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NY advocates, lawmakers call for more clean water infrastructure funding

Jones Beach fishing docks — Wantagh, N.Y.
Sabrina Garone
Jones Beach fishing docks — Wantagh, N.Y.

New York advocates and lawmakers want more money this year for the state’s Clean Water Infrastructure Act. But Governor Kathy Hochul wants to cut spending for the program in half. 

The clean water spending package has received $500 million from the governor and state Legislature every year since 2019. The governor ’s executive budget proposal for this year suggests cutting those funds by 50%.

Adrienne Esposito with the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, along with other advocates, wants the funding increased to $600 million.

“This is a time for us not to turn off the tap to clean water," Esposito said. "We don’t want a drip, drip, drip of clean water funding. We need a flow of funding to address our clean water needs.” 

State Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages who represents parts of Nassau County, called the governor's idea “simply wrong.” 

“Speaking as someone from Long Island, it’s essential. It’s a lifeline that we have adequate, clean water," Solages said. "Sitting on a barrier island, we are the brunt of the climate crisis, we are the brunt of the clean water fight. And so we plead from Long Island, please do not do this now!” 

The Clean Water Fund was created in 2017 to upgrade sewage treatment plants, install new septic systems, filter contaminated drinking water and more.

The New York Clean Water Coalition said addressing the state’s drinking and wastewater infrastructure will cost $80 billion over the next two decades.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.