July Newsletter


Victory! Governor Cuomo Signs Drug Take Back Act into Law

Governor Cuomo signed the Drug Take Back Act into law, which will help keep unused drugs out of the hands of abusers and out of our treasured water resources. This landmark bill ensures that the multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry—not the taxpayers—will fund a robust, statewide program to provide all New Yorkers with convenient access to safe pharmaceutical drug disposal options. It requires that all chain pharmacies provide a safe drug disposal option for customers and allows police precincts and independent pharmacies to also participate. In July, we celebrated this victory at a press conference with the bill's champion, Senator Kemp Hannon.

Victory! Governor Malloy Signs Improved Sewage Right to Know Law

CCE joined CT Governor Dannel Malloy as he signed a bill strengthening the state's Sewage Right to Know Law. CCE successfully advocated for CT's Sewage Right to Know Law in 2012, which aimed to mandate that residents be notified when a sewage overflow occurs in their area. That law had fallen short in providing all residents in every community with convenient access to timely information on sewage overflows, which is why CCE fought for an improved bill this year. Now, all wastewater treatment plant operators are required to report sewage overflows electronically, making the information available to the public online. The law also requires plant operators to notify municipal leaders about sewage overflows in their communities so those leaders can take actions to protect their residents. A huge thank you to everyone who helped get this necessary public health protection law passed!

CCE Releases 1,4-Dioxane Shoppers Guide

Since the release of our report on widespread 1,4-dioxane contamination in Long Island drinking water last year, concerned residents have asked what personal care products put them at risk of exposure to 1,4-dioxane. This contaminant is a byproduct of manufacturing and is not listed on product labels, so CCE went to work to find the answer! We had 30 personal care products, including shampoos, bath soaps, baby products, and detergents, independently tested for 1,4-dioxane. Of the 30 products, 23 tested positive for the contaminant! To find out which products had high levels of 1,4-dioxane and learn more about our fight to protect public health and our drinking water from this emerging contaminant, check out our shopper's guide.


Fighting the Trump Administration's Rollbacks to Endangered Species Protections

In July, CCE's Louis Burch joined U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal at a press conference condemning the Trump administration's plan to roll back critical provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). For the last 45 years, the ESA has effectively helped identify and protect more than 2,300 endangered plant and animal species and their habitats. We cannot afford to lose these crucial protection measures and put our endangered species at further risk.

Ending the Use of Dirty Coal and Fighting Climate Change in New York State

We attended public hearings in WNY and in Albany on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation's proposed rule to phase out the use of dirty coal power in the state by 2020! We spoke in support of these first-in-the-nation regulations and provided recommendations to make the regulations even stronger by ensuring that the retired coal plants do not repower with fracked gas.

What Causes NY's Worst Cancer Clusters?

Governor Cuomo has announced a new cancer research initiative focusing on exploring environmental factors that contribute to high rates of cancer in certain New York communities. The study focuses on four regions: the western part of the state surrounding Erie County, the eastern part of the state surrounding Warren County, Staten Island, and an area of Long Island including Selden, Farmingville, and Centereach. CCE attended a community meeting on Long Island to discuss the new initiative, the toll high cancer rates have taken on families and communities, and potential environmental issues that contribute to this problem locally.

Creating a Living Barrier Reef in Lido Beach, NY

CCE's Maureen Dolan Murphy joined Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, Senator Todd Kaminsky, Town Councilwoman Erin King-Sweeney, and Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana to launch a living barrier reef around Long Meadow Island, off the coast of Lido Beach on Long Island. The reef is composed of tens of thousands of discarded clam and oyster shells from nearby seafood restaurants. Hundreds of mesh bags containing the discarded shells were linked together and submerged in the Western Bays to restore wetlands and encourage proliferation of oysters and clams.

Saying No to Fracking Waste

Fracking waste threatens our land, water, and health. To help educate municipal recyclers on the dangers of hazardous fracking waste, CCE moderated a panel discussion at the Connecticut Recyclers Coalition Breakfast Series. We joined state and local elected officials, other environmental advocates, and oil and gas industry experts to discuss the potential impacts this fracking waste poses to our communities and our environment.

Restoring Canaan Lake in Patchogue, NY

Canaan Lake in Patchogue was dying, overrun by invasive species and experiencing algal blooms due to excessive nitrogen pollution. The only way to restore water quality in the lake was to drain it, dredge the lake bed to remove any remaining stems and roots of invasive plants, and allow it to refill with groundwater. The first step of this process, draining the lake, has been completed. In July, we joined Suffolk County Executive Bellone, Legislator Calarco, and community leaders to announce that the County has approved the funding for the second step, dredging the lake bed. We look forward to a restored, pristine Canaan Lake for Long Island soon!

Suffolk County Residents: Change Out Your Septic System (and Make a Short Film)

Over the summer and fall, CCE is hosting a series of forums highlighting the importance of reducing nitrogen pollution from outdated septic systems and cesspools. We will be helping residents get grants to change out their old systems for new, on-site, nitrogen-reducing treatment systems through Suffolk County's Reclaim Our Water program. So far, we have held forums for Huntington and Riverhead residents and have received a great response, but community meetings aren't the only way to get out the word on this important issue. Want to help us educate the public on water protection, show off your creativity, and possibly win a cash prize? Reclaim Our Water is holding a film contest and asking residents to make short videos (15 seconds to 1 minute) on the importance of improving our water resources. First prize is $2,000! Learn more about the contest and how to enter.

Upcoming: "The Health and Science of Our Bays: A Fire Island Perspective"

CCE will be co-hosting a forum titled "The Health and Science of Our Bays: A Fire Island Perspective" on August 17, from 10:00–11:30am, at the firehouse at 105 Broadway Walk, in the Village of Saltaire. It will be a discussion with environmental and governmental experts on water quality challenges and solutions. Speakers include Adrienne Esposito from CCE and representatives from the United States Geological Survey, Suffolk County Health Department, and The Nature Conservancy.