Highlights and Happenings: September 2017

Help CCE build on our success, and support our campaigns to protect public health and the environment in NY and CT. Make a contribution today.
Group at the Capitol.

Our "Save the EPA" Campaign Takes Us to D.C. Twice in September

With cuts to key EPA programs proposed for 2018 and the budget process coming down to the wire, CCE traveled to D.C. to meet with senators and House members from NY and CT. On our first trip we advocated for increased investments in programs that upgrade and maintain clean water infrastructure. Joined by our colleagues at Rebuild NY, we stressed to members of Congress that investments in clean water infrastructure are critical for both our environment and economy. On our next trip, we joined with a group of Long Island Sound stakeholder groups to call for full funding for the Long Island Sound program and to preserve Plum Island. We will continue to fight to save the EPA until the final 2018 budget is passed!

Accountability for Pollution at Niagara Falls

In late July, a dark, foul-smelling discharge spewed out of the Niagara Falls Treatment Plant into the Niagara Gorge. Occurring during the height of the tourist season, the incident brought unwelcome worldwide attention to the falls. Governor Cuomo initiated an investigation into the cause of the discharge, and in September the State fined Niagara Falls, NY $50,000 for the human errors that led to the discharge. CCE commended the Governor for holding accountable those that unnecessarily fouled our Great Lakes and called for this to be a wakeup call to fix failing water infrastructure across the state.

Working to Stop the Attack on the Clean Water Rule

Continuing our work to protect valuable water resources in New York, Connecticut, and across the nation, CCE submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers in opposition to the proposal to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule. The Clean Water Rule protects the source of drinking water for 117 million Americans, which includes 56% of New Yorkers and 62% of Connecticut residents. Without the rule, many streams, rivers, wetlands, and other water bodies across the country could be polluted or destroyed without legal consequence. The Trump administration's effort to repeal the rule is shortsighted and dangerous, and it unnecessarily puts communities' health, our environment, and the economy at risk. While the public comment period has come to a close, we will continue our fight to protect the Clean Water Rule!
Algal bloom map.

A Summer of Discontent in Long Island's Coastal Waters

We joined with our partners at the Long Island Clean Water Partnership and Dr. Chris Gobler to unveil a Summer 2017 map of harmful algal blooms—and the news was not good. All of these fish kills and toxic tides can be traced back to rising levels of nitrogen coming from land and entering Long Island's surface waters. The largest sources of nitrogen are household sewage and fertilizers, which are washed into groundwater that seeps in bays, harbors, and estuaries. You can watch the press event and check out this summary video of how the problem has worsened since 2013.

Celebrating NYC Climate Week

As part of NYC Climate Week, CCE participated in Sustainable Westchester's Zero Emissions Day Conference to learn about what the UN, Finland, Bangladesh, Canada, and others are doing to engage citizens and fight climate change. CCE joined other Westchester and NYC groups to discuss what New Yorkers can do locally to combat climate change, including local actions to push the state away from fossil fuels and meet critical renewable energy goals.

Addressing the Toxic Tides Epidemic in NYS

CCE is calling on state and local officials to commence a harmful algal bloom action plan to both address the short-term dangers of blue-green algae and identify and address the sources of the pollution in order to prevent toxic algal blooms in the future. Toxic blue-green algae most recently has contaminated seven Finger Lakes, Skaneateles Lake, the Basic Creek Reservoir in Albany, and other bodies of water across New York. Blue-green algae poses an immense threat to drinking water supplies, recreational opportunities, and the health of the public, pets, and wildlife due to a toxin that can damage the liver and kidneys. On the local level, Suffolk County released its much-anticipated Harmful Algal Bloom Action Plan in September, which will guide the county in reducing nitrogen pollution entering our bays and estuaries and could serve as a model for the state plan.
Rally in New Haven.

Pushing for Connecticut's Renewable Energy Future

The CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) recently released its draft Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES). The CES process was put into motion in 2013, with the goal of creating a "cheaper, cleaner, more reliable energy future," but CCE is concerned that the draft plan would continue our over-reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear power, while lacking an adequate pathway toward wind, solar, and energy efficiency projects. CCE attended public hearings on the CES and rallied with elected leaders and local advocacy groups in New Haven, calling on CT to develop a plan that reduces our over-reliance on fracked gas and creates a more visionary path forward on renewable energy development.

