In each decade between 1960 and 1990, New Yorkers approved bond acts to support environmental programs ranging from land preservation to clean air and water to restoration of municipal landfills. However, no new environmental bonds have been approved since the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act of 1996, which is codified at N.Y. Envtl. Conserv. Law §§56-0101 to 56-0611. That could soon change. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has started a campaign to pass legislation that would give voters the chance to approve a $3 billion environmental bond act.

The “Restore Mother Nature Bond Act” is designed to complement New York’s ambitious Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which was discussed in our column of July 11, 2019, by providing funds for the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and others, to support nature-based projects that mitigate flood risks, restore natural habitats and improve storm resiliency. In this column we examine the background to, and purposes of, the nascent Restore Mother Nature Bond Act.