New York can be the model for building a cleaner, brighter tomorrow by making communities more energy efficient, and stepping away from a dirty fossil-fuel past by putting people to work developing renewable, local energy. With Governor Cuomo’s commitment to cutting carbon pollution a full 80 percent by 2050, every community planning and infrastructure effort undertaken in 2014 and beyond should be done with a clear eye towards the impacts of climate change.
Protecting New York from Fracking
The more people hear about fracking, the more concerned they are. Fracking could harm our communities, waterways, air quality, and public health. And new data on climate-altering methane released from fracking operations leaves the industry’s “clean” claims in doubt. New York isn’t fracking yet, but the dangers remain and we’re already seeing consequences from neighbor states who rushed to drill.
Holding Polluters Accountable
A loss of over 800 staff since 2008 has forced the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to choose between increasingly poor options as it struggles to carry out its mission of environmental protection. This has left our environment and public health vulnerable to harmful pollution. The FY2014-15 budget should restore DEC staff levels to address the losses sustained at the agency.
Fair, Social Justice-Driven Community Revitalization
Environmental investments create jobs, stimulate local economies, and make New York a more desirable place to live and work. Environmental Advocates plans includes:
- Brownfields reform to ensure public funds for toxic cleanup are not giveaways to developers, clean up as many sites as possible, and are fairly distributed to communities statewide.
- $200 million in funding for the Environmental Protection Fund.
Protecting Our Kids and Public Health
It is easy to assume that the products we buy at the store are safe, that they have been vetted by experts and proven not to be a risk to our families. But often that is not the case and manufacturers fight families’ right-to-know at every step. There should be full disclosure from product manufacturers regarding what’s in the items they make along with stricter regulations to protect New Yorkers from substances that have been identified as potentially dangerous. New York must also take steps to clean up its waste stream, including reducing the proliferation of disposable bags and unnecessary food waste.