Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions

Lobbying for the Earth

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Today, hundreds of environmentalists from across New York State traveled to Albany, NY for the 23rd annual Earth Day Lobby Day.  Environmentalists will be meeting with members of the New York State Assembly and Senate, urging representatives to pass a series of bills identified by the environmental community as “Super Bills.”  The bills are common-sense solutions to address threats ranging from toxic toys to dirty drilling to climate change.  CCE staff is participating in today’s lobby day, and will be calling for passage of the Super Bills this legislative session!

The 2013 Earth Day Lobby Day/Super Bills Agenda:

Fracking Moratorium & Health Impacts Assessment (A.5424-A/ S.4236-A)

This legislation requires a comprehensive health impact assessment to determine the public health repercussions of fracking. The assessment must be completed by April 15, 2015. The bill also ensures that no gas drilling permits will be issued for drilling within the Marcellus or Utica Shales prior to the assessment’s completion.

New York Solar Bill (A.5060/S.2522)

This legislation will solidify New York’s commitment to solar energy by establishing, in statute, a stable and predictable incentive program through 2023. The creation of a robust, long-term solar initiative will provide market-certainty which manufacturers, developers, and installers need to invest in New York State. Many other states are moving forward with solar energy development, which is expected to be the second most produced new form of energy in 2013.

Child Safe Products Act (A. 6328/S.4614)

This legislation requires better regulation of toxic chemicals in children’s products. It will prioritize chemicals based on the likelihood for children to be exposed to them, and require disclosure by children’s product manufacturers as to whether their products contain the worst offending chemicals. It will also phase out children’s products made with these chemicals starting January 1, 2018.

Climate Protection Act (A.6327, S.735) 

This plan would establish a greenhouse gas emissions limit from all sources in New York State and require that the limit not be greater than what statewide emissions were in the year 1990. It would also require that the statewide limit be reduced by 20% by the year 2020, with five-year incremental reduction targets thereafter, until overall emissions in 2050 are capped at 80% below the 1990 level.

Campaign Finance Reform

Knowing that bills with broad bipartisan support often fall victim to corporate-funded logjams in Albany, advocates are also urging campaign finance reform that has:

  • A public financing program modeled after the system used in New York City.
  • A new, truly independent oversight and enforcement body.
  • Contribution limits (currently $60,800 for candidates for statewide office and effectively unlimited for political parties) lowered for all political committees.
  • Rules that clearly ban “pay-to-play” to reduce contribution limits for lobbyists and contractors doing business with the state.
  • Improved disclosure requirements.

This is the 23rd annual Earth Day Lobby Day. This year’s event was sponsored by the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Citizen Action of New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Clean and Healthy New York, Environmental Advocates of New York, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York Interfaith Power and Light, New York League of Conservation Voters, New York Public Interest Research Group, Open Space Institute/Alliance for NYS Parks, Parks & Trails New York, Protect the Adirondacks, Riverkeeper, Sierra Club, Vote Solar Initiative, and other organizations.

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