WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 — Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-New York, issued the following news release on Aug. 4, 2021:
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that the bipartisan infrastructure deal he negotiated in the Senate will deliver major victories to help clean up New York. Specifically, the deal invests heavily in New York’s energy, water, and pollution cleanup. Schumer said billions in federal funding will be critical to providing clean energy, drinking water, lead removal and cleaning up emerging contaminates – like PFAS and 1,4-dioxane. The funding would also invest in remediation for Superfund sites, and more, boosting the Upstate economy and cleaning up New York while ensuring a greener future.
“While New York continues to recover from the economic and global pandemic, it’s critical that we invest in our future and take a massive step forward to clean up New York,” said Senator Schumer. “Now that life in the Empire State is returning to normal, this bipartisan infrastructure deal is the first of many steps to deliver clean energy and drinking water and a brighter, more sustainable future for all New Yorkers. This massive federal investment will not only ensure that municipalities will not have to take on debt to clean up their communities, but also create jobs and stimulate local economies in the process.”
Energy & Environmental Restoration
The bill will include billions in investment towards ecosystem restoration to preserve the environments of New York’s natural landscape. Specifically, Schumer said over a billion will go towards the Great Lakes and millions more will go towards other scenic attractions like the Finger Lakes, Long Island Sound, and Lake Champlain. It will also provide funding for programs like the Building Resilient Infrastructures and Communities grant to advance flood mitigation efforts along waterways ensuring areas dependent upon this sites for tourism revenue are protected.
Additional details on major wins relating to energy in New York:
* $8 billion for the creation of Regional Hydrogen Hubs. These hubs will aid the production, processing, and storage of clean hydrogen. Senator Schumer has been a leader on fighting for and establishing green hydrogen fuel production in Upstate NY. Earlier this year was able to secure commitment from Plug Power to build a new hydrogen fuel cell manufacturing facility in Rochester and called on the Department of Energy to support the newly proposed plan to construct an addition hydrogen facility at the WNY STAMP site in Genesee county.
* $6 billion for Advance Battery Manufacturing. Schumer said this is an integral first step in establishing the US as the global leader in electric vehicle battery manufacturing and his Clean Cars For America proposal. This investment would also boost existing expansion in Upstate NY like the Endicott lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility set to begin production in early 2022.
* $6 billion to help nuclear power plants continue to provide clean, reliable power to New York communities.
* Billions more for clean energy domestic supply chains. Ensuring NYS continues to be a leader on the development climate-friendly infrastructure.
This bill will provide billions to address water contaminants, including lead and PFAS. Schumer highlighted a national pot of $15 billion, of which New York would receive a significant amount, to replace lead service lines. New York currently has approximately 360,000 lead pipes still delivering water to people’s homes, the 4th highest number in the nation, leading to severe health problems for children and adults, including damage to the brain and nervous systems, cardiovascular diseases, and adverse effects on the reproductive system and kidneys. Additionally, Schumer noted the $10 billion national pot to address emerging contaminants, including PFAS. Currently, 21 PFAS-contaminated sites in New York also provide drinking water to nearby communities, posing significant health risks for those residents.
Additional details on major wins relating to water in New York:
* Over $20 billion for the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds which provide below-market rate loans and grants to fund water infrastructure improvements. Importantly, Schumer fought for a lower state share for the early years of this funding and for 49 percent of the money to be administered as grants and completely forgivable loans, key provisions for ensuring New Yorkers can get the most out of this funding.
* $15 billion carve out within the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to replace lead service lines across the country, including communities across New York State. The senator noted that New York has some of the oldest sewers in the country, many of them made of lead, that pose severe health risks to communities. Schumer has been a driving force in securing federal funding to reduce lead exposure in New York. In 2016, after reports of elevated lead levels in Ithaca and schools across the state were published, Schumer took action to help jumpstart lead testing programs for schools and day care centers and in 2018, ensured that those programs were fully funded. Schumer also previously secured $4.1 million for Syracuse to restart a program aimed at preventing lead poisoning in children. Prior to the program’s revival, at nearly 700 children in Syracuse were newly poisoned with lead in one year.
* $10 billion in grants to address emerging contaminants, like PFAS and 1,4-dioxane through EPA‘s small disadvantaged communities program and the State Revolving Funds. The federal funding will provide a much-needed boost to fast-track the cleanup processes at these locations and hasten remediation efforts. Schumer has championed PFAS cleanup in New York, most recently, successfully pushing for Stewart Air National Guard Base to be selected for the Defense Environmental Restoration Program which will allow remediation efforts to begin. The senator also successfully urged for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to hear directly from Rockland residents and community leaders about potentially elevated PFAS levels in their drinking water and to establish a drinking water standard for PFAS as a result of discoveries of the toxic chemical in drinking water at Hoosick Falls. Schumer also previously launched efforts to include sweeping PFAS-oriented reforms in previous National Defense Authorization Acts, which would address toxic PFAS contamination in communities all across Upstate New York.
* $1.8 billion for Indian Health Service Water and Sewer accounts, which can be used for the provision of domestic and community sanitation facilities for Indians.
The Schumer-negotiated bipartisan infrastructure deal will open up access to billions of dollars in funding to remediate pollution throughout New York, especially for Superfund and Brownfield (which are under state purview) sites. New York has 84 Superfund sites, which is more than 6% of all Superfund sites in the U.S. Superfund and Brownfield sites are abandoned waste sites – such as oil refineries, smelting facilities, mines, and other industrial areas – and often have negative environmental and economic impacts on the surrounding communities. Therefore, as New York emerges from the pandemic, Schumer said it is all the more important to ensure the cleanup of these waste sites in order to maximize the economic and environmental recovery of Upstate New York.
Additional details on major wins relating to pollution in New York:
* $3.5 billion available for 5 years for the Remedial account within the Hazardous Substance Superfund. This section of the bill would allow the Environmental Protection Agency to invest in clean-ups and continue moving forward on remedial actions for Superfund sites. Schumer has a long history fighting to clean up Superfund sites, and most recently visited the asbestos-ridden TechCity Site which was the home of IBM before the computer giant sold the property in 1998. There, he called for the EPA to begin cleaning up the toxic site in order to usher in new economic opportunities for Ulster communities. The senator also fought hard to protect federal funding for Superfund site cleanup last year when the previous administration proposed $100 million in cuts to the Hazardous Substance Superfund program.
* $1.2 billion for the Brownfields competitive grants while raising grant caps for half of the competitive grant funding under this section ($600 million). Schumer has championed federal funding for Brownfield cleanup in the Senate, delivering $1 million for sites throughout the Rochester region and Central New York in 2018 and nearly $570 thousand for the Brownfields Response Program which assists sites all over New York in 2017.
* $1.5 billion equally distributed over 5 years for State and Tribal Assistance Grants: Brownfields This section of the bill would provide significant investment into the Brownfields program to help communities, States, Tribes and others to assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse contaminated properties.
* $300 million for Brownfields categorical grants to support the development and progress being made under state-led Brownfields efforts. All state cost share requirements for this section have been waived.
* $14.45 billion from reinstating certain Superfund fees that will be collected over the next 10 years and provide a steady stream of funding to clean up Superfund sites.