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planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

Obama Admin. Finalizes Historic Clean Car Standards

Today the Obama administration finalized new clean car standards that will double the fuel efficiency of today’s vehicles by 2025, drastically reducing emissions of carbon pollution and cutting oil use in New York and nationwide. The standards will cover new cars and light trucks in model years 2017-2025, and require those vehicles to meet the equivalent of a 54.5 miles-per-gallon standard by 2025. A recent joint analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Union of Concerned Scientists projects that by 2030 in New York alone, the standards will cut carbon pollution from vehicles by more than 12 million metric tons—the equivalent of the annual pollution of 1.8 million of today’s vehicles—and save more than one billion gallons of fuel annually.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment New York

Environmental groups: NY State’s decision to exempt farms from permit program will weaken clean water protection standards

In response to Governor Cuomo’s proposal today to remove permit requirements for medium Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), a coalition of leading environmental groups released the following statement: 

“As organizations committed to protecting and restoring New York’s rivers, lakes and streams, we are very concerned by the announcement today that New York State will weaken state environmental protections put in place to protect public health, safety and the environment by exempting medium sized industrial farms from its CAFO permit program. As a result, these farms will be allowed to grow from 200 to 299 cows without requiring the installation of structural controls such aswaste storage facilities and water diversions essential to protecting the State’s waters from being contaminated with animal waste.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment New York

Groups Representing Millions of Americans Say No to Fracking

Amid reports that a decision on fracking in New York is imminent, national environmental organizations – collectively representing millions of members across the country – sent a letter to Governor Cuomo today urging him to heed concerns raised by scores of local and statewide groups over dirty drilling. Those state groups in June called Governor Cuomo’s plan to allow fracking in five upstate counties inconsistent with his pledge to protect public health and the environment.

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Headline

Coalition Pushes Cuomo, Others, on Greenhouse-Gas Cap

A coalition of environmentalists, renewable energy advocates, elected officials and national groups released a letter today that was delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, calling on him to back changes to a regional cap-and-trade program for greenhouse-gas emissions.

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Headline

Calls to Strengthen Regional Emissions Coalition

More than 50 New York organizations and individuals delivered a letter to Governor Cuomo this week calling on him to strengthen the multi-state coalition that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

> Keep Reading

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