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Hudson River gets a boost in NYS budget

Hudson River gets a boost in NYS budget

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Riverkeeper on patrol at Poughkeepsie, in the stretch of the Hudson that 100,000 people rely on for drinking water. (Photo by Dan Shapley / Riverkeeper)

New York State leaders have finalized the next state budget. Here are some of the highlights. Thank you to all Riverkeeper members, supporters and partners who helped us advocate for these important priorities:

Clean Water Infrastructure Act

Riverkeeper thanks Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for maintaining the state’s historic commitment to the Clean Water Infrastructure Act. New York’s $80 billion need for water infrastructure investments is the largest in the nation. This money will help improve water quality by repairing aging and failing sewers, and jumpstart efforts to better protect drinking water at its source. Riverkeeper will continue to advocate for the needs of the Hudson River Watershed, where there is a $4.8 billion need for investments in wastewater infrastructure alone.

Hudson River Estuary Program

We are also grateful for the $1 million increase to the Hudson River Estuary Program, as part of a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund. Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson led a coalition of more than 50 organizations in support of increasing funding for the Estuary Program. A non-regulatory program of the Department of of Environmental Conservation, the Estuary Program provides influential technical assistance and community grants to support clean water, restored fisheries and other key priorities. The $6.5 million budget, part of the $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, includes $1 million for work in the Hudson’s largest tributary, via the Mohawk River Basin Program. (The DEC is taking public comment on the five-year action agenda for the Mohawk Basin Program through May 18.)

Pharmaceuticals and plastic bags

We are disappointed, however, that neither the Drug Take Back Act nor a ban on single-use plastic bags was passed. We are calling on the Governor and Legislature to pass these important environmental initiatives this session, and we’ll be looking for your help to achieve these important goals. Riverkeeper and our partners have documented high levels of pharmaceuticals in the Hudson River Estuary, and the Drug Take Back Act would require the pharmaceuticals industry to fund programs to effectively keep unused medications from being flushed down the toilet. Single-use plastic bags are one of the top 5 most frequently found items at shoreline cleanups nationwide, and single-use plastic is the most prominent component of trash collected during our annual Riverkeeper Sweep.

What You Can Do

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