We don’t always share the same political beliefs, but we do breathe the same air, drink the same water, and depend on the same planet. Protecting these basic necessities for life is not a partisan issue. On November 8th, we have an unprecedented opportunity to stand together to ensure a livable future for ourselves and future generations. When you go to the polls, please flip the ballot over and vote “yes” on Prop 1. Your “yes” vote to approve the Environmental Bond Act will help give New York State the future it deserves.