Highlights and Happenings: February 2017

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CCE's Adrienne Esposito.

Tackling Long Island's 1,4-Dioxane Problem

As part of CCE's ongoing to campaign to combat 1,4-dioxane contamination in Long Island drinking water, we met with state leaders and water suppliers, released a new report and interactive map, and received good news from the Governor:

Our new report details the extent of 1,4-dioxane pollution in Long Island's drinking water and provides policy solutions to combat this hidden carcinogen lurking in everyday products. Check out our report and find out about 1,4-dioxane detections in your water district using our interactive map!
Our Adrienne Esposito met with the NYS Health Commissioner, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS Senate and Assembly members, Secretary for the Environment to Governor Cuomo, other elected officials, and water suppliers in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties to discuss the 1,4-dioxane problem. At the Suffolk meeting, state and local leaders signed a letter from Governor Cuomo to the EPA urging the agency to create a federal drinking water standard for 1,4-dioxane. In the letter, the Governor also pledged to create a state drinking water standard if the EPA does not move quickly.

Connecticut Environmental Bills on the Move

In February, CCE's Lou Burch testified on several critical statewide bills on the move in Connecticut:

We are supporting a BYOBag bill that will place a 5-cent fee on single-use plastic and paper shopping bags (thus incentivizing environmentally-friendly reusable bags) and use a portion of the revenue for state environmental protection programs.
We are working to modernize Connecticut's bottle deposit law to include drinks that are popular today, including juices, teas, and other non-carbonated soft drinks not currently covered under the law.
We are opposing the Governor's proposal to inflict deep cuts to the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, as well as to eliminate the Council on Environmental Quality. Both proposals would significantly reduce the State's ability to implement and enforce environmental protections.
We are supporting a bill that would ban the use of rubber mulch and crumb rubber ground covers on school and municipal playgrounds. Crumb rubber made from old tires has been shown to contain toxic chemicals, including known carcinogens.
EPF Lobby Day.

Fighting for Another $300 Million NY EPF

Last year, New York passed a historic $300 million Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), which increased funding for critical programs such as climate adaptation and mitigation, open space conservation, waterfront revitalization, recycling and solid waste programs, and protections for our ocean, estuaries, and Great Lakes. In February, CCE joined over 100 New Yorkers at EPF Lobby Day in Albany to urge our Senate and Assembly members to enact another $300M EPF this year (as proposed in the Governor's executive budget proposal).

Pushing for a Whale Response Task Force

Last November, a baby humpback whale was trapped on a sandbar in Moriches Bay and was later euthanized, sparking outrage from many members of the public and CCE at the lack of response from federal agencies. CCE has been pushing for NOAA to create a whale rescue task force to ensure that local, state, and federal agencies have a plan for the next time a whale is stranded off of NY waters. This February, CCE attended a public meeting with NOAA, at which the agency stated that it is bringing together experts to develop a whale stranding plan. The plan will better prepare agencies to utilize local and state resources to help prevent future strandings and will provide better communication between agencies and the public.

Bad News for the NYC Bag Bill

Governor Cuomo signed legislation preventing NYC's disposable bag fee from going into effect on February 15. The NYC bag bill, which would have placed a small fee on plastic and paper bags to incentivize reusable bag use, was the result of years of research, negotiation, and advocacy efforts. While this was a step back for CCE's BYOBag campaign, the Governor announced that he will convene a task force to tackle disposable bag pollution at the state level. We will continue to work with our advocacy partners and state leaders to pass an effective statewide disposable bag reduction bill and once again make NY a leader in the global BYOBag movement.
CCE's Brian Smith.

The #ERIEBYOBag Campaign Continues to Push Forward

CCE's Brian Smith, along with partners from Erie County and the Alliance for the Great Lakes, presented at a community forum on the problems and solutions associated with disposable bag pollution in Erie County. Dr. Sherri Mason of SUNY Fredonia provided the keynote on her groundbreaking research on microplastic pollution in the Great Lakes. If you haven't already, please take action and urge the Erie County Legislature to act on bags!
CCE in the News
February 28, 2017 – from LI Herald: Carcinogen found in 39 L.I. water districts
February 28, 2017 – from CBS New York: Long Island Water Tested For Cancer Causing Chemical Found In Detergent
February 28, 2017 – from Newsday: Environmental group seeks actions to reduce chemical in water
February 28, 2017 – from News 12 Long Island: Citizens Campaign unveils map of 1,4-Dioxane water contamination
February 27, 2017 – from Hartford Courant: Bills To Restrict State Highway Herbicides, De-icers, Tree Clearing Win Environment Panel Approval
February 24, 2017 – from Southampton Press: Zeldin's Telephone Town Hall Leaves Some Angry, Others Wanting Longer, In Person Meet Ups
February 24, 2017 – from CT News Junkie: Connecticut Lawmakers Debate What To Do With Tax On Plastic Bags
February 23, 2017 – from LI Herald: Senators fight to protect New York's drinking water
February 22, 2017 – from News 12 Long Island: Blood tests offered, no cleanup plan yet for Westhampton water contamination
February 22, 2017 – from Hartford Courant: Environmentalists, Grocers Urge 5-Cent Tax on Plastic and Paper Shopping Bags
February 18, 2017 – from WSHU: Report: Long Island's Water Contains Likely Carcinogen
February 18, 2017 – from Long Island Press: Top NY Dems & Long Island Environmentalists Slam EPA Foe Pruitt's Confirmation As Agency Head
February 17, 2017 – from InnovateLI: Testing, Testing Everywhere, To Keep It Safe To Drink
February 17, 2017 – from Newsday: State to launch study of Bethpage groundwater plumes
February 17, 2017 – from LongIsland.com: Sen. Kaminsky, Sen. Brooks, Senate Democrats Announce Legislation To Protect NY Water Quality, Unveil Senate Democratic Policy Group
February 16, 2017 – from Queens Chronicle: Cuomo blocks the bag bill; signs moratorium
February 16, 2017 – from WGRZ Buffalo: Bag tax? N.Y. panel to eye plastic fix
February 16, 2017 – from LongIsland.com: DEC Holds Annual Long Island Pharmaceutical Take Back Day for Healthcare Facilities
February 15, 2017 – from WSHU: Cuomo: New York Will Set Drinking Water Standard If EPA Won't
February 13, 2017 – from WCNY: Jessica Ottney-Mahar and Adrienne Esposito
February 11, 2017 – from Long Island Press: NOAA Addresses Beached Whale Response Plans on Long Island
February 11, 2017 – from Newsday: State: EPA needs to set drinking water standard for 1,4-dioxane
February 9, 2017 – from Queens Chronicle: Baggage claim: City, Albany fight over fee
February 8, 2017 – from The Huffington Post: Save The Waters of the United States Rule
February 7, 2017 – from Westhampton Patch: Hope After Tragedy: New Stranded Marine Mammal Plan Coming After Humpback Whale Euthanized
February 7, 2017 – from Water Online: New York Senators Ask For Help With 1,4-Dioxane Contamination
February 2, 2017 – from News 12 Long Island: 3 laundromats to test for chemical linked to cancer
February 2, 2017 – from NewsLI: New York State Announces New Initiatives to Protect Consumers and Waterways from Unsafe Disposal of Unused Prescription Medicines
February 1, 2017 – from CBS New York: 3 Long Island Laundromats Ordered To Test Waste Water For Probable Carcinogen

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