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makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

Scott Pruitt won’t protect New York’s air, water or families

New York, NY – Today the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is slated to vote on President Trump’s nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Environment New York’s Director, Heather Leibowitz, issued the following statement in response:

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News Release | Environment America

Groups Applaud LIPA, Governor Cuomo for Historic Action Advancing Nation's Largest Offshore Wind Project

Uniondale, N.Y.— The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) voted today to formally approve the development of New York’s first ever, and the nation’s largest, offshore wind farm, located off the east end of Long Island. The approved 90-megawatt, 15-turbine offshore wind farm will produce enough energy to power over 50,000 homes. LIPA cited that offshore wind was the most cost effective proposal to meet Long Island’s South Fork energy needs. 

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News Release | Environment New York

EPA Affirms Clean Cars Standards

New York, NY- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency affirmed that automakers can and must make cars and trucks more efficient. This action ensures that fuel efficiency standards will continue to increase as proposed in 2012, with cars and light-duty trucks reaching 54.5 miles per gallon by model year 2025. These standards will make our vehicles go twice as far on a gallon of gas, reduce dangerous air pollution, protect our climate, and save American drivers money at the pump.

“Today’s announcement ensures that our cars and trucks will become increasingly cleaner, helping to protect our health and our environment,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. “Transportation is now the largest source of dangerous carbon pollution in the country, so these standards are more important than ever.”

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News Release | Environment New York

Closing Indian Point Will Make New York City Safer while Fighting Climate Change Advocates Urge Greater Ambition

New York, NY - Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Indian Point nuclear power plant—located 24 miles north of New York City—will be shutting down by April 2021. This action will make area residents safer and more secure. 

At the same time, the governor pledged to replace Indian Point with clean energy, producing no net increase in global warming pollution. The governor proposed to work with neighboring states to strengthen limits on global warming pollution from power plants to ensure continued regional progress toward clean air. Specifically, the governor proposed to strengthen the limit on pollution set through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by 30 percent between 2020 and 2030.

Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York, issued the following statement:

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News Release | Environment New York

Huge Crowd Rallies, Supports LIPA, Asks for Offshore Wind Commitment in New York

Uniondale, N.Y.— One week after the Block Island Wind Farm began producing power, New York labor unions, civic and environmental organizations and elected officials hosted a rally outside of Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) today praising them for their support of offshore wind power and next month’s expected vote to move forward on the nation’s largest offshore wind project. Over 100 gathered in front of LIPA, representing Long Island’s largest showing of support for offshore wind to date. Located off the east end of Long Island, Deepwater Wind’s 90-megawatt, 15-turbine project will produce enough energy to power about 50,000 Long Island homes by 2022. Additionally, groups are calling on LIPA to move forward on the Island-Wide renewable energy Request for Proposal in early 2017 which could include another 210 MW of offshore wind off of Long Island’s south fork.

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