Today, the Senate Democratic Majority will pass legislation to mark Earth Day and further advance the Conference’s efforts to protect natural resources and waterways from Harlem to the Hudson.
The legislation put forth in this package builds on the work accomplished in last year’s legislative session to solidify New York’s position as a national leader in environmental protection. The bills advanced today will protect the State’s waterways from pollution by extending protection to class C streams; ban the use of hydrofracking wastewater in our highways; keep dangerous PFAS chemicals out of more products; help support local efforts to remove lead pipes from New York’s water supply with the Lead Pipe Right to Know Act; and add lakes to the areas eligible to participate in the Municipal Adoption Program.
This environmental conservation package also includes legislation that will reduce food waste; help farmers find a beneficial use for their unwanted tires; strengthen the State’s procurement practices by enacting the New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act; protect wildlife by passing the New York Wildlife Crossing Act, and bolster enforcement of environmental laws by enacting the Bottle Redemption Fraud Task Force. This slate of legislation also expands our infrastructure for a greener future by requiring certain State parking facilities to install electric vehicle charging stations and provides credits for excess electricity generated.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “New York is continuing to lead the nation on climate action and sustainable practices, with this package of legislation being the latest example of our commitment to the fight. The investments we make in our communities today won’t matter if there isn’t a habitable planet tomorrow. That’s why we will continue moving the needle on environmental protection and preservation, so that generations from now, New Yorkers can still live safely in the places they call home. I thank the Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, Senator Harckham, and all of the bill sponsors, for their diligent work on this matter.”
Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, Senator Peter Harckham, said, “To continue serving as responsible stewards of our environment we must look for new ways to approach hard-to-solve problems in order to effectively safeguard our natural resources. The Streams Protection bill commits us to ensuring the quality of our drinking water and still permits residents to enjoy non-contact activities on certain waterways. And the Food Donation bill will lessen greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the amount of unused food and feeding countless residents instead—a real win-win for us statewide in both the short- and long-term. Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and my Senate colleagues deserve a lot of credit for bringing this legislative package forward and introducing important bills.”
The legislation being passed by the Senate Democratic Majority includes:
- New York Wildlife Crossing Act: This bill, S4198, sponsored by Senator Leroy Comrie, directs the Department of Transportation to identify sites along all highways, thruways and parkways in the state where wildlife crossings are most needed to increase public safety and improve habitat connectivity and create a priority list of wildlife opportunity areas to implement the top five projects identified.
- Stream Protection: This bill, S1725, sponsored by Senator Peter Harckham, will provide protection for certain streams by adding class C streams to the list of protected streams.
- Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Program: This bill, S5331, sponsored by Senator Peter Harckham, will expand the food donation and food scraps recycling program by scaling down the annual average tonnage requirement every two years until 2027. This legislation will make excess food more available to qualifying entities that work to address food insecurity and result in less food waste.
- Ban of PFAS in Anti-Fogging Sprays and Wipes: This bill, S992, sponsored by Senator Hoylman-Sigal, will prohibit the sale and distribution of anti-fogging sprays and wipes containing PFAS chemicals.
- Parking Garage Electric Vehicles Charging Stations: This bill, S1535, sponsored by Senator Hoylman-Sigal, requires certain state owned and operated parking garages, open parking lots and other parking facilities to install and maintain charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles.
- Prohibits Drilling Fluids and Flowback Water For De-icing: This bill, S1538, sponsored by Senator Hoylman-Sigal, prohibits the use of waste water from hydrofracking, which contains chemicals and radioactive contaminants from being used on any highway for any purpose including de-icing or dust suppression.
- The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act: This bill, S4859, sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger, enacts the New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act requiring that companies contracting with the state do not contribute to tropical primary forest degradation or deforestation directly or through their supply chains. It also establishes the supply chain transparency assistance program to assist small and medium-sized businesses and minority- and women-owned businesses in achieving compliant supply chains.
- Bottle Redemption Fraud Task Force: This bill, S3419, sponsored by Senator John Mannion, establishes the Bottle Redemption Fraud Task Force to provide the Governor and the Legislature with information on the fraud, enforcement, and reporting requirements related to the New York State Returnable Container Act.
- Adopt a Lake Program: This bill, S4636, sponsored by Senator Rachel May would add lakes to those areas that are eligible to participate in the Municipal Adoption Program, allowing volunteer groups to enter into agreements to maintain these natural resources.
- Credits for Excess Electricity: This bill, S4304, sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker, provides that credits for excess electricity generated by customer generators subject to net energy metering may be carried over and used to offset electricity used.
- Waste Tire Management and Recycling Fee Funds: This bill, S1688, sponsored by Senator James Sanders, expands permitted uses of funding in the Waste Tire Management and Recycling Program so that it can be used for agricultural reuse demonstration projects and analysis of other reuse opportunities. This legislation will help farmers find a beneficial use for their unwanted tires by expanding the existing authorization for the Department of Economic Development to conduct market analysis, including demonstration projects related to reuse in agricultural settings.
- The Lead Pipe Right to Know Act: This bill, S5512, sponsored by Senator Gustavo Rivera would enact the Lead Pipe Right to Know Act requiring public water systems to take service line inventories and make information about the number and location of lead pipes easily accessible to the public and decision-makers, so that state and federal resources can be secured and efficiently targeted to support local efforts to get the lead out of New York’s drinking water by removing all lead pipes.
