What’s happening in Washington

The president put someone in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency who has sued that same agency 14 times to weaken clean air, clean water and other environmental protections.

He signed an executive order to put the Keystone XL pipeline on a fast track to construction, another order designed to eliminate Clean Water Act protections for nearly 2 million miles of America’s streams, including 28,785 miles in New York, and a third order rolling back the Clean Power Plan, effectively allowing power plants to emit more pollution and adding more soot to the air we breathe and more climate-destabilizing carbon pollution to the planet’s atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Congress has passed legislation abolishing new stream water protections from coal mining in Appalachia, voted to make it easier to sell off public lands, and introduced bills to abolish the EPA.

After talking during the campaign about “abolishing” the EPA himself or “leaving just a little bit,” the president proposed a budget that would slash EPA funding by 31 percent. These cuts would virtually eliminate funding for proven programs needed to clean up the nation’s great waterways, from San Francisco Bay to Puget Sound; decimate environmental research and science programs, and effectively take the nation’s environmental cops off the polluter beat.

A “little bit” of environmental protection is not nearly enough—not when it comes to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the people and places we love. 

Most Americans want more, not fewer, protections for the people and places we love

These moves to dismantle our environmental protections violate core values shared by millions of Americans.

The vast majority of us believe the health of our children is more valuable than the dollars saved when a company dumps pollution into our air or water. The future of our children and life on our planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies. The idea that we’ve found some places so special, some would even say sacred, that we’ve declared them off-limits to development is one of our proudest achievements.

But our environmental values are meaningless if we don’t act on them, and stand up and defend them when they’re under attack— especially given the power of old but entrenched industries that are wed to a status quo that no longer serves our needs, and a worldview that puts their short-term economic interests above the health of the American people and the environment we share.

Our path forward

Our best chance of stopping these attacks will come in the U.S. Senate, where 41 votes will be enough to block most legislation.

Environment New York, together with our nationwide network of state affiliates, is urging our senators to stand up and protect our health and the places we love.

And if enough of us speak up, we can win.

Recently, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah filed a bill that would sell off 3.3 million acres of America’s public lands — an area the size of Connecticut. Several days later he withdrew the bill in the face of overwhelming public opposition, including 1,000 people in Montana turning out to a pro-public lands rally and this comment from an National Rifle Association member on Chaffetz’s Facebook page: “Rescind H.R. 621 the sale of public lands! It’s not your land to sell. It’s the people’s land. Many people use it for many purposes.” Hear and respect our voice.”

We can win, but only if we bring together people from all walks of life, from both sides of the political divide, and unite in action to defend the places we love.

Reckless proposals to roll back clean air, clean water and other environmental protections keep coming every week. We need to build support now to protect our health and environment.

Now, it's up to us

The leaders and activists of the past saw the result of decades of unchecked pollution in our smog-covered skylines and our toxic rivers. They worked against all odds and, ultimately, their values won the day. Our environmental forbears organized the first Earth Day, supported and passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Now the torch passes to us.

The children we know and love today can live cleaner, healthier lives in a greener world, but only if we can keep our environmental protections in place and make them stronger. It’s up to us.

Issue updates

News Release | Environment New York

SENATOR GILLIBRAND IS AN ENVIRONMENTAL CHAMPION

Today, Environment New York gave Senator Kirsten Gillibrand an Environmental Champion Award for her commitment to protecting our environment and public health. The senator received a 100% on Environment New York’s recent scorecard for her record of supporting policies that protect clean air, clean water, and open spaces.
“Senator Gillibrand is at the top of the class when it comes to keeping our air and water clean, protecting our special places, and ensuring a healthy climate,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. “That’s why we are proud to present her with our Environmental Champion Award.” Leibowitz and other Environment New York staff and volunteers presented Senator Gillibrand with a poster of thank-you messages from New Yorkers to commemorate the award.

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News Release | Environment New York

Repealing the Clean Water Rule

“Repealing the Clean Water Rule turns the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency on its head: the Trump administration is proposing to stop protecting drinking water sources for over 11 million New Yorkers. It defies common sense, sound science and the will of New Yorkers.” —Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York

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News Release | Environment New York

Chefs and restaurants protect the bees during National Pollinator Week

As we mark National Pollinator Week, chefs and restaurants are stepping up to save the bees. Working with Environment New York and Environment America’s Bee Friendly Food Alliance, more than 30 restaurants around the country are drawing attention to the problems facing bees. Restaurants are educating their customers and highlighting foods pollinated by bees. “Restaurants and chefs are buzzing with activity during National Pollinator Week, raising awareness about the vital role bees play in pollinating our food and the need to protect these powerful pollinators,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. 

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Blog Post

Bringing the message of 100 percent renewable energy to the people | Rob Sargent

As President Trump and his administration attempt to roll back decades of environmental progress, we know there’s no time to waste in moving affirmatively to reduce pollution and complete the shift to 100 percent renewable energy. This summer, we’ve got hundreds of folks working in 27 offices in 19 states across the country educating more than 1.5 million Americans about the promise and prospect of re-powering our country with clean energy.

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News Release | Environment New York

Hotter Summers Coming to New York

Environment New York marked the first day of summer by urging leaders at all levels of government to tackle climate change. According to scientists at Climate Central, global warming pollution will fuel even hotter summers in the future. Summer temperatures in New York are already 1.6 degrees hotter now, on average, than in the 1970s. Without action to eliminate global warming pollution, summer temperatures here in New York could rise by more than 9 degrees by the end of the century. That would make summer days in New York feel more like they do now in South Carolina. 

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