Highlights and Happenings: June 2017

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Save EPA demonstration.

New York Campaign to Save the EPA Kicks Off

A broad coalition of more than 100 environmental and community groups from across NY kicked off a grassroots campaign to save the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from devastating cuts. The proposed Executive Budget would slash EPA funding by 31%, gutting programs to fight climate change and protect public health, while eliminating programs to protect the Great Lakes and Long Island Sound. On June 28, CCE joined with partner organizations to participate in "Save the EPA" press events in Buffalo, Albany, and Long Island to let our congressional representatives know that protecting our air, water, land, and health is a non-partisan issue and ask for their leadership in saving the EPA.

Connecticut's Legislative Session Wraps Up

As this year's session came to a close, we celebrated victories on our legislative agenda to protect CT's environment and health:

Retail pharmacies will be able to set up voluntary collection programs for unused pharmaceuticals—helping to prevent flushing and keep our waters drug-free.
The Metropolitan District Commission (Central CT's regional water authority) will now have a consumer advocate—ensuring that the public has a seat at the table when it comes to decisions about our drinking water.
The public will have greater access to water planning information—providing more transparency into how our water supplies are managed.
Coal tar-based sealants will be banned on state and local highways—helping to protect our waters from harmful chemicals that are polluting waters across the state.
The Bottle Bill will remain in effect after we killed a proposal to eliminate the law and replace it with a tax—preventing a decrease in recycling and an increase in litter and recycling costs.
Aquifer theief.

CCE to NYC: Don't Steal Long Island's Drinking Water

New York City recently proposed to reopen 68 drinking water wells in Queens that would pump up to 68 million gallons of water per day and steal precious drinking water from Long Island. Long Island aquifers are the only source of drinking water for Nassau and Suffolk residents. CCE is opposing the NYC plan to tap into Long Island's water and testified at a public hearing that reopening these wells would put our water supply at risk to contamination, lower groundwater levels, saltwater intrusion, and the draining of streams, lakes, and tributaries. If you haven't already, let NYC know you oppose its plan to steal LI's water.

Increasing Recycling in Connecticut

CCE officially joined the CT Recyclers Coalition this June! The coalition includes corporate, municipal, institutional, and private members working to advance Connecticut's recycling and materials management programs and services on both the local and state levels. We're excited to be part of this great coalition and look forward to promoting critical recycling and source reduction programs throughout the state.

Celebrating World Oceans Day

In June, we celebrated World Oceans Day with a series of great events. These included a beach cleanup at Jones Beach organized by REI and United by Blue, a fundraiser at Blue Point Brewery to support Save the Great South Bay (and unveil the new "Drink Our Bay Clean" beer), and a discussion about the impact of plastic pollution on our oceans at Wildlife Conservation Society's World Oceans Day event at the Coney Island Aquarium.

Moving from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy on Long Island

LIPA and PSEG recently completed their latest Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which provides a comprehensive analysis of Long Island's energy demands. The plan recommends that renewable energy displace new fossil fuel power plants, since wind and solar are the most cost-effective solutions for the long-term power supply needs of the grid. In June, CCE testified in favor of the IRP and transitioning away from fossil fuels and toward responsibly-sited renewable energy. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is currently developing an Offshore Wind Master Plan that will guide New York in harnessing our vast offshore wind potential while ensuring that offshore wind projects are developed responsibly. NYSERDA will host a series of public meetings across Long Island on its plan July 10-12.

Restoring the Health of Onondaga Lake

In June, CCE testified before the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on the proposed ecological and recreational restoration projects for the Onondaga Lake Watershed. These proposed projects are meant to mend the damage caused by the decades of pollution from industrial waste but unfortunately fall short. CCE pushed for more information on the proposed projects, fish consumption advisory signs at all fishing access points, and additional ecological restoration projects in the plan. The comment period is open until July 17, so please submit a comment before the deadline!
Western Bays forum.

Protecting Long Island's Western Bays

We joined with Operation SPLASH to host a community forum on restoring Long Island's Western Bays. The forum reviewed the scientific need for diverting sewage away from the Western Bays, the proposal to eliminate the South Shore Water Reclamation Facility (formerly Bay Park STP) outfall pipe from Reynolds Channel and divert treated sewage to the existing ocean outfall at Cedar Creek, and the upgrades that have been made to the South Shore Water Reclamation Facility so far. Thanks to all the community members who turned out and participated in a lively, informative discussion.

Supporting Soil Studies in Tonawanda, NY

In March 2013, a federal judge found the Tonawanda Coke Corp. guilty of 14 criminal charges related to toxic emissions and the handling of hazardous waste. The company was ordered to fund an $11.4 million Tonawanda health study to see how these poisons affected neighbors. As part of the settlement, funding has been provided to conduct soil studies in the neighborhoods potentially impacted by the pollution. Our friends at Citizen Science Community Resources (CSCR) are canvassing residents this summer to recruit volunteers to participate in the soil study. CCE was pleased to share our grassroots organizing experience and help train the CSCR volunteers.
Our Blog
Image: CCE Blog at blog.citizenscampaign.org.

New blog post from the month of June:

CT Legislative Recap: Areas of Progress and Missed Opportunities in 2017
CCE in the News
June 21, 2017 – from Newsday: Hearings on LIPA future energy plan in Smithtown, Mineola
June 21, 2017 – from Newsday: Long Islanders voice opposition to NYC water plan
June 21, 2017 – from The Legislative Gazette: Bill would expand the number of zero-emissions car dealers in NY
June 15, 2017 – from LI Herald: Officials update plans as Sunrise Highway aqueduct deemed in 'very good condition'
June 7, 2017 – from Public News Service: Amendment Seeks to Overturn CT Pipeline Tax
June 1, 2017 – from Newsday: Editorial: Can't see the forest for the trees
June 1, 2017 – from Spectrum News: Economists, Environmentalists Concerned About Pulling Out of Paris Accord
June 1, 2017 – from InnovateLI: After 'Embarrassing Decision,' A Most Hostile Climate
June 1, 2017 – from Watertown Daily Times: State DEC commissioner defends Plan 2014, calls out IJC for shipping focus
June 1, 2017 – from LI Herald: Fresh efforts to monitor drinking water quality

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