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New York State Legislature Passes Environmental Legislation

Good news from Albany!  The New York State Legislature has come to a close and with it, the passage of four important pieces of environmental legislation.

Climate Change

The New York State Legislature passed a groundbreaking piece of legislation this June, aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change in New York.  This climate action plan is the most ambitious in the United States.

The bill, the “Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA),” requires net-zero emissions by 2050 and 70% renewable energy by 2030. The goal is effectively to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and replace those sources with cleaner, renewable energy.

The CLCPA set up a process to create a scoping plan, with guidance by a new 22-member Climate Action Council. The Council will report on current greenhouse gas emissions and progress, and adjust its plan as needed, every four years.

The bill also focuses on “climate justice” – directing 40 percent of all state investments in climate and clean energy to “disadvantaged communities,” areas most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Banning Toxic Chemicals

State lawmakers also passed a bill that would limit 1,4-dioxane in household products, to be effective at the end of 2022. 1,4-dioxane is an emerging contaminant that has been found in Long Island drinking water wells. It is more prevalent in Long Island’s water than anywhere else in the state and is classified by the EPA as a “likely carcinogen.”  The chemical is difficult and expensive to treat.

Another bill bans PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances), commonly used in firefoating foam, from being used or manufactured in New York. PFAS is a toxic chemical that has been linked to liver problems, low birth weight, some cancers and other health issues.  It has been detected in groundwater supplies at several sites across Long Island.

Water Pollution Lawsuits

And finally, state lawmakers passed a bill that would allow public water authorities to take water polluters to court in New York.  Water authorities would low have three years to sue polluters once contamination is detected, instead of when the contamination occurred.

These pieces of legislation would make great strides for the protection of our air, land and water. These important bills now await a signature from Governor Andrew Cuomo.