Looking for something to do with your newfound free time? Take action to protect NY’s environment in the state budget

25 Mar 2020 | 10:52

Practicing social distancing? Looking for something to do with your newfound free time? Take a minute to tell the New York State legislature to support environmental priorities in the state budget.

Here at Citizens Campaign for the Environment, we are taking the novel coronavirus pandemic very seriously. We are taking precautions to protect the health and safety of our staff, and we hope every one of you is doing the same. Together, we will get through this difficult time!

While our staff is working remotely, we are continuing to work hard to advance our environmental priorities in the state budget. Taking urgent action is critical — the governor and state legislature are expected to finish the state budget this week, far ahead of the March 31st deadline. While the COVID-19 crisis is rightfully taking center stage, New York State cannot waiver in its responsibility to provide clean water, clean air, and healthy communities through the budget process.

What’s at stake? There are several initiatives being considered in the state budget that are essential to protecting the environment and public health in New York State. Here are some of our top priorities that we need your help to support:

$3 Billion Environmental Bond Act: From the shores of the Great Lakes to the tip of Long Island, we need to ensure that our communities are protected from the threats of climate change. An environmental bond act would help communities fight flooding, extreme weather, and sea level rise, while simultaneously protecting clean drinking water and restoring natural ecosystems. Once enacted in the budget, the bond act would then need to be approved by the voters in November.

$300 million Environmental Protection Fund (EPF): Since 1993, the EPF has supported projects in every community across the state—protecting drinking water, saving family farms, building community parks, bolstering recycling programs, revitalizing waterfronts, and so much more. NY must continue to support the EPF with a meaningful level funding of at least $300 million.

Ban styrofoam: Styrofoam pollutes our communities and waterways, and threatens public health. It is also unnecessary, as sustainable alternatives to Styrofoam food containers and packaging are readily available.

Fix New York’s broken system for siting renewable energy projects: New York’s process for siting wind and solar projects is broken — it can take 5 to 10 years to get a single project approved and built. Many project proposals linger for years, while developers cancel other projects altogether. If we are going to meet NY’s ambitious (and necessary) renewable energy goal of 70% by 2030, we must adopt a streamlined process that ensures projects are built in a timely manner, while also standing up to rigorous environmental review.

Take a moment to email legislative leaders in support of these budget initiatives. Spending lots of time on social media these days? Looking for some Citizens Campaign for the Environment extra credit? Take a moment to tweet at Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins. Here is a sample tweet that you can use: The #NYSBudget must protect clean water and fight climate change! @CarlHeastie & @AndreaSCousins please support $300m #NYEnviroFund, $3b environmental bond act, ban on #Styrofoam, and fix our broken process for siting renewable energy!

Thank you for taking action. Stay safe and healthy!

Citizens Campaign for the Environment