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Cuomo's budget proposal targets algae blooms

Algal blooms have threatened drinking water supplies and affected industries in upstate in recent summers.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed Tuesday spending $65 million to rid them from upstate's lakes and water bodies.

"We have a really serious problem with different bacteria and algal blooms," Cuomo said in his budget speech. "Many of those lakes are sources of drinking water."

The governor did not specify how the money would be allocated.

Algal blooms – spawned mainly by excess phosphorus runoff from agricultural lands, animal wastes and septic systems – have proliferated across inland lakes in recent years.

The blooms have not yet appeared on the part of Lake Erie along New York State shores, but on the western part of the lake they were responsible for shutting down drinking water supplies in Toledo, Ohio, for several days in 2014. A bloom also was found as close as Presque Isle Park in Erie, Pa.

Green Menace of toxic algae threatening Lake Erie

Inland waters such as Chautauqua Lake, Findley Lake, the Allegany Reservoir, Silver Lake, Java Lake and Hyde Park Lake are among those most often affected by toxic algae.

'Widespread' toxic algae in Chautauqua Lake, Findley Lake

Two other environmental issues addressed by Cuomo during his budget presentation included:

  • $50 million to complete work at Hudson River Park that Cuomo said was supposed to be finished 15 years ago.
  • $150 million to contain and treat a toxic plume from the Northrop Grumman industrial site on Long Island in order to protect drinking water supplies.

Despite visits to Niagara Falls last summer in the wake of a black, smelly discharge and other releases from its sewage plant, there was no mention of Niagara Falls during Tuesday's presentation.

Cuomo rebukes Falls Water Board, calls discharges 'inexcusable'

Previously, the governor said the Niagara Falls Water Board would work under the oversight of the state Department of Environmental Conservation to solicit money from the state's massive $2.5 billion funding stream dedicated last year for water infrastructure improvements across the state.

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Cuomo budget raises $1 billion in new taxes to pay for spending plans

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