'This bill is very much alive'
Intense negotiations in Albany over climate change legislation are sucking the air out of most every other environmental measure. A bill sponsored by Sen. James Gaughran that passed earlier in the Senate was approved Tuesday by the Assembly that makes it easier for water suppliers to sue polluters to recover cleanup costs. Now on the runway is a bill to ban from consumer products the probable carcinogen 1,4-dioxane, which is emerging as one of the biggest headaches for Long Island water suppliers.
And environmentalists are turning up the heat on that second bill to get it approved.
Citizens Campaign for the Environment delivered some 14,300 signatures on petitions Tuesday morning to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie supporting the legislation. The signatures came from Long Island, the Syracuse area and Stewart-Cousins’ legislative district. CCE members also sent at least 1,950 letters.
“This bill is very much alive,” CCE executive director Adrienne Esposito told The Point. “We are very hopeful it’s going to make it over the finish line because of the outpouring of public support and the need to protect our water.”
The bill is being sponsored by the two Long Island environmental conservation chairs, Assemb. Steve Englebright and Sen. Todd Kaminsky. It has progressed further in the Assembly but Kaminsky is negotiating with Stewart-Cousins in that chamber.
An emerging contaminant that has been showing up in water supplies on Long Island, in particular, 1,4-dioxane was found in more than 80 percent of common household products like shampoos, laundry soaps, dish soaps and baby products, according to a CCE study. The chemical has been linked to various cancers and liver and kidney damage.
Esposito met Friday with several chemical industry and consumer product company representatives, and said, “It was apparent that the industries did not understand their role in contaminating Long Island’s groundwater.”
They do now.
“The bill has legs,” Esposito said as the talks continue..
We’ll find out soon if it’s quick enough to beat the June 19 scheduled end of session.