(Massapequa, NY) Senators John E. Brooks and Todd Kaminsky were joined by Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and members of the State Senate Democrats to unveil legislation addressing the Trump Administration’s plan to drastically cut the federal Superfund program. The current federal program creates jobs and protects New Yorkers by removing toxic chemicals from contaminated sites around the state, and any cuts will dramatically harm communities, especially on Long Island. The Senate Democratic plan also includes efforts to provide New York State and localities with essential tools to help prevent future illegal dumping and hold polluters accountable. The Democratic Policy Group released an accompanying report supporting the legislation entitled, “Protecting Jobs, Health and Our Communities: Enhancing New York’s Superfund in the Age of Trump.”
Bill Sponsor, Senator John E. Brooks said, “For too long, illegal dumping and polluting has occurred on Long Island and across New York State. With my legislation, the Department of Environmental Conservation will implement a grant program to help local enforcement efforts to combat illegal dumping. This state assistance will help our towns and villages deter illegal dumping and prosecute the offenders. I’m committed to protecting the health of Long Islanders and all New Yorkers, and urge my colleagues in the State Senate to join the Senate Democratic Conference in this important effort.”
Bill Sponsor and Environmental Conservation Committee Ranker, Senator Todd Kaminsky said, “Utilizing our significant market power, New York can decrease the overall level of construction and demolition debris as well as set the tone for a cleaner and more responsible future. We should make it easier and more cost effective for a business to recycle, rather than to illegally dump materials wherever they see fit.”
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “With the Trump Administration planning to slash environmental programs and protect polluters, it is up to New York State government to protect our health, economy and environment. I commend Senator John E. Brooks and Senator Todd Kaminsky for taking leadership roles on protecting Long Island, and all of New York State. The Senate Democrats understand that New York’s economic and environmental health are deeply connected, and that is why we must take real action to protect them both.”
Bill Sponsor and Senate Democratic Policy Group Chair, Daniel Squadron said, “With Trump's Environmental Protection Agency more focused on cutting environmental jobs and attacking the environment than protecting either, it's all the more urgent that New York act to save those jobs and ensure communities are healthy, clean, and green. Preventing and addressing illegal waste and contaminants in communities is important to our environment, our health, and our local economies. I thank Leader Stewart-Cousins, the members of the Democratic Conference Policy Group, and Senators Brooks, Kaminsky, Addabbo, Comrie, and Stavisky.”
Currently, President Trump’s proposed federal budget cuts $330 million from the federal Superfund program. That is a 30% cut in resources for this essential federal program that cleans up sites contaminated with dangerous toxins and pollutants. New York State currently has 85 federal Superfund sites including Eighteen Mile Creek in Lockport, the Hopewell Precision Area in Hopewell Junction, and numerous sites on Long Island and around the state. Additionally, in New York, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) figures show 6,185 people employed and $277 million in annual income from businesses operating on Superfund sites that have been safely rehabilitated.
Many communities are also facing increasingly severe problems with illegal waste disposal, including the dumping of often-contaminated construction and demolition debris. This type of disposal has been especially prominent in public areas, creating illegal “dumping grounds” that imperil residents and ruin local quality of life by destroying precious environments.
To address this serious threat to the economy, environment and public health highlighted in the Senate Democratic Policy Group report, Protecting Jobs, Health and Our Communities: Enhancing New York’s Superfund in the Age of Trump, Senators Brooks and Kaminsky and their Senate Democratic colleagues introduced a series of bills. These measures include legislation that will:
Give New Yorkers Stronger Tools to Hold Polluters Accountable for Environmental Cleanup – Senator Comrie
- By making polluters explicitly liable and adding stronger legal remedies like liens and treble damages to New York’s Superfund, New York can better address the increasingly severe and dangerous dumping being experienced by many communities. Senate Bill S.6466, sponsored by Senator Comrie, would provide these new and stronger tools for the state and localities to hold those responsible for dumping accountable.
