NYLCV Reacts to End of Legislative Session

New York League of Conservation Voters
(212) 361-6350

For Immediate Release: June 21, 2018
Contact: Shachar Sharon

Modest Environmental Gains During 2018 State Legislative Session
State Legislature Fails to Pass Several Pieces of Environmental Legislation

New York, N.Y. – This year’s state legislative session came to a close with a few modest gains for New York’s environment. However, legislative leaders failed to pass many bills that had the potential to bring significant environmental benefits to the state.

“At a time when the Empire State needed to strike back against the environmental and public health assaults of the Trump administration, our state legislative leaders instead struck out, putting partisan brinkmanship ahead of robust protections for water we drink, the air we breathe and the natural resources we cherish, “ said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “While we are pleased that both houses passed several bills that will improve our environment including the Drug Take Back Act, it was disappointing to see many bills that would have been able to easily pass both houses not be brought up for a vote due to partisan squabbling. From bills that would have brought additional speed cameras in school zones to legislation that would have prohibited unsustainable menhaden fishing practices, the State Senate failed to follow through on its obligation to fight for New Yorkers’ public and environmental health. The Assembly also bears the burden of killing a hard-fought compromise on paint stewardship. We are troubled that more of our state legislators did not make fighting climate change or protecting our natural resources priorities this session. Incumbent legislators will answer for their record when they face the voters in November; in the interim, NYLCV will closely evaluate their performance through our legislative scorecard and only endorse those who have shown leadership by their willingness to work across the aisle and fight for New Yorkers.”

Both houses passed the Drug Take Back Act (A9576/S7354), which will protect public health as well as the health of New York’s waterways, legislation to enact standards for pollinator-friendly solar arrays (A8083-A/S6339-A), which will benefit New York’s agriculture as well as its development of renewable energy, and the Working Farm Protection Act (A10301-B/S8362-A), which will add enhanced affordability provisions to the State’s farmland preservation program.

While these bills are expected to be enacted into law, many bills that overwhelmingly passed in one legislative chamber were not brought up for a vote in the other. The Assembly passed several conservation bills including prohibiting offshore drilling (A9819, passed 121-8) and prohibiting menhaden fishing with purse seins (A10506, passed 134-0) that the Senate leadership failed to bring up for a vote. The Assembly failed to pass legislation on paint stewardship (A11245, Senate same-as passed 60-0), which would divert hazardous paint waste from the state’s landfills.

NYLCV will use the votes and co-sponsorships of these and other key environmental bills during development of its annual State Legislative Environmental Scorecard. View the bills selected for the scorecard here. The scorecard will be a significant factor in making endorsements this Summer for the state legislative elections.

The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) 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. Follow NYLCV on Facebook and Twitter.