NY Conservation Voters group releases agenda

The New York League of Conservation Voters recently released its 2019 statewide agenda, and while some of the items relate to traffic around New York City, many of the items would affect the environment all around the Empire State.

“The 2019 New York State Policy Agenda will drive our advocacy throughout the legislative session, and will guide the bills we select for our Environmental Scorecard,” the report says. “We focus on five major issue areas: ensuring adequate funding for the environment, addressing the causes and effects of climate change, protecting the health of New Yorkers and their communities, conservation of natural resources, and protecting agricultural lands.

“In the wake of recent sobering reports on the impacts of climate change and the short time frame that we have to act on it, now is the time for New York to adopt policies on climate change across the spectrum, from reaching carbon neutrality to renewable energy siting to investing in zero emission transportation.

“We must also continue to invest in clean water, preserve the state’s forests and working farms, protect children from toxic chemicals, and plan for a more resilient future.”

NYLCV says that its top priorities are congestion pricing in and around New York City, climate change, clean transportation, reducing food waste, improving recycling and clean water.

The group also says that a goal is to ensure adequate funding for the state’s environmental efforts, including keeping the Environmental Protection Fund’s $300 million budget, fully funding mass transit efforts around the state, provide funding for clean water infrastructure and increase funding for state environmental agencies.

“Increase funding and resources, especially for additional personnel, to the agencies charged with protecting and preserving the environment and public health, including the Departments of Environmental Conservation, Public Service, and Health, as well as the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation,” the agenda says. NYLCV also wants to see budgetary support for the New York Energy Research and Development Authority, especially for energy efficiency programs and research and development.

The group also wants to see more effort put into addressing the causes of climate change, including increased use of solar energy and streamlined processes for the siting of large-scale renewable energy projects.

In order to increase sustainable development and resiliency, the NYLCV says it wants the state to “Require utilities and transportation agencies and authorities to integrate climate change science into planning, construction, and budget decisions,” as well as increase green infrastructure and promote sustainable growth and revitalization.

Within transportation infrastructure, the NYLCV wants the state to encourage more walkable and bikable neighborhoods and increase the infrastructure for zero emissions electric vehicles, as well as “Support the expansion of programs and services, such as car sharing, bike sharing, and other alternative modes of transportation that enable greater mobility in areas not served by mass transit and reduce single occupancy vehicle use.”

Reducing waste and the amount of material that goes to landfills is also a priority for the group, and it wants the state to reduce the use of plastic bags, require large-scale food producers to divert waste to food banks or composting facilities and implement the Drug Take Back Act of 2018.

Water and air quality also loom large in the agenda. The state should “Improve the Safe School Drinking Water Act with permanent stringent, up-to-date standards to ensure that public schools with lead-containing fixtures address them in a timely manner. Expand the law to include testing for nursery schools, preschools, and private schools and provide funding for such testing where appropriate,” and “Ensure that State energy plans and regulations provide for the reduction of particulates, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide emissions so that residents living near distributed power generators and large-scale fossil fuel plants, particularly environmental justice communities, do not experience adverse air quality impacts.”

NYLCV also wants New York to match the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s safe levels for lead in blood and enact legislation that would require the disclosure of toxic chemicals in consumer products.

Along with a number of Adirondack green groups, the league wants to make boat inspections in the Adirondacks and Catskills mandatory to cut down on the introduction of invasive species, and increase funding for invasive species programs.

Also in the agenda is a call for legislation that would prohibit offshore drilling in state waters and “Examine the cumulative impacts of clear cutting on private lands within the Adirondack Park and support the use of sustainable forest management practices.”

For agricultural interests, the league says the state should improve transportation options for local food, create programs to support new farmers, explore farming programs that help sequester carbon from the atmosphere and “Develop policies to support pollinator colonies and better understand and prevent pollinator collapse.”

Read the full agenda at www.nylcv.org/news/green-policy-priorities-2019.


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