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
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 NY 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.”
- 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 NY, 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.