Iwanowicz: “Best Environmental Legislative Session in a Generation”

For Immediate Release: June 21, 2019

Brian Keegan: bkeegan@eany.org   518-462-5526 ext. 238

Iwanowicz: “Best Environmental Legislative Session in a Generation”

Long-Stalled Green Bills Pass Both Houses

Albany – Today, Environmental Advocates of New York labeled the 2019 legislative session the “best environmental legislative session in a generation,” due to passage of several impactful bills, some of which had been stalled for years. Bills that passed both the Senate and Assembly include legislation that will move New York off of fossil fuels, protect our drinking water, keep harmful chemicals out of products and toys, and guarantee New Yorkers a right to clean air and water.

Peter M. Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York said, “This has been the best environmental legislative session in a generation. Bills that have been environmental priorities for years passed the Legislature after having finally been given thoughtful and thorough consideration by new Senate leadership. We extend our gratitude to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Environmental Committee Chairs Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assembly Member Steve Englebright for their leadership in protecting our health and environment.”

Bills That Passed both the NYS Senate and Assembly Include:

  • NYS Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act: This bill establishes aggressive legally binding targets to move New York’s economy off fossil fuels, thereby significantly reducing climate pollution which poses a threat to our public health, environment, and economy.
  • PFAS-Free Firefighting Foam: This bill bans the use, manufacture, sale, and distribution of firefighting foam containing toxic PFAS chemicals, which has contaminated water supplies statewide.
  • 1,4-dioxane Ban: This bill prohibits the distribution and sale of household cleansing, personal care products, and cosmetic products containing 1,4 dioxane, other than in trace amounts.
  • Environmental Rights: This bill provides an amendment to the State Constitution that would guarantee New Yorkers a right to clean air, clean water, and a healthful environment. The bill must pass two consecutive legislative sessions before being approved by voters statewide.   
  • The Child Safe Products Act: This bill protects children from avoidable illness and toxic exposure by requiring disclosure and reporting of dangerous chemicals used in children’s products and empowers the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to ban a variety of dangerous chemicals, such as formaldehyde and asbestos.
  • Chlorpyrifos Ban: This bill phases out the use, distribution and sale of this dangerous pesticide.  This bill immediately prohibits the aerial spraying of chlorpyrifos, and seriously limits its use in agriculture applications, leading to a full ban of all product uses.

Bills That Have Been Signed Into Law

  • Trash It: This law creates “The Finger Lakes community preservation act,” the intent of which is to block the construction of garbage incineration in this regional of the state.  
  • Preventing Overfishing: This law prohibits the taking of menhaden from the waters of the marine district by use of a purse seine.
  • Oil and Natural Gas Drilling Prohibition: This law prevents the oil and gas industry from establishing extraction sites proximate to New York’s shoreline.

Budget Agreement

This year’s budget agreement included many positive and groundbreaking measures, including:

  • Congestion Pricing: This removes polluting tailpipes from NYC roads while also providing desperately-needed funding to improve mass transit.
  • Water Infrastructure Funding: $500 million was announced for water infrastructure projects such as sewer upgrades, replacing outdated water mains, and fixing crumbling wastewater plants.
  • Plastic Bag Ban: This bill bans most plastic bags in New York State as of March 2020.