By Gwendolyn Craig
Gov. Kathy Hochul made major environmental announcements on Tuesday, including investment in a nearly century-old Adirondack Park dam and a proposed $4 billion environmental bond act.
The $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act was proposed and passed by state legislators under the Andrew Cuomo administration. It is slated to go before voters in November 2022, but Hochul has proposed boosting it by $1 billion. The bond act could also get a new name—”Green Jobs, Clean Air and Water Environmental Bond Act of 2022.”
The changes would have to be approved by the state Legislature during next year’s session.
“I believe they’ll understand the importance of this,” Hochul said during a press conference, of state legislators.
During her New York City visit, Hochul also announced plans to rehabilitate the Conklingville Dam on the Sacandaga River in Saratoga County. The dam was built after the “Great Flood of 1913.” At 95-feet tall, it was intended to prevent flooding in places like Waterford, Rensselaer and Troy. It also led to the creation of Great Sacandaga Lake, a flood protection reservoir.
The dam is in need of structural repairs in addition to replacement of valves and deteriorated concrete, Hochul’s office said in a news release.
The state’s 2022 budget included $20 million for the project, though a press release Tuesday said the state’s “ultimate investment will depend on the scope and design prepared by the engineering consultant.”
“We are seeing the reality of climate change here in New York and across the country year after year, and it is no longer acceptable to simply hope for the best while failing to make the necessary investments in public safety and resiliency,” Hochul said, in a news release. “We need to make smart, strategic investments in critical infrastructure like the Conklingville Dam and other flood protection infrastructure without delay as part of a comprehensive strategy to protect our communities and New Yorkers.”
Hochul also announced on Tuesday that the state would invest $600 million “for shovel-ready water infrastructure and resiliency projects across the state.”