2021 State Legislative Session Wraps Up With a Few Environmental Victories

The 2021 state legislative session came to a close late in the night on June 10th. For environmentalists, this session brought some major wins, but unfortunately, the session ended with a lot still to do to fight climate change. 

First, the good news. NYLCV has fought for years to protect New Yorkers, especially children, from being exposed to lead, which can cause permanent brain damage and other serious health problems. This year we successfully lobbied for legislation to better protect school children from lead in drinking water. The legislation unanimously passed both houses of the State Legislature last week. Watch our president Julie Tighe speak with News 12 Long Island about the legislation. Send a Thank You message to your legislator.

The legislature also passed the Family and Fire Fighter Protection Act to ban flame retardant chemicals, which can cause cancer and other serious health problems. This has been a major NYLCV priority for many years. Both houses of the legislature also acted to combat aquatic invasive species in the Adirondack Park, encourage the development of low carbon concrete, allow cross-utility community solar, adopt California’s Advanced Clean Car Rule, create a more favorable pricing system for high-speed electric vehicle charging stations, prohibit homeowners’ associations from banning rooftop solar panels, lower emissions from home heating oil, and ban single-use plastic toiletries in hotels. 

Unfortunately, a number of NYLCV-supported bills passed the State Senate but did not come up for a vote in the Assembly. These include the biggest expansion of wetlands protection in decades, setting a goal of preserving 30% of our land by 2030, setting aggressive new energy efficiency standards for buildings and household appliances, requiring flood risk disclosure at point of sale for real estate transactions, and allowing parks to install solar canopies in their parking lots without specific permission from the state legislature. We are of course disappointed, but we look forward to working with the Assembly to pass all of these bills. 

Several other NYLCV priorities did not pass either house of the legislature. Most importantly, the Clean Fuel Standard would lower transportation emissions by at least 20% over the next decade while an Extended Producer Responsibility law for packaging waste would require producers to reduce the amount of waste they generate and pay for the cost of recycling what they do generate. There was also no action on bills to get more electric transit buses, electric school buses, and electric cars on the road. NYLCV is eager to work with legislators over the summer and fall to continue building support for these bills and ensure they are on the agenda when the legislature reconvenes in January.