Increase Enforcement and Penalties for Commercial Offenders so Illegal Dumping Isn’t Cheaper Than Legal Disposal – Senators Brooks and Stavisky
- Increased penalties are likely to reduce illegal disposal and could fund additional enforcement staff in areas experiencing the most significant illegal disposal issues. Senate Bill S.6467, sponsored by Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, will better deter future incidents by strengthening the penalties for illegal dumping.
- The state can also assist localities looking to increase enforcement through state support and coordination. For example, several localities are seeking to install surveillance cameras in areas where illegal dumping is a concern. Senate Bill S.6316, sponsored by Senator John E. Brooks, will support these initiatives for all interested communities and coordinate programs across localities. This will ease local burdens and help prevent perpetrators from moving from locality to locality.
Use New York’s Market Power to Increase Recycling of Construction Materials – Senator Kaminsky
- Senate Bill S.6275, sponsored by Senator Todd Kaminsky, will require a certain percentage of the debris generated by state projects be subject to recycling goals. Additionally, this bill will mandate that state and local contracts consider contractors construction and debris recycling compliance. Through this legislation, New York can use its significant market power to decrease statewide construction and demolition debris.
Increase State Support for Local Prevention Programs To Reduce Illegal Garbage – Senators Addabbo and Squadron
- Senate Bill S.6174, sponsored by Senator Daniel Squadron, recognizes the need to assist homeowners and small businesses dispose of garbage appropriately and will establish the small business and household pollution prevention program.
- Under Senate Bill S.6463, sponsored by Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., existing state programs will be reviewed to ensure they are providing adequate assistance to communities facing the most significant problems with electronic equipment recycling and reuse requirements.
You can read the full report and analysis here: https://www.scribd.com/document/349343665/Protecting-Jobs-Health-and-Our-Communities-Enhancing-New-York-s-Superfund-in-the-Age-of-Trump
Bill Sponsor, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. said, “We are facing many threats to our environment that require our attention and action, including issues surrounding the proper disposal and reuse of electronic waste. With new electronic devices coming onto the market seemingly every day, the need to help New Yorkers safely and conveniently handle and recycle e-waste will only continue to grow. While New York’s 2010 e-waste recycling and reuse law was enacted with the very best of intentions, it hasn’t lived up to its promise, as I can tell you from electronics recycling events I have sponsored in my own district. We need to identify weaknesses in our e-waste disposal system and devise effective solutions.”
Bill Sponsor, Senator Leroy Comrie said, “Now more than ever it is absolutely necessary for the State Legislature to step up and pass laws to protect New Yorkers from harmful policies and budget cuts at the federal level. As the president seeks to recklessly slash funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, my colleagues in the Democratic Conference and I are pushing for a host of proactive measures in the name of public health, safety, and environmental preservation, including S.6466, which would empower New Yorkers to hold those who pollute our land and waterways accountable for the costs of cleaning it up while discouraging others from compromising the air we breathe and water we drink in the first place.”
Bill Sponsor, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “Recently the Department of Environmental Conservation and local law enforcement discovered nine illegal dumping sites in the Hudson Valley as well as numerous violations related to the transport of waste right here in Long Island. These illegal activities only hurt our communities while enriching big business. It is time that our laws truly go after the offenders who are destroying the environment and endangering the health of our families.”
Senator Jamaal Bailey said, “The $330 million budget cuts proposed by President Trump would eliminate thousands of jobs and will put communities at risk of hazardous toxins and chemicals. The state has to lead the way in ensuring that we protect New Yorkers' jobs and health. A lack of action would have detrimental effects and place us in a vulnerable state. I am proud to support the anti-dumping and environmental protection legislative package.”
Senator Kevin Parker said, “I support my colleagues in the Senate as they work to push legislation that will encourage more recycling and curb pollution. We must work together to save our planet and remain innovative in our efforts to protect the environment.”
Senator James Sanders, Jr. said, “There is a Native American proverb that says: ‘We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.’ It’s just another way of saying we should be doing all we can to protect the environment, not only for ourselves, but for future generations. That is why I am proud to support my colleagues in the Democratic Conference as we move forward with this package of anti-dumping and environmental protection bills.”