Governor Cuomo

Cuomo Brings Great Hope for NY's Environment in 2016

While 2016 is less than a week old, Governor Cuomo has given us good reason to be optimistic about the year ahead. As part of Governor Cuomo's 2016 agenda, he recently proposed some critical initiatives to bolster New York's environmental legacy... Increase the NYS Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to $300 million: No matter who you are or where you live in New York, the EPF has improved your quality of life.  From Buffalo to Long Island, the EPF has been responsible for protecting clean water, improving air quality, creating jobs, conserving open space, saving family farms, bolstering recycling programs, revitalizing waterfronts, building community parks, enhancing zoos, driving economic development, and so much more.

Prior to the nation’s economic recession, the New York State Legislature passed legislation to mandate a $300 million EPF by 2009.  Unfortunately, the promise was never fulfilled as EPF funding was cut significantly during the recession and has yet to recover.  While the EPF has seen modest increases in recent years, environmental needs continue to outpace available resources.  The EPF currently sits at $177 million.  Governor Cuomo's proposed $300 million EPF would be a $123 million increase, and put the EPF at an all-time high.  We want to thank the thousands of our members that have signed petitions and written letters calling for a fully-funded $300 million EPF over the past few months--this would not have happened without you!

Increase Funding for Clean Water Infrastructure: Aging and failing sewage treatment plants discharge raw sewage into local waterways, jeopardizing human health, closing beaches, harming fish and wildlife, and damaging local economies. Drinking water infrastructure is also in a state of constant disrepair, with communities facing ever-increasing water main breaks every year and numerous “boil water advisories” due to contaminated drinking water.

Last year, the Governor and Legislature agreed to provide $200 million over three years to help upgrade failing wastewater and drinking water infrastructure.  To build on this, Governor Cuomo has proposed to provide an additional $100 million over the next two years.  Given that New York needs over $70 billion over the next 20 years to upgrade aging sewage and drinking water infrastructure, increased investment is welcome news!

Confirm Commitment to Fund the Bay Park Outfall Pipe on Long Island: Long Islanders asked for an ocean outfall pipe for the Bay Park Sewage treatment plant for Christmas, and Governor Cuomo has delivered! The plant currently discharges sewage into the Western Bays and contributes to low dissolved oxygen levels, harmful algal blooms, and depleted fisheries on the south shore.  A significant state commitment to fund the ocean outfall pipe guarantees that this project will move forward.  That’s a win for our community, our bays, and our ocean.

Confirm Commitment to Address Nitrogen on Long Island:  Septic systems across Suffolk County discharge excess nitrogen, which contaminates groundwater, degrades ecosystems, and threatens public health.  Governor Cuomo has confirmed his commitment to ensure funding for an initiative to connect nearly 10,000 Suffolk County households currently on septic systems to state-of-the-art sewer systems.

CCE will be working hard during the upcoming legislative session to ensure that these proposals are enacted.  Be on the look out for ways you can help!


New York Should Invest in its Ocean and Great Lakes

New York State is currently in the middle of its budget negotiations (read: battle) and Governor Cuomo has put forth his proposal. He has thirty days to make amendments and then the Senate and Assembly will put forth their versions.  After the requisite back-and-forth, a final budget will be approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.  The budget is supposed to be finished by April 1st.

As you probably know, CCE advocates for the New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) every year.  The EPF is an important piece of the New York State budget, but specifically, I would like to talk about the Ocean and Great Lakes line of the EPF.  In 2005, the Ocean and Great Lakes line was added to the EPF and it is used by eight state agencies to advance important conservation and restoration projects along New York's beautiful coasts.  Unfortunately, the Ocean and Great Lakes line has been stuck at $5 million dollars and there is so much work to be done.  Now is the time to up that investment.  Recently the New York State DEC released the draft Ocean Action Plan, a blueprint for protecting our ocean and estuaries.  Additionally, implementation of the DEC's interim Great Lakes Action Agenda is underway and it identifies the most pressing problems facing the lakes, and provides specific goals and activities to address these problems.  With these plans in place it is time to use them and really invest in our ocean and Great Lakes economies.

In 2010, ocean sector industries like fishing and tourism contributed more than $21.7 billion to New York’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and supported nearly 300,000 jobs.  The largest ocean economy sector is tourism and recreation: in 2010, tourism and recreation contributed more than $16.5 billion to the state GDP and supported nearly 254,000 jobs.  The Great Lakes also contribute significantly to the state’s economic well-being, supporting a sport fishery valued at more than $2.27 billion that generates nearly 12,000 jobs. In addition, Lakes Erie, Ontario and the St. Lawrence River provide the foundation for a multi‐million dollar tourism industry in the New York Seaway Trail region, serve as a key water resource for hydropower generation and manufacturing industries, and allow for recreational boating opportunities that contribute over $600 million a year to New York’s economy.

In order to implement important goals laid out in both of the Ocean Action plan and the Great Lakes Action Agenda,  additional funding is needed in the Ocean and Great Lakes program.  It's time for the Ocean and Great Lakes program to funded at $10 million and for the state to take these resources, and their contributions to the state economy, seriously.

