Highlights and Happenings: April 2019


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Victory! Governor Cuomo Signs Offshore Drilling Ban


While the federal government may want to open the Atlantic to offshore oil and gas drilling, NYS has stood up and said NO! We were thrilled to join our partners, Governor Cuomo, and Billy Joel at Jones Beach for the signing of this critical legislation that will prohibit drilling off of NY’s coast to protect our waters and coastal communities. Thank you again to Senator Kaminsky and Assemblyman Englebright for your leadership.

Victory! NYS Atlantic Menhaden Protection Bill Becomes Law

Atlantic Menhaden (AKA bunker fish) are one of the most important species in the ocean and a major food source for whales, dolphins, coastal sharks, predatory fish, seals, and seabirds. Great efforts have been made to restore the once overfished Menhaden, with the species reaching historic levels in New York’s waters, but this increase in Menhaden population comes with an increased risk of overfishing by industrial fishing operations. With the signing of the Atlantic Menhaden Protection bill, NYS has stepped up to further protect this crucial species.

Ramping Up the Fight Against Plastic Pollution

  • NYS Victory! April was a big month for our campaign to reduce plastic pollution. We joined Governor Cuomo on Long Island as he signed NYS’s plastic bag ban into law on Earth Day. This is a huge leap forward in the fight to break our single-use plastic habit and we are beyond excited to see a plastic bag-free NY in March of 2020.

  • NYC Victory! To compliment the statewide ban on plastic bags, NYC passed a law placing a 5-cent fee on paper bags that will go into effect the same day as the state’s plastic bag ban. This will incentivize reusable bags and ensure that millions of New Yorkers don’t just switch from plastic to paper.

  • Suffolk County Victories! After showing great leadership by implementing a carryout bag fee in 2018, Suffolk continues to tackle single-use plastics. In April, the Suffolk County Legislature passed bills to ban plastic straws, ban polystyrene (Styrofoam) packaging, and ban single-use plastics in county parks.

  • CT BYOBag and Bottle Bills: We are fighting to pass a statewide #BYOBag law and modernize the bottle bill during the last six weeks of the legislative session in CT this year.  In April, we joined together with UConnPIRG and League of Women Voters of CT to lobby our legislators these much-needed plastic reduction bills.


Victories! NYS Legislature Passes “Earth Day” Package of Bills

The NYS legislature passed a package of critical measures to protect public health and the environment in April, which will next be sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature.  CCE priority bills that passed include:

  • Child Safe Products Act: This bill, which we have been working on for several years, will prohibit toxic chemicals like mercury and arsenic from being used in products designed for children.

  • Ban on Chlorpyrifos: This bill will ban the dangerous pesticide chlorpyrifos, which islinked to impaired brain development in children and lower IQs, and declines in pollinators such as bees.


CCE Celebrates Earth Day!

April was Earth Month, and CCE participated in great events throughout NY and CT focused on protecting our air, land, water, and public health.  Some of the highlights include:

  • Keeping Plastics out of Long Island Sound Forum – We joined Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Town of Huntington for a great public forum and discussion on the impact plastic pollution has on Long Island Sound and what you can do to help.

  • Rock to Rock Earth Day Bike Ride – We participated in the 2019 Rock to Rock Bike Ride for Environmental Awareness. Thanks to all who donated and all who came out for a great event.

  • St. Joseph’s College, Stony Brook University, and Half Hollow Hills Library Earthstock – On Long Island, we tabled at Earth Week events focusing on protecting our drinking and surface waters from nitrogen, pharmaceuticals, and other emerging contaminants.

  • Speaking about plastic pollution in Western New York: We joined with University of Buffalo and other local partners for a Beyond Plastics event with former EPA regional administrator Judith Enck for a discussion on how to reduce plastic pollution, including bags, straws, and Styrofoam.  We also presented to the Orchard Park Garden Club on the threats that plastic pollution poses to the Great Lakes.

Tackling Food Waste and Hunger


New York generates an estimated 4 million tons of excess food annually, which makes up 18% of the state’s municipal solid waste stream (most goes to landfills).  To address this problem, NYS passed the Food Redistribution and Recycling law, which requires commercial establishments that produce more than 2 tons of food waste each week to donate the edible food to food banks and the food scraps for compost/anaerobic digestion.  In April, we were proud to stand with Senator Kaminsky, Assemblyman Englebright, other legislative champions, and our partners for a press conference celebrating the passage of this game-changing law.

NYS: Ban 1,4-Dioxane in Products!

Last month, we reported that 65 out of 80 common household products we tested contained hidden carcinogen 1,4-dioxane. The only way to prevent further contamination of our water resources and protect public health is to ban 1,4-dioxane from products. In April, we headed to Albany for a lobby day and press conference where we presented 12,000+ petition signatures urging our state representatives to ban 1,4-dioxane in consumer products. If you haven’t yet, find out how you can take action to support legislation banning 1,4-dioxane in household products.

Next Steps on Restoring the Western Bays

CCE, Operation SPLASH and The Nature Conservancy hosted a forum to update community members in south shore Nassau County on the plan to divert sewage from the Western Bays. It was great to hear from the scientists, local and state agencies, and wastewater experts on how far we have come with the proposal to connect the South Shore Water Reclamation Facility and Long Beach Sewage Treatment Plant to an existing ocean outfall pipe at the Cedar Creek Sewage Treatment Plant. We also got some important updates on the upgrades that have been made to South Shore WRF to reduce nitrogen and other pollutants entering our local waterways. Thanks to all who came out!

Expanding Bottle Recycling in CT

CCE’s Louis Burch joined legislators, municipal recycling coordinators, town mayors and first selectmen for a press conference in April urging the state to modernize the bottle bill. The 5-cent deposit on bottles is one of the most successful environmental laws in the state’s history, but it needs to be updated and expanded to improve recycling and ease the burden on municipalities faced with skyrocketing recycling costs. We are pushing to ensure legislation modernizing the bottle bill is passed in 2019.

Brookhaven Town Residents Fight Back Against Landfill


In April, residents of Brookhaven, along with teachers and parents at the Frank P. Long School, filed a lawsuit against the Town due to excessive odors and numerous health impacts from the Brookhaven Landfill. CCE has worked with residents and those at the school to fight to control odors at the landfill for years, but the Town continues to turn a blind eye to the problems faced by the community. Now, with no options left, over 20 impacted community members will be taking the Town to court.