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Source: Legislative Gazette

Assembly hears support for $5 B environmental bond act

BY ANNA HELHOSKI
GAZETTE STAFF WRITER

Posted: May 28, 2009
Originally Published: May 27, 2009

A coalition of business, economic development, labor and environmental groups testified today before members of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee in support of placing a $5 billion environmental bond act on the November 2009 ballot.

Members of the coalition asserted the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act would invest in long-term improvements to economic development, energy efficiency, transit, public health protection and economic development projects as well as the expansion of “green collar” jobs.

“We were asked today at the hearing ‘why would people vote for this in such a hard economic time?’ and the real answer is because people want better,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, who testified before the committee. “People know they deserve to make things better and this is one way to do it. Whether it’s green infrastructure, green transit, more jobs, construction jobs, clean water, safe beaches, safe rivers and streams, people want that. We know we deserve that … All we’re asking the Legislature is to let people vote on that.”

If placed on the Nov. 3 ballot and approved by voters, proceeds from the bond act would be dispersed among five initiatives for a period of five years. Of the $5 billion, $1 billion would go toward clean water through watershed protection projects; $1 billion for clean water infrastructure; $1 billion for green jobs through energy efficiency programs and weatherization; $1 billion for clean air and green transit; and $1 billion for urban health and community restoration projects.

The last environmental bond act was approved in 1996 for $1.75 billion dollars dispersed over a period of 10 years. The Legislature and governor must approve the bond act by Aug. 3 for it to be included on the November ballot.