For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Laura Haight, NYPIRG, (518) 436-0876 x258
Brian Smith, Citizens Campaign, (716) 831-3206
Travis Proulx, Environmental Advocates, (518) 462-5526 x238
Dan Hendrick, League of Conservation Voters, (212) 361-6350 Advocates to Albany: Pass Super Bills this Earth DayHundreds Push Legislators on Common-Sense Bills to FightClimate Change, Develop Solar Power and More
Albany—With the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and other recent record-breaking storms weighing heavily on New Yorkers’ minds, hundreds of advocates from across the state traveled to Albany today for Earth Day Lobby Day where they met with elected officials and participated in a grassroots day of action urging the Senate and Assembly to act on a common-sense 2013 environmental Super Bills agenda that will:
- Reduce New York’s climate-altering emissions
- Remove toxic chemicals from children’s products
- Repower New York with clean solar energy
- Ensure that no decision on fracking is made before the science on its environmental and public health impacts is complete
For the first time ever, environmental groups are also including a platform issue of campaign finance reform as part of the Earth Day Lobby Day agenda, as too often bills with broad bipartisan support have fallen victim to corporate-funded legislative logjams.
Today’s event featured speakers from the state’s environmental community, as well as the Legislature’s Environmental Conservation Committee chairs: Senator Mark Grisanti and Assemblyman Bob Sweeney.
Laura Haight, Senior Environmental Associate at the New York Public Interest Research Group said, “This year’s Earth Day agenda is one of the most exciting and important ever. In addition to tackling critical environmental issues head-on – like fracking, climate change, and toxics in children’s products – we are also going to the core of what is blocking real progress on these issues: the pay-to-play system in Albany.”
Brian Smith, Program & Communications Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment said, “Hundreds of New Yorkers are traveling to Albany to tell Legislators what millions of New Yorkers are demanding—common sense solutions to threats ranging from toxic toys to dirty drilling to climate change. Passing the Super Bills will not only help to protect New York’s health and environment from these threats, but also provide new opportunities for New York’s economy to thrive. The Legislature and Governor must seize this opportunity, and pass the Super Bills this session.”
David VanLuven, Policy Director of Environmental Advocates of New York said, “Last year’s inaction cannot be repeated. Governor Cuomo is moving to modernize New York’s energy infrastructure and protect residents against the worst effects of climate change, now the Legislature must show leadership and pass meaningful legislation. This year’s Super Bills are as common-sense as they come. The Super Bills are a roadmap for legislators to turn their words into action before leaving Albany in June.”
The 2013 Earth Day/Super Bills AgendaFracking Moratorium & Health Impacts Assessment (A.5424-A/S.4236-A)This legislation requires a comprehensive health impact assessment to determine the public health repercussions of fracking. The assessment must be completed by April 15, 2015. The bill also ensures that no gas drilling permits will be issued for drilling within the Marcellus or Utica Shales prior to the assessment’s completion. New York Solar Bill (A.5060/S.2522)This legislation will solidify New York’s commitment to solar energy by establishing, in statute, a stable and predictable incentive program through 2023. The creation of a robust, long-term solar initiative will provide market-certainty which manufacturers, developers, and installers need to invest in New York State. Many other states are moving forward with solar energy development, which is expected to be the second most produced new form of energy in 2013. Child Safe Products Act (A. 6328/S.4614)This legislation requires better regulation of toxic chemicals in children’s products. It will prioritize chemicals based on the likelihood for children to be exposed to them, and require disclosure by children’s product manufacturers as to whether their products contain the worst offending chemicals. It will also phase out children’s products made with these chemicals starting January 1, 2018. Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emission/Climate Protection Act (A.6327/S.735)The Climate Protection Act establishes a timetable for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in New York by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, as recommended by international climate experts. These bills cap greenhouse gas emissions from all measurable sources in NY starting in 2016 and then incrementally lower that cap, starting with a 20% reduction by the year 2020, with additional 10% reductions every five years. They also require the state to develop a plan to adapt to the environmental threats posed by climate change. Campaign Finance ReformKnowing that bills with broad bipartisan support often fall victim to corporate-funded logjams in Albany, advocates are also urging campaign finance reform that has:
- A public financing program modeled after the system used in New York City.
- A new, truly independent oversight and enforcement body.
- Contribution limits (currently $60,800 for candidates for statewide office and effectively unlimited for political parties) lowered for all political committees.
- Rules that clearly ban “pay-to-play” to reduce contribution limits for lobbyists and contractors doing business with the state.
- Improved disclosure requirements.
This year’s event was sponsored by the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Citizen Action of New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Clean and Healthy New York, Environmental Advocates of New York, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York Interfaith Power and Light, New York League of Conservation Voters, New York Public Interest Research Group, Open Space Institute/Alliance for NYS Parks, Parks & Trails New York, Protect the Adirondacks, Riverkeeper, Sierra Club, Vote Solar Initiative, and other organizations.