Highlights and Happenings: December 2018
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Working with CT Governor-Elect Lamont to Tackle Solid Waste and Recycling
Our Connecticut Program Director Louis Burch was invited by Governor-Elect Ned Lamont's transition team to participate in its environmental policy subcommittee. We are helping to identify and outline the new administration's top priorities regarding solid waste and recycling, including eliminating single-use plastics (e.g., bags), improving public education on recycling, expanding curbside food waste composting, and modernizing CT's Bottle Bill. The subcommittee unveiled its priority recommendations at a public meeting in December.
NYS Drinking Water Council Recommends Toughest Standards in the Nation for Emerging Contaminants!
The NYS Drinking Water Council has voted to set a standard of 1 ppb for 1,4-dioxane and 10 ppt for PFOS and PFOA. These will be the most rigorous drinking water standards in the nation for these harmful emerging contaminants. Long Island has the highest detected levels of 1,4-dioxane (a likely carcinogen) in the nation. PFOS and PFOA are also toxins that may cause cancer and have been detected at high levels in drinking water wells throughout NY. We look forward to NYS expeditiously adopting these stringent, enforceable standards to protect New Yorkers from harmful toxins and hopefully serve as a model for other states! Happenings
Governor Cuomo Pledges to Make NY's Electricity 100% Carbon Neutral by 2040
We were thrilled to attend a press conference in December where Governor Cuomo announced a new goal to launch a "Green New Deal" and achieve zero carbon emissions in the electric sector by 2040. This effort builds on his 50% renewable energy by 2030 and offshore wind goals and presents a big opportunity to finally transition away from polluting fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy statewide. We look forward to learning more about the Green New Deal and fighting to advance good wind, solar, and other renewable projects.
Going Strawless for Sea Turtles
In December, we received a grant from Long Island Sound Futures Fund focused on preventing plastic pollution entering Long Island Sound. We'll be working in Nassau and Suffolk communities to educate the public on going strawless and conducting coastal cleanups, so stay tuned for more!
Central NY: Stay Warm This Winter with Geothermal!
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 upcoming HeatSmart events. If you own a home or business in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, or Oswego, you can sign up for a free, no obligation energy assessment!
Working to Ensure Affordable Drinking Water in the City of Buffalo
From 2010 to 2017, water costs increased 41 percent across the country as water shutoffs also increased. As we work to make investments in protecting drinking water, we are also working to ensure that water remains affordable, particularly to low-income residents. In December, CCE's Brian Smith testified at a City of Buffalo Water Board hearing calling for a robust water affordability program. We commend the Water Board for moving forward with a program to provide low-income residents with a credit to ensure that their water bills don't increase in the short term; however, we recognize that this is only a first step and more needs to be done to ensure that water rates remain affordable in the years to come.
Implementing the New York State Drug Take Back Act
In 2018—with your help—we passed the monumental NYS Drug Take Back Act, which will require the pharmaceutical industry to fund a robust, statewide drug take-back program to keep drugs out of our waters and prevent drug abuse. While the law begins to take effect on January 6, 2019, much work remains to ensure that the program is effectively rolled out throughout 2019. In December, we attended a meeting held by the Governor's office and called for the program to provide convenient access to drug drop boxes for every community throughout the state.
Upcoming: 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. We'll be continuing the series throughout the winter and spring of 2019, and our next forum will be at Sachem Public Library on January 14 at 7:00pm. We hope to see you there!
Upcoming: Vote "Yes" to Protect the Forge, Carlls, and Connetquot Rivers
On January 22, voters who live around the Carlls, Connetquot, and Forge Rivers in Suffolk County will be able to vote on a ballot referendum that provides funding for homeowners to hook up to sewage treatment facilities. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these communities to receive $390 million in state and federal funds that will allow residents to ditch their outdated septics and cesspools and move to sewers. Join us at community meetings (below) to learn more about each project and find out if you are eligible to vote. If you live in one of the project areas, don't forget to vote "Yes" on January 22. Community meetings include:
Forge River: January 8, 11:00am and 7:00pm, Mastic Fire Department, 1080 Mastic Road, Mastic, NY.
Carlls River: January 10, 6:00pm, North Babylon Volunteer Fire Company, 20 Hale Road, North Babylon, NY.
Connetquot River: January 18, 7:00pm, Timber Point Elementary School, 200 Timber Point Road, East Islip, NY.