Last week, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected most of the state’s request for a $511 million loan, finding that the money would be used for construction purposes, not for enhancing the environment.
In June, the state asked for $511 million in funds the EPA provides for environmental projects under the Clean Water Act for 12 projects that it said would enhance the environment and clean the river, such as dredging the river bottom, tearing down the existing bridge and reducing noise during construction to protect sturgeon. The funds would have gone through the state Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), which approved them in June.
But the EPA rejected seven of the 12 project funding requests, saying that they fall outside of the purposes of the Clean Water Act, under which money has usually been used for sewage treatment plants and other methods of cleaning polluted waters. The rejected projects totaled $481.8 million, while those accepted totaled just $29.1 million.
Gov. Cuomo said that the state will appeal the loan rejection.