(Yonkers, NY) Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins spent the weekend honoring Earth Day with acts of service, and now the Senator has taken legislative action to mitigate climate change in New York State.
On Saturday, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins led about 20 members of her Youth Student Advisory Council on a cleanup of Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers where they planted trees. Later that same day, the Majority Leader helped volunteers with Groundwork Hudson Valley to clean up the Saw Mill River Daylighting Park in Yonkers by clearing debris.
"Every day is Earth Day, and that's the way it should be. We have to focus on our environment, if we want to protect it for our children and their children," Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. I want to thank the members of my Youth Student Advisory, and all the volunteers who gave their time over the weekend to make New York a bit cleaner and greener."
Returning to Albany on Monday, the Majority Leader was focused on passing legislation to better protect and preserve New York State's natural resources. The legislation passed reduces plastic pollution, increases enforcement of the state’s environmental laws, protects state forests, decreases greenhouse emissions, increases use of state-operated electric vehicles, bolsters the state’s solar production, expands electric vehicle recharging, provides protections for Native nations and tribes, and combats biodiversity and climate crises on state land. The legislation also furthers renewable energy initiatives to meet goals set in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
“Climate change is real and must be addressed to protect future generations,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “This package continues the Senate Majority’s ongoing commitment to New York State being a national and world leader in the fight against climate change. These bills will help protect our natural resources, reduce our environmental footprint, and promote renewable energy. I commend the bill sponsors for championing a cleaner and greener New York.”
The legislation passed includes:
- Reducing Plastic Pollution At Hotels: This bill, S.543, sponsored by Senator Todd Kaminsky, reduces plastic pollution by converting hotels from using individual small bottles to refillable bulk dispensers for hospitality personal care products.
- Expands Environmental Enforcement: This bill, S.1237, sponsored by Senator Michael Gianaris, amends the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) to provide injunctive relief for ECL violations for which there is no specifically stated penalty in law.
- Prohibits Leasing of Certain State-Owned Lands For Gas Production: This bill, S.1421, sponsored by Senator Jose M. Serrano, prohibits the lease of state forests, wildlife management areas and unique areas for the purpose of gas production.
- Decreases Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Transportation Sector: This bill, S.2758, sponsored by Senator Pete Harckham, sets a goal of 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks being zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035, and for 100 percent of medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicle sales to be ZEVs by 2045.
- State Purchase of Zero Emission Vehicles: This bill, S.2838A, sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker, requires preparation of a state fleet procurement plan to ensure that zero emission vehicles will be purchased for state agencies.
- Expands the Market for the State’s Solar Production: This bill, S.3521A, sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker, directs the Public Service Commission to create a system to allow solar energy credits to be transferred between utility territories, making it easier for consumers to access renewable energy.
- Electric Vehicle Recharging: This bill, S.3929, sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy, requires utilities to file an electric vehicle charging tariff with the Public Service Commission that allows a customer to purchase electricity for the purpose of recharging an electric vehicle.
- Protects Native American Hunting and Fishing Rights: This bill, S.5266, sponsored by Senator Rachel May, protects Native Americans from being ticketed for violating fish and game laws when they are exercising hunting and fishing rights protected by treaty.
- Makes “30 by 30” Part of the State’s Land Acquisition Policy: This bill, S.6191, sponsored by Senator Todd Kaminsky, combats the biodiversity and climate crises by setting a goal to conserve at least 30 percent of New York's land by 2030.
- Pollinator Friendly Roadways: This bill, S.660, sponsored by Senator Rachel May, encourages the redevelopment and rehabilitation of medians along state highways and other roadways into pollinator friendly zones through new planting practices, mowing routines, and expansion of adopt-a-highway programs.
Today’s legislation builds on the climate action taken in the New York State budget, which includes the passage of the Environmental Bond Act, a measure to appear on the ballot for voters in 2022 and provide record funding to improve water quality, reduce flood risk, and protect parks.