County-State Partnership Preserves New York's Natural Resources
On Earth Day, Highlighting County and State Environmental Policy
In appreciation of Earth Day, the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) today is recognizing the work that counties across the state do to preserve and protect the environment.
"From addressing harmful algal blooms (HABs) in our lakes to protecting and preserving our pristine drinking water, from promoting and educating on the benefits of product recycling to protecting our farmlands, incorporating resiliency to agricultural operations, counties across New York State are acting locally to have an impact globally," said Stephen J. Acquario, Executive Director of NYSAC.
Several counties across the state are becoming "Climate Smart Communities," pledging to reduce energy use, shift to renewable energy, enhance resiliency, and work to better inform the public, among other elements. The process for becoming a Climate Smart Community is managed through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
"There is a very strong state-local partnership around environmental issues in New York State, and we are working together to protect our residents, our planet, and local economies," said Acquario. "Counties have created resiliency committees. They are building solar farms. They are using electric vehicles and promoting charging stations. They are promoting bicycles and healthy lifestyles. Quite simply, they are taking steps to be more sustainable."
The recently enacted state budget includes environmental investments that will further strengthen the state-local partnership that has positioned New York State to become a trailblazer on the national stage. (See today's NYSAC memo for a more detailed list.)
Environmental items included in the FY 2020 NYS Budget:
* Adding $500 million to the clean water infrastructure program that will help localities improve their local water systems;
* Including $18 million for farmland protection, which helps to preserve our vital and traditional local agricultural infrastructure;
* Banning single-use plastic bags that litter our streets and waterways, and cause costly operational issues at municipal waste recovery facilities, and
* Diverting institutional food waste from landfills for donation or recycling.
Led by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, these latest budget items build on last year's efforts, which included proposals to protect our drinking water and created a $65 million initiative to aggressively combat Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in twelve priority lakes across the state.
"Governor Cuomo and Legislative Leaders have returned New York to a national example of what can be accomplished to protect the environment. This is environmental leadership at its best. Working with the general public, the business community, and local governments is the best path forward to preserving our natural resources for generations to come," said Acquario.