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Riverkeeper testimony: Key opportunities for clean water in NY budget

Dan Shapley, Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Program Director, submitted prepared testimony Tuesday at the Joint Legislative Public Hearing on the 2018-2019 Executive Budget Proposal: Environmental Conservation.

Click here to read the full document.

An excerpt:

Riverkeeper is a membership organization with nearly 55,000 members and constituents. Riverkeeper protects the environmental, recreational and commercial integrity of the Hudson River and its tributaries, and safeguards the drinking water of millions of New Yorkers.

Recent actions by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the Legislature have set the course for New York State to be a national clean water leader. These actions include the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act in 2012; the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act in 2015, and the doubling of the state’s commitment to it in 2016; the establishment of the Governor’s Water Quality Rapid Response Team in 2016; and of course the historic actions associated with the FY2018 budget in 2017, including the Clean Water Infrastructure Act and establishment of the Drinking Water Council, as well as emerging contaminant monitoring requirements and Source Water Assessment funding in the Environmental Protection Fund.

With my testimony today, I aim to highlight some of the key opportunities for maintaining and building on these initiatives in FY2018-2019:

1. Department of Environmental Conservation Staff
2. Water Infrastructure
3. Source Water Protection
4. Environmental Protection Fund, and the Hudson River Estuary Program
5. Harmful Algal Blooms and wetlands mapping – Wallkill River
6. New York State’s Water Resources Strategy

I will also touch on three legislative initiatives that we hope can be advanced concurrently with the passage of the FY2018-2019 budget, including:

* Plastic bag ban
* Energy Efficiency Jobs Act
* Pharmaceutical takeback programs.

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