So please take a minute and contact your Senator and Assemblymember.  Ask them to increase funding for the ocean and Great Lakes.






It's Time to Say YES to Offshore Wind

New York is at an energy crossroads. We must choose between more fossil fuels that will leave us with a legacy of toxic pollution or a pollution-free, renewable energy future.  New York is considering multiple proposals to advance offshore wind farms.  It’s time to end Long Island’s continued reliance on dirty fossil fuels, and invest in responsibly sited offshore wind! While nearly 1,000 land-based wind turbines have been installed throughout the state, New York's offshore wind energy potential is completely untapped.  But that can change, as New York has vast offshore wind energy potential.

The U.S. Department of Energy has a goal of 54,000 MW (megawatts) of offshore wind energy by 2030, largely focusing on the Great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean, which could:

  • Generate enough electricity to power over 20 million homes;
  • Generate $200 billion in new economic activity;
  • Create 43,000 permanent, high-paying jobs; and
  • Displace 140 million tons of carbon dioxide, the chief pollutant responsible for climate change


In response to Long Islanders’ demands for clean power, last year the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) committed to purchasing 280 MW of new renewable energy—enough to power 150,000 homes. The LIPA Board of Trustees is expected to decide on this new power source by the end of the year. It is critical that LIPA not delay and move forward with New York’s first offshore wind farm!

Viable projects to develop offshore wind energy have been proposed, including a wind farm planned for 30 miles off of Montauk. This wind farm, which would not be visible from shore, could supply Long Island with up to 240 MW of clean, renewable energy—enough to power 120,000 homes!


  • Offshore wind will stabilize energy costs and diversify LI's energy supply: At present, 97% of Long Island’s electricity comes from fossil fuel sources. While the cost of fossil fuels is volatile and increasing, the cost of offshore wind is declining and will be fixed and guaranteed for the duration of the power purchase agreement (often 20 years).
  • Offshore wind will reduce dangerous emissions: Transitioning to clean, offshore wind energy will keep our families safer by reducing dangerous emissions. The wind farm proposed off of Montauk would displace over 1.7 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Not only will this help to avoid future climate-fueled disasters like Superstorm Sandy, but it will protect public health by reducing other harmful pollutants, such as mercury.
  • Offshore wind creates sustainable, green jobs: Offshore wind can create tens of thousands of new jobs, attract new manufacturing industries, and be a substantial economic driver for New York. Developing offshore wind will bring jobs in construction, manufacturing, marine biology, engineering, and in the legal, environmental and professional service sectors on Long Island.
  • Offshore wind provides reliable energy where and when we need it most: Europe has been successfully harnessing the power of offshore wind for more than 20 years.Wind resources over the oceans are stronger and more consistent than onshore, meaning offshore wind can generate more electricty.  Offshore wind power is strongest in the summer months and in the afternoons, which is precisely when Long Islanders use the most electricity.

HOW YOU CAN HELP! We need to send a strong message on NY’s clean energy future. There are two ways you can help:

1. Write to Governor Cuomo, LIPA Chairman Suozzi, and Public Service Commission (PSC) Director Bovey:

  • Urge Governor Cuomo to move ahead with responsibly sited offshore wind in New York! Offshore wind is a viable, clean alternative to dirty fossil fuels.
  • Urge LIPA Chairman Suozzi and PSC Director Bovey to move forward with 280 MW of renewable energy for Long Island! Tell them Long Islanders prefer clean, renewable, large-scale offshore wind power over fossil fuels.
  • Ask for a response in writing, informing you of their position.
  • Remember to include your name, address, and email address in your letter!

    Write to:

  1. Honorable Andrew Cuomo, New York State Governor, Executive Chamber, NYS Capitol, Albany, NY 12224
  2. Ralph Suozzi, LIPA Chairman, OMNI Building, 333 Earle Ovington Blvd., Uniondale, NY 11553
  3. Julia Bovey, Director, Dept. of Public Service, Long Island Office, 125 East Bethpage Road, Plainview, NY 11803

2. Attend the "Let's Turn, Not Burn" Rally for Renewables at the LIPA Board Meeting on Thursday, October 30th, 2014

On Thursday, October 30, the LIPA Board will hold a final meeting before making its decision on whether to move forward on a major investment in offshore wind. CCE will be delivering thousands of petitions as well as letters of support from our elected officials. There will be an opportunity for members of the public to make comments. Your voice is needed to make sure Governor Cuomo and the LIPA Board keep their promise to Long Islanders to invest in renewable energy by moving forward with offshore wind now.

When: Thursday, October 30, 2014, 10:00am Where: LIPA HQ, 333 Earle Ovington Blvd, Uniondale, NY


Check the Facebook event page for updates!

Tips for Making Comments:

  • Urge the LIPA Board to act on the renewable energy RFP by December! Long Island must move forward with clean, renewable offshore wind energy.
  • Mention that offshore wind is a viable, clean alternative to dirty fossil fuels.
  • Tell the Board that building a large scale offshore wind project will attract new businesses, create jobs, and grow our economy while providing Long Island with clean, reliable power.