The proposed Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act will provide $1.75 billion in funding for a unique mix of urban and rural environmental programs, from farmland protection to "brownfields" remediation to clean drinking-water programs to sewer-plant construction. The bond act is supported by every major environmental group in the state and by a broad range of local government and business organizations.
Specifically, the "green fields" components of the bond act include $150 million for farmland protection and other open space as well as $25 million for agricultural nonpoint source pollution. These land-protection dollars will enhance efforts under way in Suffolk County and Pittsford in Monroe County to protect New York's farmland and support agriculture for future generations. Bond-act funds also will encourage other farmland protection efforts in the Hudson Valley, Western New York and across the state.
Farmland provides many benefits to New Yorkers -- food, fiber, jobs, open space and rural character, tourist and recreational opportunities, and, yes, clean water and clean air. Farmland protection and initiatives like this bond act are a capital investment for our children's future. As a long-term solution for the future of New York, it simply makes plenty of sense.
JEREMIAH P. COSGROVE American Farmland Trust