Opposing Cuts to Connecticut's Clean Energy Programs

CCE is opposing deep cuts to the CT Green Bank and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the 2018-2019 state budget. These ratepayer-funded programs are critical to achieving CT's renewable energy future, and CCE joined with legislators, energy advocates, and business leaders from around the state to urge Governor Malloy to veto the budget and urge legislators not to raid these crucial programs.

Restoring Long Island's Shellfish

In September, Governor Cuomo announced that NYS will allocate over $10 million to restoring shellfish populations, which have been dying off in Long Island's waters for decades. This shellfish restoration program will establish five sanctuary sites to seed local clams and oysters, which will help improve water quality, fight nitrogen pollution, and benefit coastal communities.
Students at the hearing.

Pushing for Pesticide-Free Parks in NYC

The NYC Council is considering legislation that would prohibit the use of toxic pesticides on NYC parkland and other city-owned property. In September, CCE joined nearly 100 elementary school students, as well environmental advocates and health professionals, at a public hearing. We urged NYC to pass this critical legislation and phase out the unnecessary use of known or possible carcinogenic pesticides on our parkland and green spaces. A huge thank you to the students from P.S. 290 for their powerful presentation and song about the dangers of pesticides and the need to protect our earth—they rocked!

Film Screening: Sonic Sea

Sonic Sea is an Emmy-nominated documentary that details the impact of industrial and military ocean noise on whales and other marine life and offers solutions and hope for a quieter ocean. We co-hosted a September screening of the film at the Huntington Cinema Arts Centre, and CCE's Adrienne Esposito joined environmentalists, scientists, and the NY Department of Environmental Conservation after the film for a panel discussion on the dangers of offshore fossil fuel exploration and what everyone can do to protect marine mammals.
CCE in the News
September 30, 2017 – from Connecticut Post: State budget woes jeopardize environmental funding
September 29, 2017 – from LI Herald: Locals cautiously optimistic about sewage pipe plan
September 28, 2017 – from The Capitol Pressroom: September 28, 2017: Adrienne Esposito and William Cooke
September 28, 2017 – from Public News Service: Environmentalists Condemn Proposed Raids on Energy Funds
September 27, 2017 – from CBS New York: Town Of Brookhaven Considers Offering Rewards To People Who Help Catch Illegal Dumpers
September 26, 2017 – from CT News Junkie: Environmentalists Say Neither Party Has Made Tough Decisions By Raiding Clean Energy Funds
September 25, 2017 – from LongIsland.com: With $100 Million At Stake, Suffolk County Executive Bellone Unveils Major Water Quality Report To Combat Harmful Algal Blooms That Impact Long Island
September 21, 2017 – from LI Herald: County consolidation plan approved
September 18, 2017 – from The Buffalo News: Another Voice: Flawed prescription disposal bill should be vetoed
September 14, 2017 – from The Bufallo News: Cuomo rebukes Falls Water Board, calls discharges 'inexcusable'
September 13, 2017 – from WSHU: Long Island Reports Record-Breaking Toxic Algae
September 12, 2017 – from News 12 Long Island: 'Nearly unprecedented' brown tide sets records in 2017
September 12, 2017 – from Newsday: Clean Water Partnership: Algae blooms on the rise in LI waterways
September 11, 2017 – from Buffalo Rising: Sky's the limit on new Solarize campaign
September 8, 2017 – from The Southampton Press: Suffolk County Septic Improvement Program's First New System Installed In Flanders
September 7, 2017 – from News 12 Long Island: Some drinking wells shut down in Hampton Bays after toxic chemicals found
September 6, 2017 – from CBS New York: Worry Mounts In Hampton Bays After 2 Wells Are Shut Down Over PFC Contamination
September 6, 2017 – from Albany Times-Union: Renewable energy expert offers homeowner tips

Thank you for your support. Together we make a difference!


All of Us at CCE