The First Local Government to Act: Watchdog Report

Plastics in Our Water

You’ve seen them: the thousands of tiny plastic balls that companies put in our face wash and toothpaste. What consumers aren’t told is that these are non-biodegradable microbeads which wash down the drain and into our waterways. Notonly are they causing rampant pollution in our rivers and lakes, but they are mistaken as food by wildlife and then make their way into the food chain.

Environmental Advocates applauds the Erie County Legislature for being the first county in the state to #BanTheBead! That effort, which was signed into law yesterday, had unanimous support from Republicans and Democrats, and sets the stage for statewide action. A similar measure exists in the state Legislature where it passed the Assembly with nearly unanimous bipartisan support. Despite being sponsored by nearly 60 percent of state senators, new Majority Leader John Flanagan failed to allow a vote. Although it is wonderful that local governments have the ability to step in and pass these common-sense measures  

because of inaction in Albany, this should not have to be the case. We appreciate their leadership and encourage other municipalities to follow suit, but Albany needs to pass a statewide law to #BanTheBead!

Tackling Waste

Environmental Advocates has spent the summer educating the public about waste like plastic foam containers and single use plastic bags, which both wreak havoc on our environment, wildlife, and health. This fall we will deliver petitions to Governor Cuomo and legislators urging statewide bans in 2016. Have you already added your name?

One trillion plastic bags are used annually – the Guinness Book of World Records calls them the most ubiquitous consumer product in history, and they are found everywhere from the world’s highest peaks to the greatest depths of the sea. Sign our petition for a ban today!

It takes 500 to 1000 years for plastic foam containers to break down – these are containers you use once and are done with after 30 minutes. Sign our petition for a ban today!

What Obama’s Clean Power Plan Means

Earlier this month, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Clean Power Plan – the nation’s first cap on carbon pollution from power plants. We are often asked, “What does the Clean Power Plan really mean?” It means that polluters out west will no longer get a free pass to foul New York’s air. It means that kids’ health is a priority, and that kids have the right to grow up breathing clean air. And, it means that the United States is finally moving down the path to a clean, green and growing economy, rather than propping up outdated and failing fossil fuels. With solar and wind power generating record amounts of power, and world leaders convening to discuss climate change later this year, momentum for action is on our side and the Clean Power Plan tells the world that the U.S. is prepared to lead.

Just two months ago, several of New York’s own Representatives actually voted to block the Clean Power Plan and gut the Clean Air Act, such as the North Country’s Elise Stefanik, Long Island’s Lee Zeldin and Peter King, and Central New York’s John Katko. This shows that while momentum is on our side, we cannot let up. Industry and their allies in Congress will do everything they can to undermine science, block progress, and profit at our expense.

Because New York was a leader in creating the visionary Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), we’re well on our way to meeting the goals required for our state within the Clean Power Plan. And over the coming months and years, we will be leading the effort to ensure that Governor Cuomo keeps his promise that 50 percent of our energy come from renewable sources by 2030 and that carbon pollution is cut by 80 percent by 2050. That means these goals need to pass into state law to ensure decisions are made with a clear eye on whether they help or hurt our climate and public health. More details to come!