Assemblywoman Sandy Galef Introduces New Legislation in Celebration of Earth Day

April 20, 2009

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef visits a green roof with former District Office intern Sam Chalsen.

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef has introduced two new pieces of legislation in honor of Earth Day 2009. These bills help confront global warming, a pressing environmental concern.

First Galef’s bill A.2623/S.3135, co-sponsored by Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, will prohibit all unnecessary idling of motor vehicles in Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Putnam and Westchester Counties. This bill is limited to the New York metro area because these counties do not meet federal guidelines for ground-level ozone and particulate matter. High ground-level ozone levels have created public health concerns because of the gases released into the atmosphere which have been cited as contributors to climate change. In addition, idling cars have been identified as a waste of money and energy.

“Idling cars transmit unnecessary emissions into the atmosphere, causing damage to the environment and to our communities. This legislation would prevent people from leaving their cars turned on for longer periods of time,” Galef said. “This will help to ensure that people, who normally leave their cars idling while waiting to pick someone up, for example, or while running into a store, will turn off their cars to prevent needless pollution.”

Galef has also introduced bill A.7413/S.2763 sponsored by Senator Antoine Thompson. This bill will develop standards for the installation and maintenance of green roofs.

Green roofs are gardens which cover the roof of a building. Green roofs provide important benefits including absorbing the sun during summer months to maintain a cooler temperature within a building. This lowers the cost of air conditioning for residents and decreases the amount of energy used which benefits those who live in buildings that plant these green roof gardens. In addition, plants grown in these green roof gardens release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, which is an easy way to decrease air congestion in densely populated urban areas.

The Thompson-Galef bill will provide incentives to home owners in the form of a tax credit to install these gardens. The credit is for fifty-five percent of the installation cost with a maximum credit of five thousand dollars.

“I believe it is important for each citizen, myself included, to be conscious of the environmental issues we face today and to do their part to protect the planet. My hope is that the green roof bill encourages building owners, residents, and home owners to plant roof gardens so that they may also help decrease pollution. These two pieces of legislation will help in small but highly significant ways, which is something that each of us should be striving to do in order to protect our environment,” Galef concluded.