ALBANY — A proposal by State Senate Republicans to devote as much as $8 billion to water quality projects statewide, including work to address the threat of septic systems on Long Island, is getting a strong push from a diverse group of lobbyists.
This week, The Nature Conservancy; the Long Island Pine Barrens Society; Citizens Campaign for the Environment; the East End Mitch Pally Long Island Builders Institute; Long Island Regional Planning Council; the New York League of Conservation Voters and the Long Island Association business group urged adoption of the massive proposal.
“This funding and these programmatic changes will make significant strides in protecting our surface and drinking water and restoring our water quality for all Long Island residents,” their letter said. “Addressing our water quality challenges throughout the state and specifically on Long Island is urgent.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the Assembly’s Democratic majority propose spending of at least $2 billion on water quality.
Senate Republicans would provide as much as $8 billion in funding, primarily through borrowing.
The proposal is now part of closed-door negotiations leading to a budget due by April 1.
Possible projects include replacement of septic systems on Long Island, protecting Long Island Sound and replacing aging water pipes upstate.
“We share a profound concern for the economic and environmental damage that unabated nitrogen pollution has wrought on Long Island,” the groups’ letter said.
“In the last three years, we have made bold strides in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties to respond to this threat to our health, economy and quality of life,” the letter said. “The longer we wait to address our water quality issues, the more expensive it will be. We need funding now to begin the work to reduce nitrogen pollution.”