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Hochul hesitant to approve additional air quality sensors despite rising smoke issues

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul refrained from committing to the installation of additional air quality sensors, even as she recognized the increasing likelihood of smoky, potentially harmful air being the “new normal” in the state’s future.

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Currently, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) operates 53 such sensors across New York, most densely in the New York City area.

The Governor emphasized that most citizens have access to an air quality index on their mobile devices.

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However, these typically rely on privately generated data, while the state’s air quality alerts depend on what the DEC can access.

The DEC explained that the existing monitoring sites, costing between $50,000 to over $1 million to set up and $100,000 annually to maintain, are sufficient for regional air quality forecasts.

Meeting strict EPA guidelines for these sites can be time-consuming, with utilities, secure access, and often legal agreements required for the locations, officials said.