Voters in New York State voted on the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environment Bond Act, also known as Proposal 1, which allows for the sale of USD4.2bn in state bonds for climate change mitigation, as reported by Bloomberg on November 4. The poll closed at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on November 8. According to votes counted as of 1 a.m. on November 9, voters agreed on Proposal 1 by 67.7% to 32.3%. Proposal 1 would authorize the New York state comptroller to sell bonds to help fund initiatives that preserve, enhance, and restore New York’s natural resources and reduce the impact of climate change. Under the proposal, up to USD1.5bn would be allocated to climate change projects, at least USD1.1bn to restoration and flood risk reduction, up to USD650m for open space land conservation and recreation, and more than USD650m to water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure.
New York state has voted on ten environmental bond acts since 1916, excluding Proposal 1. All have been approved by voters with more than a 10% difference except one in 1990. If Proposal 1 is passed, the USD4.2bn environmental bond will be one of the largest borrowings for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) purposes since California approved the issuance of USD7.5bn state bonds for water-related projects in 2014 to improve water quality, supply, and infrastructure. It is estimated that New York state would need tens of billions of dollars to upgrade its environmental infrastructure, and Proposal 1 is a major step forward, according to experts.