New York League of Conservation Voters
Contact: Shachar Sharon
For Immediate Release
June 21, 2019
NYLCV Praises State Legislature for a Record Green Session
Legislature Passed Numerous Pieces of Environmental Legislation
Albany, N.Y. – This year’s state legislative session ended with historic gains for New York’s environment. Numerous bills passed that fight climate change, conserve New York’s waterways and biodiversity, permit new low-emission transportation options, encourage the use of renewable energy, reduce waste, and protect children’s health. Of the 16 bills NYLCV flagged as potential scorecard bills for the 2019 session, 11 passed – an incredible success.
“We are ecstatic that this year’s legislative session so green,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “This was the best session for the environment in memory, and it would not have been possible without the leadership of Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Carl Heastie, Environmental Conservation Committee Chairs Todd Kaminsky and Steve Englebright, and Energy Committee Chairs Kevin Parker and Michael Cusick.”
At the centerpiece of the session was the passage of the Climate leadership and Community Protect act, the strongest climate legislation in the country (A. 8429 Englebright/S. 6599 Kaminsky), which will be a model for other states. This legislation will make our economy carbon neutral by 2050, including a requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85%, as well as obtaining 70% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and moving to 100% clean power by 2040. A minimum of 35% of clean energy and energy efficiency funds collected will be directed towards disadvantaged communities with a goal of 40% investment. A 22-member Climate Action Council will be created and is tasked with developing plans and recommendations on how to achieve these requirements.
The legislature also passed bills that will reduce toxins from the environment. In honor of Earth Day, both houses passed the Child Safe Products Act (A. 6296-A Englebright/S. 501-B Kaminsky), also known as the Toxic Toys bill, which has been a priority for NYLCV for ten years. The legislation bans chemicals that are at high risk to children’s health and requires manufacturers to report chemicals in their products. It will both protect children’s health and reduce environmental pollution. At the end of session, the legislature passed S. 4351 (Kennedy)/ A. 6373 (Englebright), which establishes a responsible system for the collection, recycling, and proper disposal of leftover paint products. This legislation has also been an NYLCV priority for several years. It will reduce the volume of these products in our landfills, save taxpayers money, and protect the health of sanitation workers. Both houses also took action to ban 1,4-dioxane (A6295A Englebright/S4389B Kaminsky) from consumer products, which will protect water quality across the state but especially on Long Island, and to extend the statute of limitations for water authorities to sue polluters (S. 3337-C Gaughran/A. 5477-C Thiele).
Lawmakers passed legislation that would legalize electric bicycles and scooters in New York (A. 7431-B/S. 5294A). These low-emission transportation options will reduce traffic congestion, enhance air quality, and make our streets more livable, and their legalization also removes antiquated restrictions on working-class families.
Legacy renewable energy will also be protected with the passage of S. 23 (Parker)/A4294 (Cusick), which establishes utility support for existing hydropower and wind power facilities to ensure that our clean energy goals are achieved as economically as possible.
Earlier this year, the State Senate and Assembly passed two bills to protect New York’s waterways. A. 2572 (Englebright)/S. 2316 (Kaminsky) bans offshore drilling and pipeline infrastructure in the state. A. 2571 (Englebright)/S. 2317 (Kaminsky) bans purse seine fishing of the Atlantic menhaden, a species that was previously nearly facing extinction.
NYLCV will continue to work with stakeholders as these policies are implemented.
The New York League of Conservation Voters is the only non-partisan, statewide environmental organization in New York that takes a pragmatic approach to fighting for clean water, healthy air, renewable energy, and open space. For more information, visit www.nylcv.org.