Watchdog Report: Issues Decided This Week

The state budget is the most significant responsibility that the governor and state legislators have to fulfill each year. And this year we are working with our partners to get several good measures over the finish line, doing what we do best, stopping bad ideas – like fracking – from gaining ground. Already this month, thousands of you have used our new Action Center to call, email, tweet and Facebook your elected officials to make your voice heard. Your actions are making a difference. THANK YOU.

Below is a roundup of the key issues we’re tracking in these final days of budget negotiation. If you haven’t taken at least one action yet, please don’t wait. If you’ve acted on an issue, here is your chance to speak up on another. Your voice is needed now more than ever!

Oil trains

Big Oil should be responsible for the costs of cleaning up their spills, right? Unfortunately, the state’s Oil Spill Fund has been stuck at the same level since 1977, even as there has been a 4,000-percent increase in oil transport over the last six years. That means a single spill could wipe out the entire fund. Environmental Advocates and our partners are calling on Governor Cuomo and state legislators to raise the cap on the Oil Spill Fund – which is paid for by industry – to $100 million. Big Oil is fighting this proposal, but it’s what is right for our communities, environment and public health. Take action today! 

Brownfields reform

You see them – the dirty, toxic, abandoned factories, gas stations and dry cleaners. There are thousands of these sites statewide, and their cleanup is crucial. Unfortunately, the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program is costing taxpayers too much to clean up too little. Our new report, Ripe for Reform, documents how the state has spent $1.4 billion to clean up just 170 sites. We need meaningful reform of this program in this budget for the health of our communities. Let your elected officials know you want New York to clean up more dirty brownfields!


Boil water alerts. Burst water mains. Closed waterways due to sewage overflow. These kinds of incidents are happening more and more because the state’s drinking water and sewer infrastructure is crumbling. We’re seeing incredible leadership from many state legislators who recognize that investments in our communities clean water infrastructure is good for our health, environment and ability to attract new economic development. We’re very close to getting dedicated investments for these projects – if you haven’t already told Governor Cuomo that you support efforts to #FixOurPipes, your action today may make the difference!

Cuomo’s climate raid

Instead of building on one of the nation’s most innovative climate action programs, Governor Cuomo and Senate leaders have proposed raiding funds designated for clean energy development and energy efficiency projects to use them for other purposes. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is responsible for thousands of projects statewide – projects that benefit every single county in New York. To date, it has raised $760 million for initiatives like solar panels on schools and community centers, and clean energy job training programs. We should be building on RGGI’s success, not tearing it down when the nation is looking to New York to be a climate leader. Let Governor Cuomo and state legislators know you support climate action, and to leave RGGI alone!