Highlights and Happenings: November 2017

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PFC report cover.

Protecting Long Island Waters from PFCs

CCE has released a new report and interactive map detailing known and possible sites of per-fluorinated chemical (PFC) contamination throughout Long Island. PFCs are persistent in the environment, are linked to serious human health impacts, and have been detected in Long Island drinking water wells. However, there is currently no health-based drinking water standard for these chemicals, and more testing is needed to determine the extent and severity of PFC contamination on Long Island. Check out CCE's report, interactive map, and 4-point action plan for addressing PFC contamination.
CCE's Brian Smith wtih Assemblyman Ryan and others.

November Election Yields Positive Results for New York!

New Yorkers voted on a two propositions that had big implications for the environment. Proposition 1, which would have allowed voters to choose to hold a constitutional convention, was voted down. Holding a constitutional convention would have been unnecessary, been costly, and put critical environmental protections—like the Forever Wild clause that protects the Adirondacks and Catskills—at risk. Proposition 3, which will create a small land bank for Catskill and Adirondack communities, was approved by the voters. CCE stood with Assemblyman Sean Ryan before election day to educate voters about Prop 3, which will allow our communities to make needed health and safety improvements, like fixing unsafe roads, improving drinking water quality, and creating bike paths.

Senate Joins House in Supporting Robust Funding for Our Great Waters

Earlier this year, President Trump proposed to eliminate funding for key environmental programs in the federal budget, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and Long Island Sound restoration. In November, the Senate advanced its budget, which rejected these cuts and provided $300 million for GLRI and $8 million for LIS (House budget funded both programs at the same level). While the House and Senate still need to agree on a final budget (deadline is December 8), this is a critical development for our treasured waters!
Plastic bag.

Pushing for an End to Single-Use Bag Pollution in NY

After signing legislation to overturn the NYC disposable bag law in February, Governor Cuomo put together a Plastic Bag Task Force with the goal of creating a statewide policy to reduce plastic bag use by the end of this year. While some municipalities are moving forward with their own local disposable bag fees and bans, many are waiting on New York State and looking to Governor Cuomo to create a statewide policy for New York. With only weeks left of this year, Governor Cuomo and the Plastic Bag Task Force need to hear from you. Email the Task Force today, and let them know you want NY to move forward with a comprehensive policy to reduce disposable bag use and encourage consumers to make the permanent switch to reusable bags.

Don't Flush Your Drugs, Onondaga

It's now easier than ever to find a safe pharmaceutical disposal site near you! CCE, with generous support from the Central New York Community Foundation, has launched an interactive map of all safe pharmaceutical disposal drop box locations in Onondaga County. The map also lists the times the drop boxes are accessible to the public, what medications are accepted, and if a needle/sharps kiosk is also available. Find a safe disposal location near you, and share with friends and family!

Saving Solar Power on Long Island

New York State has proposed replacing solar net-metering, which creates a predictable credit system to compensate homeowners and businesses for the energy they add to the grid, with a new system called Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER). While the intention is to create a more dynamic credit system based on energy demand, the VDER system is highly flawed and, if adopted in January, would actually discourage businesses from going solar. Without predictable pricing that business owners and solar installers can understand, the VDER system would seriously set back Long Island's progress on solar energy. CCE attended a public hearing this November to urge LIPA not to adopt VDER in January and recommend that LIPA work with solar providers to improve the proposed VDER system.

Making the Switch to Non-Toxic Products

Last year, as part of the national "Mind the Store" campaign, CCE and the Coalition for a Safe & Healthy CT thanked Target for agreeing to phase out toxic chemicals from its products. Now, the Mind the Store campaign has released its second retailer report card to highlight retailers that have led the market by example in phasing out products that contain toxic ingredients from their store shelves. Some of the top-scoring retailers include Apple, Walmart, Ikea, CVS Health, Whole Foods Market, and Target. However, some major retailers received failing grades this year, so check the report before you start your holiday shopping!
Check presentation.

Protecting Long Island Sound

CCE is honored to receive funding from the Long Island Sound Futures Fund in order to empower and educate local communities. We will be launching two new programs in 2018—the first to educate members of the public to change out their antiquated septic systems and the second to educate them on choosing the right types of grass to plant to avoid pesticides and fertilizers. In November, we joined the LIS Futures Fund and other grant recipients at a press conference to celebrate all the great work that's been done to protect the Sound and gear up for next year's projects to further LIS restoration. Also, thank you to Congressman Lee Zeldin, who not only joined us for the press conference but has also worked with his colleagues in Washington to support robust federal funding for the Sound!
CCE in the News
November 7, 2017 – from The Hofstra Chronicle: Long Island Drinking Water Reportedly Contaminated

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