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Gov. Hochul begins listening tour for Environmental Bond Act at UB

The $4.2 billion act is the largest of its kind in state history.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — After suffering through a once-in-a-100-year storm in November, followed by a once in a generational blizzard in December, Governor Kathy Hochul said she’s had enough with the superlatives. 

“We can't be shocked by the scale or the frequency of these so-called unforeseen events because they're no longer unforeseen,” Hochul said. 

The governor launched her statewide listening tour at UB today for her $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act that passed overwhelmingly in the November election. 

The act — the largest of its kind in state history — will fund environmental and community projects and is also said to create 84,000 jobs. 

“There's not a lot that 67% of New Yorkers agree on these days,” said Jessica Ottney Maher of The Nature Conservancy. 

But the bipartisan agreement received some backlash, specifically among farmers, with the first installment of the governor’s listening tour needing to be paused after an attendee claimed the governor has done anything but listen. 

“We’ve reached out to the governor for two months, and we have asked for her to meet with us in person, and she refuses to meet with us in person,” the protestor said. 

The governor was asked how Western New Yorkers will see change as a result of the historic statewide spending. 

“I think a lot of it's going to be sewers, which are very expensive, but also building up resiliency and floodplains as well as just investing in creative community projects and looking for opportunities to create jobs,” she said. 

Hochul will conduct nine more listening tours between now and the end of August. Two will be held virtually in June and July.

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