How to Vote on the Environmental Bond Act Ballot Proposal in New York

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Nov. 4 2022, Updated 11:56 a.m. ET

Environmental Bond Act, Kamala Harris, Kathy Hochul, Hillary Clinton
Source: Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris, Gov. Kathy Hochul, and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton at a New York Women “Get Out The Vote” rally at Barnard College on Nov. 3, 2022 in New York City. Hochul has endorsed the Environmental Bond Act.

All across the U.S., important issues will be on the ballot on Election Day, which falls on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. And if you live in the state of New York, you will also be voting on the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs, Environmental Bond Act of 2022 as part of your ballot proposals.

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In general, the language on ballot proposals can be a bit confusing — here’s a breakdown about what this bill would mean for New York and how environmentalists recommend you vote on it.

Environmental Bond Act, New York City Flooding
Source: Getty Images

Commuters walk into a flooded subway station and disrupted service due to extremely heavy rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on Sept. 2, 2021, in New York City. The Environmental Bond Act would allocate money for flood risk reduction.

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The Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs, Environmental Bond Act of 2022 will be on New Yorkers’ ballots this November.

On the flip side of ballots this year, New Yorkers will see a proposal for the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022.

According to the New York State Board of Elections, this proposal would allow the state to sell state bonds worth up to $4.2 billion, which would be used for projects to improve New York’s environment, as well as reduce the impacts of the climate crisis in the state.

The projects would include various climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, such as: restoration, flood risk reduction, land conservation, improving water quality, and both building and retrofitting infrastructure to be more resilient.

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This is the biggest environmental protection plan to ever be proposed by New York, as per The New York Times. According to the newspaper, this act bond act would allocate funds for electric school buses all over New York — which is an environmental justice issue, as developing school children breathing in gas-powered bus fumes is a health hazard, on top of the fumes contributing to global warming.

And since New York is a coastal state, the bond act would allocate $1.1 billion could to help prevent future floods and other natural disasters from causing destruction, the newspaper added. Overall, the $4.2 billion from this bond act could help fund New York’s climate goals as part of the Climate Act, which include powering the state with 70% renewable energy by 2030, achieving 100% emission-free electricity by 2040, and an 85 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2050.

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How to vote on the Environmental Bond Act ballot proposal:

The Environmental Bond Act will appear as “Proposal Number One” on the back of New Yorkers’ ballots, according to The Guardian. Voting "yes" on the proposal supports passing the Environmental Bond Act and the potential allocation of $4.2 billion for environmental and public health protection; voting "no" on the act votes against that.

A number of New York-based environmental organizations have endorsed a “yes” vote on the proposal, including the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV), the Open Space Institute, and Mohonk Preserve.

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“We encourage all our members to flip your ballot over on November 8, and VOTE YES for the Environmental Bond Act!” NYLCV stated, also calling this proposal a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve quality of life, modernize infrastructure, and safeguard clean drinking water.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul has also endorsed the act, as have other Democratic politicians. However, per The New York Times, Rep. Lee Zeldnin, a Republican running against Hochul for governor, has not commented on his stance on the proposal — meaning it’s certainly a possibility that it will pass, as long as New Yorkers show up to the polls.

New Yorkers, you can look up your voter registration, early voting location, and polling place here. And if you live in New York City, learn about the city's three ballot proposals here.

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