ALBANY, NY (January 5, 2022) – In today's State of the State address, Governor Hochul announced several proposals that will benefit birds, other wildlife, and people:
- Protecting Freshwater Wetlands. Expanding New York State’s Freshwater Wetlands Regulatory Program will help the State protect over one million acres of unmapped and unprotected freshwater wetlands that are currently excluded from the Department of Environmental Conservation’s jurisdiction – ensuring that our wetlands are protected for birds and people.
- Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act. Our natural landscapes provide essential habitat for birds and other wildlife and are important economic drivers that support local communities. Increasing funding for the Bond Act to $4 billion will allow the State to make meaningful investments in protecting and restoring our environment, which will provide valuable ecosystem services to communities throughout New York State.
- Acting on Climate. 50% of bird species are predicted to be either “climate-threatened” or “climate endangered” by 2080, including at least 50 species in NYS. We can help fight climate change and support a responsible clean energy transition by supporting the continued electrification of our economy and accelerating the development of responsibly-sited renewable energy.
- Reduce Plastic Waste. New York State is facing a statewide solid waste and recycling crisis that is impacting local governments, taxpayers, and our environment at an unprecedented scale, including directly impacting ecosystems and birds. Establishing an Extended Producer Responsibility program and shifting the cost of recycling from taxpayers to producers is a smart solution that will relieve financial pressure on local governments and reduce plastic waste and its impacts to the environment.
In response, Erin McGrath, Policy Manager for Audubon New York, issued the following statement:
"Governor Hochul has committed to taking urgent action to protect over one million acres of freshwater wetlands for the birds and people that depend on them. Wetlands are critical for bird health and population stability – with approximately one-third of North American bird species relying on wetlands for survival – and provide countless ecosystem services to communities throughout New York State. These bold reforms, alongside the proposed increase to the Bond Act, nation-leading climate actions, and reductions of plastic waste, show that the Governor is dedicated to conserving and restoring New York State's environment, and we are thankful for her strong leadership. Audubon is proud to partner with Governor Hochul to advocate for these critical measures and is looking forward to seeing them enacted into law."
About Audubon New York
Audubon New York, a state program of the National Audubon Society, protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.ny.audubon.org.
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