Highlights and Happenings: May 2018

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CCE staff at the Gala.

Celebrating 33 Years at Our Annual Gala

CCE celebrated 33 years of working to protect public health and the natural environment at our annual Environmental Equinox Gala. We were proud to honor NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos for his work to advance offshore wind, clean up toxic plumes, and prevent nitrogen pollution, as well as Suffolk County Legislator William "Doc" Spencer for his work to reduce plastic pollution. Thanks so much to everyone who attended and celebrated with us!
CCE's Lou Burch in Albany.

CCE Scores Statewide Victories for Connecticut

The Connecticut legislative session wrapped in May, and CCE successfully advocated for the passage of a number of critical pieces of legislation:

Protecting Our Communities from Pesticide Misters: This legislation bans automatic mosquito misters, which create a fine pesticide mist that can travel up to 100 feet or more and threaten children, pollinators, and organic crops.
Ensuring the Public's Right to Know About Sewage Overflows: CCE's signature "Sewage Right-to-Know" law was updated this year to ensure that information on sewage spills is available to the public online and that local government officials are notified as well.
Eliminating Rubber Stamp Permit Approvals: This legislation will undo a shortsighted provision that required automatic permit approvals if DEEP failed to approve a permit application within 90 days, potentially rubberstamping environmentally harmful projects.
Fighting and Adapting to Climate Change: This legislation establishes an interim target for CT to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030 and requires the state to incorporate existing sea level rise models into state plans for conservation and development.
Establishing a Task Force on Plastic Microfiber Pollution: This legislation establishes a task force to study and make recommendations to address plastic microfiber pollution from consumer apparel, which is polluting our waters.
Updating Emergency Response Plans for Chemical Plants: This legislation requires chemical factories and storage facilities within the coastal boundary to update their emergency response plans to factor in sea-level rise and protect against the impacts of extreme weather events.
Educating Kids About Climate Change: This legislation creates a climate change education curriculum for Connecticut's public schools to ensure that our youth are armed with the facts and science about climate change.

Saying "No" to Offshore Drilling

We are fighting against the federal plan to open up the Atlantic Region Outer Continental Shelf to offshore oil and gas drilling. In May, we were overjoyed to stand with Governor Cuomo as he announced his opposition to the federal offshore drilling plan and introduced a Save Our Waters bill to prevent offshore oil and gas exploration in state waters and infrastructure on state land.

"How" to Clean Up West Valley, Not "If"

We worked to bring together over 80 organizations to submit joint comments to the U.S. Department of Energy and New York State Energy and Research Development Authority on the scope of the plan to clean up the West Valley nuclear waste site. The West Valley nuclear waste site is located in the Town of Ashford, about 30 miles south and upstream of Buffalo, NY, and contains vast amounts of radioactive and hazardous waste, which threaten the Great Lakes, public health, the economy, and our quality of life. Our groups called for a full cleanup of the site—digging up and securing all the waste until a final disposal location is determined.
Nassau BYOBag Law event.

Pushing for a BYOBag Law in Nassau County

Building on the successful BYOBag (Bring Your Own Bag) laws in Suffolk County, Long Beach City, and the Village of Sea Cliff, Nassau County Legislator Debra Mule introduced legislation to place a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper bags. CCE joined the legislative sponsors, County Executive, and environmental groups at a press conference in May to highlight how these BYOBag laws lead to lasting consumer behavior change and significantly decrease plastic pollution. The bill, however, has yet to be scheduled for a vote. We are writing letters and putting pressure on the Presiding Officer to put the BYOBag bill to a vote! Stayed tuned to find out how you can help!

Banning High-Nitrogen Fertilizers to Protect Our Waters

We are working to pass NYS legislation to ban the use of fast-release, high-nitrogen fertilizers, which contribute to degraded water quality, harmful algal blooms, beach closures, and fish kills in our coastal waters. CCE's Adrienne Esposito joined our environmental partners, as well as the fertilizer manufacturers and applicators that are opposing this bill, at a roundtable held by Senator Kemp Hannon to debate his important legislation. The Assembly has already passed this bill, but we need Senator Hannon and the NYS Senate to act now and pass this legislation this session.
NYC "Foam Free" rally.