Bill Sponsor Senator Leroy Comrie said, “The New York Wildlife Crossings Act makes use of federally allocated funding to address a long overlooked road safety and insurance threat to drivers on our highways and thruways. Annual state estimates report roughly two traffic fatalities and over 30,000 reported collisions with wildlife which cost the lives of drivers and rack up millions in no fault insurance claims. By safely accommodating the migration of wildlife in New York, this bill will protect humans and animals alike. I am happy to sponsor this bill and thank our Majority Leader, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins for allowing it to advance.”
Bill Sponsor Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal said “Protecting our planet for future generations is one of the most important responsibilities we have as legislators. I’m proud to be a part of a legislative majority that prioritizes fighting climate change and protects the environment with this Senate Earth Day package. I’m grateful to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Environmental Committee Chair Pete Harckham for their leadership in advancing this environmental legislation, including my bills to limit the toxic chemical PFAS (S992), increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations (S1535) and prohibit fracking waste water from being used on highways (S1538).”
Bill Sponsor Senator Liz Krueger said “I’m proud to join my Senate Majority colleagues as we pass this package of bills for Earth Week. While we continue to fight for vital climate legislation in the budget, today’s bill package reaffirms our commitment to taking thoughtful and responsible action across the board to protect the environment we all share. The Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act will ensure that New York’s taxpayer dollars are not driving the tropical deforestation that contributes to the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and the plundering of indigenous lands across the globe. It puts New York at the forefront of a global movement to end humanity’s self-destructive level of deforestation.”
Bill Sponsor Senator John Mannion said “The creation of this task force marks an important step forward in our commitment to protecting the environment and combating fraud in the bottle redemption program. Fraudulent redemption of beverage containers can result in a significant loss of funds that could have been invested in environmental programs, and we need to understand the scope of the problem and identify solutions. This task force will allow for collaboration between agencies and provide critical information that will inform future legislation to reduce fraud and solid waste issues. I am proud to sponsor this bill and look forward to its positive impact on our state’s environmental efforts.”
Bill Sponsor Senator Rachel May said “Lakes are an intrinsic part of life in Upstate New York. They are the centers of communities, and they provide drinking water, recreation, and jobs for many New Yorkers. That’s why we must protect these precious resources for the health and well-being of future generations. My Adopt-a-Lake Program will give all New Yorkers the opportunity to connect with their lakes and to ensure the surrounding land is free from litter and remain beautiful natural areas that can be enjoyed for years to come.”
Bill Sponsor Senator Rivera said “New York has stepped up to answer the call and lead the country in progressive climate change legislation. I am proud to sponsor the Lead Pipe Right to Know Act, which will make information about the number and location of lead pipelines easily accessible to New Yorkers in an effort to get lead out of New York’s drinking water. I want to thank the Majority Leader for including my bill in this package and always working to protect New York’s environment and New Yorkers’ health.”
Bill Sponsor Senator James Sanders said “This legislation will promote the recycling of used tires on farms. More recycling means less waste resulting in a healthier environment for people to enjoy.”
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director at Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE), said, “CCE commends the Senate for passing a slate of bills that will help address a broad range of environmental challenges. Fighting climate change, protecting clean water, and reducing food waste across the state are actions that will benefit every New Yorker. Enhanced protection for streams, wildlife and public health are issues strongly supported by the public and will move New York forward as a leader in protecting our natural resources. We thank Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Senator Harckham, and other environmental champions in the Senate for their leadership.”
Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, said, “Everyday is Earth Day when it comes to the responsible stewardship of our planet. The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance applauds the Senate Democratic Majority for advancing this timely legislation, which will not only target critical issues in the moment, but will have a long-lasting impact on our communities and climate for years to come. We thank the Majority for their continued leadership on environmental action, and look forward to our ongoing partnership as we build towards a more sustainable, just, and greener future.”
Jeremy Cherson, Riverkeeper Senior Manager of Government Affairs, said, “The Senate’s Earth Day package makes a number of improvements to New York’s environmental laws including extending new protections to 41,000 miles of streams which provide wildlife habitat and drinking water for many communities and will stop oil and gas waste from being used as deicing fluid on roadways. This legislative package passed by the Senate will help ensure a safer, cleaner, and healthier future for residents and the environment in New York. Riverkeeper is grateful to the Senate for moving this outstanding package of bills forward.”
NY Renews coalition said,“NY Renews thanks the Senate for its Earth Week bill package, which includes legislation that will help get lead and toxic products out of our homes, expand NY’s food scraps and food donation recycling programs, protect wildlife, and defend the health and quality of our waterways. As we look toward the remainder of this year’s legislative session, our coalition is hopeful that the Senate will continue to lead by passing key climate and environmental justice legislation within the Climate, Jobs & Justice Package to ensure that we take care of both people and planet by starting close to home, here in New York State.”
Patrick McClellan, Policy Director for the New York League of Conservation Voters, said, “The New York League of Conservation Voters proudly supports the New York State Senate’s Earth Week legislative package. From addressing ‘forever chemicals’ to promoting electric vehicle infrastructure, protecting streams and wildlife, advancing tire and food scrap recycling, and enacting the Lead Pipe Right to Know Act, and more, this slate of bills addresses several NYLCV priorities that impact the environment and public health. We commend the Senate for advancing these measures and for their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability.”
Rob Hayes, Director of Clean Water with Environmental Advocates NY, said, “In 2021, New Yorkers voted overwhelmingly to add a right to clean water to our state constitution. Today, the State Senate has advanced several bills to safeguard this invaluable resource. We applaud Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and her conference for taking action to protect over 40,000 miles of streams and increase transparency about dangerous lead pipes. These bills are important steps towards a greener future, and we look forward to working with the Senate to advance other meaningful environmental legislation this session.”
Photo credit: Convent Park in Harlem.