May 5, 2009

Assembly Advances Package To Preserve And
Protect The Environment
Measures Address Global Warming, Electronic Waste Among Assembly's Bills Passed Today

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney today announced the Assembly has passed a comprehensive 12-bill package aimed at preserving New York's natural resources by limiting greenhouse gas emissions, mandating the recycling of consumer electronic products and expanding the state's role in protecting wetland areas.

"New York must always lead the way in preserving natural resources." Silver (D-Manhattan) said. "It is not only to create cleaner and healthier communities that we seek to protect our ecological landscape, but also to ensure that New York can preserve its natural resources while encouraging green economic growth."

"Almost 40 years ago, the first Earth Day was celebrated to call attention to the critical environmental issues facing our communities. It was clear then that unless we took action to halt the degradation of our environment, not only would current generations pay, but generations to come would suffer." said Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst). Today, good stewardship of our environment is an economic necessity. We are fortunate to have an administration in Washington who understands the tremendous role green initiatives can play in reviving our economy."

The Assembly marked Earth Day with the passage of legislation (A.7572/Sweeney) that would authorize the state Department of Environmental Conservation to place restrictions on the levels of greenhouse gases that can be emitted statewide. The Nobel prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that temperatures would rise more rapidly if greenhouse gases are not abated. The panel concluded that reducing emissions 80 percent below current levels by mid-century would prevent the worst impacts of global warming. This legislation seeks to accomplish that goal. The Assembly also passed a resolution (K.410/Boyland) urging Congress to cap greenhouse gas emissions

The Assembly has also passed other measures to protect the environment including legislation (A.7571/Sweeney) requiring the manufacturers of electronic devices including computers, televisions, printers and other technologies to develop equipment recycling programs. Recycling helps to prevent the release of toxic substances used in the production of electronic devices when they are discarded. The bill would protect consumers by preventing manufacturers from imposing recycling fees on their products.

Additional bills in the Assembly's package would create the New York State Urban Pesticide Board (A.1334/Wright) to investigate the widespread sale and usage of industrial strength pesticides in urban areas, step up enforcement of existing restrictions on retail sales and educate the public about the hazards of pesticide use in the home.

Another bill (A.1319/Colton) would encourage and enhance statewide recycling efforts and compliance by private citizens, local governments and waste haulers by clarifying the obligations of waste haulers and specifying materials eligible for separation or recycling.

Another measure (A.5848/Brodsky) in the package would provide for the phase-out of pesticides on state property. The measure would discontinue the use of pesticides by the state and adopt a pest control policy that substantially relies on non-chemical pest control policies.

As a part of the Earth Day observation the Assembly also approved legislation that would: Earlier this session the Assembly passed an additional environmental protection measure (A.3423/Bradley) to clarify individual standing in private actions alleging violations of the environmental quality review provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law. Another measure (A.4272/Brodsky) would grant private citizens authorization to commence civil judicial actions under certain titles of the Environmental Conservation Law.