Brooklyn could benefit from Proposition 1’s ‘green’ funds



This map shows numerous census districts in Brooklyn which could be eligible to apply for a portion of Proposition 1’s Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs funds. Roughly a third of the funds are required to go towards projects in areas deemed “disproportionately impacted” by environmental burden. Map courtesy NYS

On Nov. 8, New York voters approved Proposition 1 — the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022 — by a large margin, roughly 68 percent to 32 percent.

The Act will allow the state to borrow $4.2 billion to pay for projects that will improve water quality and build resilient infrastructure; conserve open space and recreation; reduce flood risk and mitigate climate change.

Brooklyn may benefit from this investment. Numerous areas in the borough are eligible to apply for roughly one third (35 percent) of the money which, by law, must go towards projects in areas deemed “disproportionately impacted” by environmental burden.

“I’m thrilled that New Yorkers overwhelmingly voted to approve Prop 1 — the Environmental Bond Act will generate $4.2 billion in vital investments for cleaner air, cleaner water, renewable energy, green infrastructure and more that we desperately need to tackle the climate crisis,” said Councilmember Lincoln Restler, who represents waterfront areas on the northwest of Brooklyn including Greenpoint, DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights.

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New York State’s preliminary Disadvantaged Communities Map shows many dozens of Brooklyn census tracts which meet the criteria of having a high “environmental burden” combined with high “population vulnerability” (the ranking is based on 45 different indicators).

For example, a census tract in industrial Red Hook is shown on the map as having an environmental burden higher than 99 percent of census tracts statewide. Its population vulnerability is higher than 61 percent of all census tracts statewide.

Census tracts in DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene and areas bordering the Brooklyn Navy Yard have also received the preliminary designation, as have dozens of census tracts cutting across Central Brooklyn, including Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, New Lots and Canarsie, among others.

Almost all of Sunset Park’s waterfront tracts, three tracts in the Kensington area and seven tracts in the vicinity of Gowanus/Park Slope carry the preliminary designation. Gravesend, Coney Island and parts of Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach are also on the list.

Projects could range from sewer replacement and upgrades to restoring wetlands, adding green infrastructure to SUNY and CUNY buildings, reducing air and water pollution in impacted communities and other projects.

This money could come on top of funds directed from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure bill. On the tenth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, who represents Staten Island and Bay Ridge, told supporters of the Waterfront Alliance that the Infrastructure bill will bring “opportunity for a lot of these coastal resiliency projects that we are talking about today. Not just coastal resiliency projects, but things like hardening the infrastructure for our ferries, for our ports, and sewer infrastructure as well.”

“That bill in particular is supposed to bring at least $100 billion into New York, and it might be more than that, over the next several years,” Malliotakis said.

Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond fund breakdown

  • Water quality and resilient infrastructure: $650 million
  • Open space conservation and recreation: $650 million
  • Flood risk reduction: $1.1 billion
  • Climate change mitigation: $1.5 billion

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