Highlights and Happenings: November 2018

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NY-CT delegation.

Heading to D.C. for Long Island Sound Protection Day

We joined other NY and CT stakeholders in a trip down to D.C. in November to fight to protect Long Island Sound. We met with the NY and CT Congressional delegation to support increasing funding for the Long Island Sound to $20 million, preserving Plum Island, and growing funding for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades. A huge thank you to everyone who traveled to D.C. for the Long Island Sound Protection Day and to all the elected leaders who continue to fight for the Sound and Plum Island!
Clean Water Roundtable event.

Developing a 2019 Strategy for Clean Water in New York

CCE organized and led a statewide gathering of environmental groups, wastewater treatment operators, drinking water suppliers, environmental justice organizations, local agencies, and other clean water stakeholders from Buffalo to Long Island at the second annual Clean Water Roundtable event in Albany. The broad, diverse coalition is working to advance shared priorities in 2019, including increased environmental funding, upgrades to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, prevention of harmful algal blooms, reduced plastic pollution in our waters, and more.

Victory for Protecting the Great Lakes from Aquatic Invaders

For years there have been efforts to undermine clean water protections that prevent aquatic invasive species from being introduced by ballast water from ships coming from around the world. Rolling back these protections could have led to more environmental and economic devastation brought by aquatic invasive species. In November, the U.S. Senate (and, subsequently, the House) passed the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), which soundly rejected the proposed rollbacks! The improved VIDA ensures that the Clean Water Act will continue to protect our waters from invasive species in ballast water. VIDA also uniquely allows Great Lakes states to work together to go beyond the requirements of federal law to protect the Lakes if enough states agree.
Press conference on LI water quality.

Moving Forward with Wind and Solar on Long Island

November was the month to celebrate renewable energy! We attended the ribbon cutting for the Shoreham Solar Commons project, a 24.9 megawatt large-scale solar project. We also testified in support of increasing offshore wind energy. An advance in wind turbine technology will allow the Deepwater Wind project off the coast of Montauk to produce more energy using the existing footprint and without changing the number of wind turbines. Each turbine will produce more energy, adding electricity for an additional 18,000 homes. The total project will result in 130 megawatts, powering 70,000 homes on the South Fork with clean, renewable energy. LIPA approved the change, and the project will continue through the environmental review process.

Preserving Plum Island

In addition to fighting to preserve Plum Island during our Long Island Sound Protection Day in D.C., we participated in the Preserve Plum Island Coalition's visioning program last month. The program brought together stakeholders from both sides of the Sound to discuss options for future preservation of Plum Island's undeveloped regions as well as reuse options for the existing research facilities on the island.

Reducing Plastic Pollution in NY

With Suffolk County's 5-cent bag fee leading to an 80% reduction in the use of single-use bags and Ulster County's plastic bag ban bill going into effect next year, a growing number local governments are joining the fight to reduce plastic pollution:

Nassau County: We joined environmental, business, and community groups at the Nassau County Legislature to urge our elected officials to put the County's proposed BYOBag law up for a vote. The bill is modeled after Suffolk's successful 5-cent fee law. We will continue to pressure the Nassau County Legislature to do its part to reduce plastic pollution entering Long Island waterways.
Dutchess County: We testified at a public hearing in support of a 10-cent fee on single-use bags, also modeled after Suffolk's law. While there was much discussion about moving forward with a ban on plastic bags instead of a fee, it seems likely, one way or the other, that Dutchess will be the next county to pass a BYOBag law!
Sea Cliff: After passing a 5-cent fee on single-use bags earlier this year, Sea Cliff, on the north shore of Long Island, has now banned plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, and polystyrene foam as part of a comprehensive effort to reduce plastics entering the Long Island Sound!
Erie County: Continuing our work with the Erie County BYO Coalition, CCE recently participated in a teacher training session held by Erie County Department of Environment and Planning. Science and art teachers from across Erie County will now be conducting lessons and projects focused on plastic bag reduction.

Protecting Upstate New York Water Resources

As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce contamination entering NY's waterways, we gave a presentation to Central New York residents at Macedon Library entitled "Protecting New York's Treasured Waterways." We spoke about the pervasive threat that both pharmaceutical contaminants and plastic pollution pose to the environment, wildlife, and our health. We also educated the public on how they can be involved in the fight against these harmful pollutants as well as everyday measures they can take to prevent these pollutants from entering local waterways.

Reducing Microplastics in Connecticut

Microplastics are a growing problem in our waterways throughout CT. CCE's Lou Burch participated in the second meeting of the CT Microfiber Working Group, which is charged with developing an outreach and education plan on how synthetic microfibers get into the environment and what consumers can do to reduce the number of microfibers they release. To find out more about plastic microfibers and the Working Group, check out CT DEEP's website.

Ditching Dinosaur Fuel in CNY

We are an active member of the HeatSmart CNY campaign, which has been working to help CNY residents and businesses install modern, clean geothermal systems. HeatSmart CNY is a grassroots community initiative to support residents and businesses in exploring ways to improve the efficiency of their buildings, including air source, ground source, and hot water heat pump technologies. To learn more about geothermal technologies, join us at the Winter Warmth Workshop on December 13 or at other upcoming HeatSmart events. CNY residents can sign up for a free, no obligation energy assessment!

Suffolk County: Change Out Your Septic System

Throughout 2018, we hosted a series of forums highlighting the importance of reducing nitrogen pollution from outdated septic systems and cesspools. We will be helping residents secure grants to change out their old systems for new, on-site, nitrogen-reducing treatment systems through Suffolk County's Reclaim Our Water program. Our November forum with Legislator William Spencer in Northport received a great response, and we're looking forward to continuing our series in January of 2019. We hope to see you there!

Celebrating Smart Growth on Long Island

We were pleased to participate in the 2018 Smart Growth Summit, hosted by our friends at Vision Long Island. CCE Executive Director Adrienne Esposito moderated a panel discussion on combating our solid waste and recycling crisis, while CCE's Maureen Murphy presented on the topic of reducing nitrogen entering ground and surface waters during a panel discussion on wastewater infrastructure.

Upcoming: CCE's Adrienne Esposito's "Earth Witness News" Radio Show on Dec. 14

Want to get the latest on cutting edge environmental issues from the person fighting for all of us 365 days a year? Adrienne Esposito is now hosting a monthly radio show on WCRN 103.9, so make sure you check out her next show on December 14 at noon. You can listen online at linewsradio.com. If you missed it, the November show featured Carl LoBue from The Nature Conservancy discussing ocean protection.
Our Blog
Image: CCE Blog at blog.citizenscampaign.org.

New blog post from the month of November:

Earth's New Mass Extinction: The Unnoticed Cost of Increased Consumption
CCE in the News
November 29, 2018 – from WAER: Two NY Environmental Groups Express Danger, Opportunity in Federal Climate Change Report
November 28, 2018 – from Newsday: Opinion: Pushing for change
November 26, 2018 – from CBS New York: Recycling In Parts Of Long Island Just Got More Complicated
November 19, 2018 – from Fox 5 NY: Family sues Northrop Grumman over cancer diagnoses
November 6, 2018 – from 27East: Feds Hear Concerns Over Deepwater Wind Proposal

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