Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions

New York State Budget Victories

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Once again the New York State budget has been delivered on time.  The 2014 budget season resulted in some hard-fought victories for CCE and I’m thrilled to be able to share them with you:

$500,000 for the 2012 Sewage Right to Know law.  As you probably remember, CCE worked tirelessly to pass this law in 2012.  Unfortunately, it has not yet been fully implemented.  One key blockade was access to technology by municipalities.  This law is designed to inform the public when raw or partially treated sewage enters our waterways, because we have a right to know  when and where polluted waters may threaten public health.  This funding is intended to help municipalities get access to the technology they need to inform the public.

$650,000 to expand New York’s pharmaceutical disposal program.  Currently New York collects unused pharmaceuticals from hospitals and healthcare facilities in Monroe County and portion of the NYC watershed (the Croton Watershed).  These funds are intended to help prevent the flushing of unwanted prescription drugs by providing free pickup service for health care facilities and hospitals.  The unwanted drugs will then be taken to an incinerator for safe disposal.  CCE is working to make this a program that is accessible across New York State.

$9 million increase for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).  The EPF supports programs from recycling to clean water to zoos.  Every New Yorker from Montauk to Buffalo is benefitted by the EPF.  The EPF suffered dramatic blows during the economic downturn, but is now on its way back up.  The total EPF currently stands at $162 million.

Preserving New York’s hallmark 1996 Pesticide Reporting law.  This law has led to ground-breaking medical and scientific research, innovative public policy initiatives, and increased health protections for the public.  A proposal to remove the requirement that commercial pesticide applicators must report when, where, and how many pesticides they apply was not included in the final budget.

Saving clean energy programs.  There were proposals to raid the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) funding and transfer the money to the general budget.  These funds support renewable energy development, fight climate change, and create green jobs.  The programs were protected and the proposal was not included in the final budget.

$3 million for Suffolk County water quality protection.  These funds will be matched by Suffolk County to total $6 million for protection of ground and surface waters.  These funds are intended to advance decentralized septic systems.

$300,000 increase for Oceans and Great Lakes.  These funds are essential for the state’s efforts to protect and restore these waters and leverage federal funds.  This fund is now at $5.05 million.   

$200,000 for Long Island Pesticide Prevention.  This provides for the implementation of programs to reduce pesticide use by consumers, businesses and farmers.

A big thank you to all of CCE’s members and supporters who help make these victories a reality.  I’m looking forward to the rest of the New York State legislative session, which ends in June.

 

 

 

 

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