A major investment for the watershed

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BY JEFF SKELDING

UPPER DELAWARE RIVER, NY – On Election Day 2022, New York voters have a rare opportunity to vote on a ballot initiative that would create a substantial, long-term investment in protecting and restoring the environmental quality of New York, while creating approximately 100,000 new jobs statewide.

The New York State Environmental Bond Act for Clean Air, Clean Water and Green Jobs will appear on the back of the November 8 ballot. Be sure to return it when you vote.

If approved, the law will generate $4.2 billion in statewide funding to support conservation projects that will benefit people, communities, local economies and environmental quality.

For the Upper Delaware River region, the timing of the act couldn’t be better. The funding categories in the bond bill strikingly correspond to the most pressing economic and natural resource needs of the watershed:

  • Repair and replace aging water and wastewater infrastructure
  • Preserving New York State Farms and Farmlands
  • Building community resilience in the face of changing weather conditions
  • Create local jobs to implement on-the-ground conservation projects
  • Improve community parks and outdoor recreation opportunities
  • Addressing Economic/Environmental Inequities in the Upper Delaware Region

Since 2017, local and regional Upper Delaware River conservation organizations, municipalities and outdoor recreation groups have generated nearly $5 million in federal Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) funding. for projects that provide multiple community and environmental benefits.

Building on federal investment from the DRBRP, in April 2022 the Friends of the Upper Delaware River (FUDR), together with various coalition partners, achieved a historic victory in securing a new position for the Upper Delaware River in the New York State Environmental Conservancy. Fund (EPF). For the first time, our river now has a permanent source of institutionalized public funding to help ensure the future protection and restoration of the watershed.

Passage of the Environmental Bond Act in November could boost DRBRP and EPF investment in upper Delaware. It would help raise the public and political profile of our watershed, putting it where it deserves to be, as one of New York’s most iconic bodies of water.

We urge all New York voters who love the Upper Delaware River watershed to learn more about the New York State Environmental Obligations Act of 2022 and how it can bring economic and environmental impacts to the people, communities and natural resources of our region.

Find more information about the Law of Obligations at https://voteyescleanwaterandjobs.com/.

Jeff Skelding is the Executive Director of Friends of the Upper Delaware River, a community-based watershed protection organization located in Hancock, NY. It is the lead organization in the state for the Delaware River Watershed Coalition.

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