Highlights and Happenings: July 2019


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Governor Cuomo Signs Nation’s Strongest Climate Bill into Law

We were excited to witness history as Governor Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act into law. This law requires net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, 70% renewable energy by 2030, funding for low income and frontline communities, carbon-free electricity by 2040, and more. In addition, Governor Cuomo announced two new offshore wind projects, off of NYC and Long Island, which will generate 1,700MW—enough to power over one million homes with clean, local energy! Thank you again to Senator Kaminsky and Assemblyman Englebright for championing this legislation through the legislature.


Calling on Presidential Candidates to Support Great Lakes Restoration
We joined with our partners at the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition to release a Great Lakes platform and urge presidential candidates to explain how they will support efforts to restore the Great Lakes and protect New York’s drinking water. The platform highlights the need for presidential candidates to support a $475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, triple water infrastructure funding, uphold clean water protections, reduce harmful algal blooms, and prevent Asian carp from entering the lakes. CCE is not endorsing, nor opposing, any candidate.


Celebrating Water Reuse on Long Island

SUEZ and Nassau County have invested in Long Island’s largest water reuse project at their Cedar Creek wastewater treatment plant in Wantagh, NY. The project will save almost one million gallons of water per day and the water treated from the sewage treatment plant will be reused for plant operations. In July, CCE joined County Executive Curran, the SUEZ team, and other water protection advocates for a press conference and a tour of the water reuse operation at the facility.

Keeping Up the Fight Against 1,4-Dioxane
The New York State Legislature passed a bill banning 1,4-dioxane in household products, and we are now pushing for the Governor to sign the bill into law. In July, the NYS Department of Health proposed the strongest drinking water standard for 1,4-dioxane in the nation (1 part per billion)! While we push at the state level, we are continuing to work with municipalities to combat this emerging contaminant local level. In July, we joined several Long Island water suppliers and Nassau County Legislators for a press conference and a public hearing, including a panel discussion with CCE’s Adrienne Esposito, to discuss what Nassau County can do to protect our drinking water and public health from 1,4-dioxane at the local level.


Tackling PFAS Contamination in Connecticut
On June 12, 50,000 gallons of water and PFAS foam stored at Bradley Airport leaked into the Farmington River. In July, CCE joined U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, along with environmental advocates and local leaders, to call on congress to reclassify PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019. This effort failed, but CCE and the Senator continue to push for federal regulation of PFAS chemicals by the EPA, and funding to clean up existing drinking water contamination from PFAS chemicals. In addition, we joined the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for a public forum to discuss the PFAS contamination in the Farmington River. For those in the area, contamination levels in the river have fallen, but DEEP still recommends avoiding eating fish caught in the river.

Next Up in the Fight Against Plastic Pollution: Balloons
The balloons we release into the air do not just fly away; they end up in our lakes and oceans, killing wildlife and breaking down into harmful microplastics. Earlier this year, the Town of East Hampton, NY banned the intentional release of balloons, and now Suffolk County is considering following suit. In July, CCE and our partners in the fight against plastic pollution testified in favor of a county law banning the intentional release of balloons and requiring signage to educate the public on this important issue. Thanks to all who came out to the public hearing and supported the bill. We’ll keep working until we get this local law passed!

Welcoming New Research to Combat Nitrogen Pollution
We were proud to stand with Dr. Chris Gobler, Senators Kaminsky and LaValle, Assemblymembers Englebright and Thiele, the NYS DEC, and Suffolk County for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the New York State Center for Clean Water Technology’s new Wastewater Research & Innovation Facility (WRIF) in Suffolk County, NY. The facility is designed to test advanced nutrient removal systems to be used as alternatives to traditional on-site septic systems. To conduct research, the facility utilizes a constant supply of domestic wastewater from the Suffolk County Department of Public Works' (SCDPW) existing wastewater pumping station. This research is part of an ongoing commitment from Suffolk County and NYS to reduce nitrogen and other pollution from septic systems.

Reimagining the Erie Canal
The Reimagine the Canals Task Force is in the process of examining how the historic Erie Canal system can be redeveloped to become a more vital force for boosting local economies, tourism, recreation, and strengthening environmental resiliency. We attended a public meeting in Syracuse to raise and discuss environmental priorities as the task force begins to develop their recommendation to the Governor. We highlighted that this is an opportunity to address invasive species, improve climate change resiliency, restore habitats, mitigate flooding, and increase equitable recreational opportunities. We are continuing to work to ensure that environmental benefits are a priority as recommendations for the Canal are developed.


Trawling for Microplastics in the Great South Bay, LI
CCE has joined with Protecting the Environment in Patchogue, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Fire Island National Seashore, and St. Josephs College to further understand microplastics in rivers, bays, and harbors. In the next few months we will be seen out on Patchogue River and in the Great South Bay collecting water samples that will be analyzed for microplastics by St. Josephs College. Stay tuned for results!

In June, the Public Service Commission held public hearings on South Fork Wind Farm and the much-needed cable connection between the offshore wind turbines and the East Hampton power grid. We came out in force and testified on the importance of bringing 130mw of clean wind to Long Island.  CCE thanks everyone who came out to support wind power. If you missed the hearings, you can check out Adrienne Esposito’s testimony here and submit your own letters of support to secretary@dps.ny.gov.

Save the Date: Water and Marine Mammals Forum on Fire Island
Join CCE and Atlantic Marine Conservation Society for a discussion on efforts to protect drinking water quality and marine mammals, including the record number of whales returning to our area. The forum is free and open to the public. It will be held on August 12, 11am-12:30pm, at Saltaire Library (103 Broadway) on Fire Island, NY.