2023 Priorities Action Agenda

In 2022, New Yorkers showed their overwhelming support for protecting the environment by passing the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act. The Bond Act secures $4.2 billion to fund critical environmental protection, sustainability, and restoration projects across the state, with focused investment in disadvantaged communities, and will create thousands of jobs. While these funds will be a critical start in funding projects across the state, more funding is needed to fully protect our communities from the deadly consequences of the climate crisis, the contamination of drinking water, and the environmental and public health impacts of solid waste and recycling systems failures. 

For two years in a row, New Yorkers across the political spectrum have voted to affirm they value clean water, clean air, and a healthier future for all. Now, state leaders must develop policies and laws that reflect the will of the people and achieve these priorities. 

Key Action Priorities for 2023

EANY calls for the state’s elected leaders to prioritize the following: 

  • Create a dedicated Climate and Community Protection Fund to facilitate the investment of at least $10 billion annually from the public and private sectors as a sustained source of funding to fully and equitably implement the Climate Scoping Plan and the mandates of the climate law.
  • Match the need for continued water investments with at least $1 billion annually in the Clean Water Infrastructure Act—to include specific funds for private well testing and treatment and lead service line replacements—toward achieving New York’s at least $80 billion drinking water and wastewater infrastructure need.
  • Establish packaging waste reduction and recycling legislation that holds producers accountable for the waste they produce, makes significant reductions in packaging waste, improves and supports municipal recycling programs, and reduces toxins in packaging.

Healthy Communities for All – Ensuring Clean and Vibrant Communities

For New Yorkers to thrive our communities need to be clean and healthy. New York communities, especially those disproportionately impacted by environmental injustices, are under threats every day from environmental stressors such as climate change and water quality.  But communities are also struggling with more local problems, such as plastic litter and pollution, suboptimal waste management and recycling systems, and toxics in our products and food systems.

This session we are advocating for a waste reduction and recycling program that will hold producers financially accountable for the packaging materials and waste they create and require them to significantly reduce packaging.  A successful program will support financial viability and improved municipal recycling programs, promote waste reduction, optimize recycling, increase recycled content, and reduce toxins in packaging.

In addition, we will advocate for complementary policy solutions, such as expansion of the state’s successful bottle container deposit law—by including non-carbonated beverages, wine bottles, spirits, and hard cider, while increasing the redeemable deposit to 10 cents—and policies that reduce or eliminate single-use plastics, like straws and cutlery. 

Lastly, we need to recognize and address the staggering impact of food waste. Food waste makes up 18% of all of New York’s waste, with about 3.9 million tons of wasted food ending up in landfills, where it slowly decays and becomes a major contributor to methane gas production. That is why we are advocating for mandatory food waste and composting solutions for state facilities and universities. 

Climate Security for All – Accelerating a Fossil Fuel–Free Future

The world is decades behind on the climate action necessary to ensure a livable future, but thankfully New York State is a world leader on equitable and bold climate policy, with the enactment of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) in 2019. Implementing the state’s ambitious greenhouse gas emissions and co-pollutant reduction targets and ensuring funding for this law are the driving force for climate advocacy. Meeting these goals and mandates will require an economy-wide transition off fossil fuels and prioritization of electrification of the buildings and transportation sectors. 

This session we will advocate for the passage of:

  • Legislation that will allow the Public Service Commission to meet the emission reduction mandates of the CLCPA with an orderly and equitable transition away from gas to full electrification of buildings. 
  • the Climate Accountability Act, to better align NYSERDA’s mission, structure, and programs with the equity and environmental justice focus of the CLCPA.
  • Legislation that addresses transmission constraints and interconnection delays, which represents the biggest challenge to bringing more renewables online. To meet the renewable energy mandates of the CLCPA, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) should be directed to implement projects to alleviate transmission constraints to facilitate the interconnection of land-based renewable and offshore wind projects.
  • the Green Transit Green Jobs Act that will assist in the just transition of electrifying all public transit. 
  • legislation that will address the environmental impacts of distribution warehouses.

Our climate program will also focus on implementation of the final Climate Scoping Plan and ensuring its recommendations are incorporated into the State Energy Plan through legislative and regulatory actions; advocating for full implementation of congestion pricing; and implementation the new Advanced Clean Car rules and ensuring the equitable and effective deployment of electric vehicle charging stations.

Clean Water for All – Protecting Water from Source to Tap

Protecting every New Yorker’s right to clean and affordable water remains at the forefront of our advocacy efforts. New Yorker’s drinking water is impacted each and every day from emerging contaminants, lead pipes, and other pollution sources.   

This session we will advocate for the passage of:

  • the Private Well Testing Act, which will help protect the nearly 2 million New Yorkers served by private wells from harmful chemicals or bacteria in their water. This legislation will help to ensure New Yorkers know what’s in their water.
  • the Lead Pipe Right to Know Act, which will ensure New Yorkers know how many lead pipes are in their community and where they are located. We also will advocate for additional funding and policies to replace 100% of the state’s estimated 360,000 lead pipes, which are contaminating the drinking water of millions of people.
  • the Equal Access to Water Act, which limits the use of water shutoffs and gives low-income New Yorkers tools to afford their water bills. These protections are necessary to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to clean and affordable water and are not deprived of a fundamental service. 
  • the Birds and Bees Protection Act, which will limit the unnecessary use of toxic neonic pesticides. Along with contributing to pollinator die-offs that threaten our food supply, neonics are contaminating our water and impacting fish and other aquatic species. With safer alternatives already on the market, New York must act to stop these pesticides from polluting our environment.

We are calling on Governor Hochul’s administration to show clean water leadership in two important ways. First, we urge the Governor to set drinking water standards on toxic PFAS chemicals as close to zero as possible. The latest science has concluded that there is no safe level of exposure to PFOA, PFOS, or similar PFAS. Setting the most health-protective drinking water standards will ensure dangerous contamination is cleaned up throughout the state.

Second, we urge the Governor to establish wetlands regulations that offer the strongest protections for these critical resources. Our wetlands are in danger of pollution and overdevelopment, posing risks to people and wildlife. Through comprehensive safeguards, these vital resources can continue to thrive without disruption.