News > News > Policy > Riverkeeper reacts to Governor Hochul’s State of the State 2024

Riverkeeper reacts to Governor Hochul’s State of the State 2024

Today, Governor Hochul gave her annual State of the State address in Albany, laying out her vision for New York Government in 2024. Riverkeeper experts have the following reactions to environmental and clean water initiatives proposed by the Governor in her address.

Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Initiatives

“Riverkeeper applauds the Governor for her focus on climate resiliency through developing a statewide Comprehensive Adaptation and Resilience Plan, voluntary buyouts of homes in flood-prone areas through Blue Buffers, releasing new climate projections and coastal erosion hazard maps, expanding green resiliency grants, and the removal of obsolete or dangerous dams to restore free-flowing creeks,” said Tracy Brown, President at Riverkeeper. “These initiatives help ensure we have the tools necessary to confront climate change in a coordinated manner that also prioritizes protecting and restoring our critical natural resources including the Hudson River. Riverkeeper looks forward to working with Governor Hochul and the legislature to ensure these initiatives reach their full potential.”

Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Investments

“Riverkeeper is excited that in a difficult budget year, the Clean Water Infrastructure Act will be included in the Governor’s executive budget, and we look forward to seeing more details in the budget next week. We applaud the focus on the state’s Drinking Water Source Protection Program and a new Drinking Water Engineering Planning Grant program modeled after the successful grant program for wastewater infrastructure. New York has some of the oldest infrastructure in the nation and the state’s investments in our infrastructure since 2015 are second to none, a true point of pride for New York’s leadership,” said Jeremy Cherson, Senior Manager of Government Affairs at Riverkeeper. “We constantly hear from local governments who are grateful for the opportunity to apply for funding but rarely receive the sums they desperately need to ensure their infrastructure delivers for constituents. This is why Riverkeeper and our allies are calling for a total of $600 million with a commitment to reach $4 billion in total appropriations in the next 5 years.”

New York SWIMS

“Providing equitable access to places to cool off will be increasingly important in the years ahead, as the Governor rightly recognizes with the New York SWIMS initiative. The Hudson River – with multiple potential beach sites and community-driven efforts to restore or develop access for swimming – can benefit from this groundbreaking effort. It will take water quality improvements in some cases, projects to boost resilience to sea-level rise in others, and provisions to protect habitat disturbance in others. Riverkeeper stands ready to work with the Governor and Legislature to advance this important initiative,” said Dan Shapley, Senior Director of Advocacy, Policy and Planning at Riverkeeper. “Riverkeeper thanks Governor Hochul for kicking off an important conversation about swimming and celebrates +Pool as a leader and innovator connecting people with new opportunities to interact with our waterways.”

Addressing Forever Chemicals

“Addressing PFAS pollution is one of the most critical clean water issues facing New Yorkers. We applaud the Governor for highlighting this important clean water challenge and look forward to reviewing the Governor’s proposal to track down PFAS pollution sources and assist local government with their efforts to safeguard drinking water quality for their residents,” said Jeremy Cherson, Senior Manager of Government Affairs at Riverkeeper. “Riverkeeper supports the PFAS Discharge Disclosure Act, which would require testing of outfalls at industrial facilities and wastewater treatment plants to ensure the state and public understand the continuing sources of PFAS pollution dumped into our waterways. We thank Governor Hochul for the new initiatives to counter PFAS contamination and encourage her to embrace this legislation as part of a comprehensive approach to address forever chemicals.”

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