July 30, 2020
Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute said, “It is unfortunate that Governor Cuomo and the Division of Budget have opted not to proceed with the Environmental Bond Act, citing the state’s fiscal condition. As the state continues to respond to COVID-19, the now eliminated Environmental Bond Act measure was a critical opportunity to rebuild the economy and begin to address the disparity in access to nature the pandemic revealed, while channeling resources to take on the growing challenges associated with climate change.
It has never been more obvious how much we need clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and access to nature. We should not minimize the far-reaching and long-term benefits that would have been achievable through a voter-approved designated funding source. The Bond Act was heralded as a long-term gamechanger – with which New York could have achieved big environmental solutions, such as the protection of forests for clean drinking water and fresh air, the absorption of carbon, and improved public’s access to nature.
We welcome the opportunity to revisit a voter approved initiative in the future, and in the absence of a bond act urge a renewed commitment to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and the use of alternative sources of funding to address these vital community needs. We will continue to call on our state and federal leaders to support environmental funding as a pathway to an economic and public health recovery.”