NYLCV Focuses on Post-Budget Legislative Priorities

By Peter Aronson

At the New York League of Conservation Voters, we never take our foot off the pedal as we strive to reduce the state’s carbon footprint.

The New York State fiscal year budget has passed with some significant environmental wins. Now, we are turning our attention to our post-budget legislative priorities, and in the coming weeks we will be asking you and all New Yorkers to write their state legislators in support of the following pending bills or issues:

  1. The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (SB 4246): The bill, which is now in the Senate Finance Committee, is one of the NYLCV’s top priorities in 2023 and is part of the plan to “reduce waste sent to landfills by 90% by 2040,” as we stated in our 2023 State Agenda. With the average New Yorker producing an astonishing five pounds of trash per day, accumulating to a total of 15 million tons of waste statewide per year, Sen. Pete Harckham’s bill would shift the burden and responsibility for reducing packaging waste to the producing companies. Specifically, the bill, if it becomes law, would require companies with net income of more than $1 million who sell or distribute certain materials and products to reduce packaging and toxins in the packaging and improve and help pay for municipal recycling. For more info, please see this NYLCV’s article.

  2. Clean Fuel Standard (SB 1292): This legislation, also in the Senate Finance Committee, would amend state law to require the development of a clean fuel standard in New York State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. The transportation sector is the highest single source of carbon pollution in New York State and this bill would require all fuel suppliers to reduce carbon levels in their fuels to 20 percent below 2017 levels by 2031.

  3. The NY HEAT Act (SB 2016): The NY HEAT Act, or the Home Energy Affordable Transition Act, would push gas utilities in a new direction, enabling them to comply with New York’s Climate Act while helping their customers switch to affordable zero-emissions heating and cooling. The bill, currently in the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, will ensure energy affordability by capping energy bills for low-income customers, avoiding billions of dollars in new gas infrastructure investments, and investing in energy saving home improvements. Passing the NY HEAT Act would end the “100 foot rule” for new gas hookups, protect low- and middle-income ratepayers, and accelerate our transition off fossil fuels.

  4. In order for New York State to attain its goal of zero carbon emissions from cars, pickups and SUVs by 2025, it’s imperative that New York State increase its EV infrastructure around the state. Drivers need to be confident that they can “tank up” when needed in a convenient, cost-effective way. We encourage state and local legislators and all municipalities to prioritize installing EV charging stations throughout the state.

  5. Lead Pipe Right to Know Act (SB 5512): The act, which passed the Senate on April 25, would require public water utilities to take service line inventories and make this info available to the public. This would help the state and local communities understand the full extent of lead service problems in New York State.
  6. Birds and Bees Act (SB 1856): The act, in the Environmental Conservation Committee, would eliminate the use of unnecessary and harmful pesticides by New York farms. These so-called “neurotoxic neonicotinoid” pesticides devastate bees, birds and other pollinators critical to New York’s food security, agriculture and environment. Pollinators provide an estimated $1.2 billion worth of New York pollinator-dependent crops, including apples, squash, tomatoes, blueberries, and cherries, among others. But just last year, the average New York beekeeper lost more than 45% of their honey bee colonies— one of the worst years on record, with overwhelming scientific evidence that these pesticides are causing these pollinator declines.

We urge the state legislature to support all of these measures during the post-budget legislative session. Our environment depends on it!

05.14.23 // AUTHOR: Devin Callahan //