We Want a Foam-Free NYC

As part of our push to ban polystyrene foam (commonly called Styrofoam) containers in NYC, CCE joined our City Council champions, Mayor de Blasio, our coalition partners, and over 200 students from all over NYC for a "Ban the Foam" rally at City Hall. The students led chants, displayed art projects, and delivered great speeches in support of a bill that will ban polystyrene foam containers to protect the environment and public health for future generations.

Harnessing the Power of Offshore Wind

With the 90MW South Fork Wind Farm off the coast of Montauk, NY approved by LIPA and the process moving forward for another offshore wind project off the coast of the Rockaways, New York is poised to be a leader in the fight for offshore wind. But we can't rest, and we still need to keep up the pressure. In May, CCE submitted testimony to the East Hampton Town Board urging the Town to approve the South Fork Wind Farm and move the project forward. In addition, CCE joined our wind coalition partners at a series of meetings held by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to discuss the importance of advancing NY offshore wind leasing areas and pushing for properly-sited, environmentally-responsible projects.

Creating Artificial Reefs

We were thrilled to join Governor Cuomo and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on a boat trip off of Shinnecock Bay to check out the creation of a new artificial reef. We witnessed the sinking of the vessel The Reliable, which will become a dive site and a recreational fishing spot. The Governor's plan to create artificial reefs out of the old Tappan Zee Bridge means we will be checking out more artificial reefs and seeing the health of local fisheries improve!
Tabling at the Climate Solutions Summit.

Climate Solutions Summit in Syracuse

We were proud to sponsor and participate in the 2018 Climate Solutions Summit in Syracuse. The Summit featured powerful keynote speakers Faithkeeper Oren Lyons, former EPA administrator Judith Enck, and energy expert Eric Walker, as well as panels and workshops on renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation, movement building, environmental justice, and more! CCE staff had a great time speaking to attendees about the local impacts of climate change and our efforts to implement solutions.

Suffolk County: Change Out Your Septic

Over the next few months, CCE will be hosting a series of forums highlighting the importance of reducing nitrogen pollution from outdated septics and cesspools and helping residents get grants to change out their old systems for new, on-site, nitrogen-reducing treatment systems. The first forum is June 6 in Huntington, and we'll hosting more throughout the summer, so stay tuned for a septic forum near you!
CCE in the News
May 31, 2018 – from Westhampton Patch: First Of State's Expanded Artificial Reefs Installed
May 25, 2018 – from CT Post: Controversial herbicide spraying to begin on state roads
May 23, 2018 – from Newsday: Fees for single-use bags backed in Nassau
May 18, 2018 – from Westhampton Patch: New Response Plan For Whale Strandings Unveiled
May 14, 2018 – from CBS New York: Some Environmentalists Cry Foul Over Measures Taken To Protect Endangered Bird On Long Island
May 14, 2018 – from Branford Patch: Sen. Kennedy Leads Passage Of Bill To Help Stop Plastic Pollution
May 8, 2018 – from CBS New York: Wind Farm Debate Heats Up On Long Island
May 7, 2018 – from WPIX New York: Nassau considers plastic bag fee
May 7, 2018 – from Innovate Long Island: Citing offshore risks, Cuomo drills Trump again
May 7, 2018 – from Long Island Business News: Plastic bag fees: Is Nassau next?
May 7, 2018 – from Newsday: Laura Curran backs bill to charge for disposable plastic bags
May 7, 2018 – from Urban CNY: Hundreds from Across the Region to Gather in Syracuse on Saturday, May 19 for the Climate Solutions Summit
May 7, 2018 – from Penn Energy: Gov. Cuomo proposes banning offshore drilling in NY's waters
May 5, 2018 – from The Times Herald-Record: Cuomo proposes measures to ban drilling in state's waters
May 4, 2018 – from LongIsland.com: Governor Cuomo Advances 'Save Our Waters' Bill To Prohibit Offshore Drilling Infrastructure In New York Waters
May 3, 2018 – from Newsday: Suffolk County plastic bag fee: More questions answered
May 1, 2018 – from CT News Junkie: State Water Plan Stalled Over 'Public Trust'

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