– Clean Energy Tops List Of Environmental “Super Bills” For 2012

February 23, 2012

Adirondack Mountain Club, Audubon New York, Citizens Campaign For The Environment, Environmental Advocates Of New York, Long Island Environmental Voters Forum, Long Island Pine Barrens Society, New York League Of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Tri-state Transportation Campaign

Clean Energy Tops List Of Environmental “Super Bills” For 2012

Green Super Bills Designed to Invigorate NY’s Solar Industry & Create Jobs, Close Hazardous Waste Loophole for Fracking & Cut Climate Pollution

Albany, NY (02/23/2012)—New York’s leading environmental groups today released their annual slate of “Super Bills” for 2012. These green priorities for the State Legislature include measures designed to bolster economic development while addressing New York’s highest profile environmental challenges, including expanding the use of solar energy, cutting the pollution that is changing our climate and protecting the state’s waters and communities from gas drilling by means of “fracking” by closing a loophole that exempts the oil and gas industry from responsibly treating drilling waste. The groups also announced this year’s Earth Day Lobby Day will be held on April 25.

“New York’s leaders tell us they support cleaner and more sustainable energy. And elected officials say they will act responsibly before opening the floodgates to fracking in the Marcellus Shale,” said Dave Gahl, Deputy Director, Environmental Advocates NY. “We’re calling on the Legislature to pass the 2012 Super Bills and send a message—New York is open for business—clean, safe business that creates new jobs, holds industry accountable and benefits our communities with clean air and safe water.”

“New York State leaders have the opportunity to propel the state into a clean energy economy and protect New York’s environment and economy from the consequences of dirty energy choices,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “Citizens Campaign for the Environment urges the Legislature and Governor Cuomo to stand up for clean air, clean water, job creation and a strong economy by enacting the 2012 Super Bills.”

“To protect the water quality of New York’s lakes, rivers and streams, it is critical that wastewater from Marcellus Shale drilling is classified as hazardous waste and is properly disposed of,” said Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK).

The 2012 green Super Bills are:

Solar Industry Development & Jobs Act (A.9149 – Englebright) would create thousands of new solar jobs and jumpstart investment in New York’s growing solar energy industry by requiring state utilities and energy service companies to supply an increasing percentage of their electricity from solar, ultimately resulting in 5000 MW on the grid by 2026—enough to power more than 500,000 homes and reduce as much carbon pollution as taking nearly three million cars off the road.

Global Warming Pollution Cap (A.5346 – Sweeney / S.2742-B – Avella*) would require that climate-altering pollution from all sources is cut by 80 percent by the year 2050. These are the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say will help us avert the worst impacts of climate change. *These bills will be amended to match.

Hazardous Waste Loophole (A.7013 – Sweeney / S.4616 – Avella) would end special exemptions that allow the gas industry to circumvent requirements for hazardous waste disposal. This bill would update state law so that all waste resulting from gas drilling that meets the definition of hazardous waste be treated as such and subject to all regulations related to its generation, transportation, treatment, storage and disposal. Thanks to the leadership of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney, the Assembly acted to close the loophole by passing this Super Bill on February 13 by wide margins.

Additional bills may be awarded Super Bill status at any time.

The Super Bills are selected each year by the Green Panel, which includes representatives of more than a dozen environmental organizations from across the state. Lawmakers receive bonus points for votes in support of the Super Bills in EPL/Environmental Advocates’ annual Voters’ Guide, the only scorecard that grades legislators according to their votes on bills that would hurt or protect New York’s air, land and water.