Environment

New law will study urban heat islands in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Urban areas that face disproportionate heat conditions will be studied by state environmental officials under a measure signed Friday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The new law will assess the effects of so-called urban heat islands in low-income and disadvantaged neighborhoods of New York state.

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Proposed New York environmental bond act gets boost ahead of vote

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Environmental organizations, labor groups and Gov. Kathy Hochul are making a concerted push in recent days for the approval of a $4.2 billion bond plan to shore up the state's infrastructure against extreme weather events in the coming years.

Hochul on Wednesday in New York City at a joint event with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy urged voters to back the bond act in a coming referendum this November.

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New York DEC commissioner taking leave to help humanitarian effort in Ukraine

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos will be taking personal leave to assist the humanitarian effort in Ukraine, he announced on Twitter Monday.

"We all must do our part to keep Ukrainians safe during this brutal war, and support democracy wherever it is imperiled," the commissioner wrote on the platform.

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Portland Press Herald: Wolfe’s Neck Center receives $35 million federal grant to boost climate-smart agriculture

BY Tim Cebula Maine

The Wolfe's Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment in Freeport has received a $35 million federal grant – a figure seven times greater than its annual budget – to promote climate-smart agriculture, Maine's congressional delegation announced last week.

With the five-year award the center will lead a national effort to equip and train workers in climate-smart agriculture, create transition finance incentives for farmers and ranchers, and develop a marketplace for climate-smart commodities, according to a joint statement from U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden.

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Advocates: Federal government, not NY ratepayers, should shoulder climate project costs

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The federal government should provide more funding to help New York transition to cleaner and more renewable forms of energy, advocates at AARP New York and the Public Utility Law Project said Thursday.

Utility ratepayers — already expected to pay more this winter to heat their homes amid an expected spike in bills — should not have to carry the burden, they added.

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New York firefighters aided by Quebec responders in battle to contain Hudson Valley fires

BY Tim Williams New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul is deploying more resources to the Minnewaska State Park and Sullivan County areas in an attempt to contain fires that have burned 130 acres of woodlands, according to state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos.

The fires in the Minnewaska State Park area are thought to have been started as a result of lightning strikes while the Sullivan County fire is believed to have been started by a campfire. Seggos told Capital Tonight that the high temperatures and drought conditions have helped the fire to spread. Seggos argues the unusually late season fire could be a result of climate change and adds that the fires are potentially a “sign of what’s to come.”

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4 families sue U.S. over Navy fuel-tainted Hawaii tap water

BY Associated Press Honolulu

HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Navy “harbored toxic secrets” when jet fuel contaminated drinking water for 93,000 military members and civilians in Hawaii, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday from four families who say they're still suffering from seizures, gastrointestinal disorders and neurological issues.

Hundreds of additional claims are expected from those who ingested the toxic water, said the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Honolulu. Others going through the administrative process of the Federal Tort Claims Act will be added to the lawsuit.

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New York will spend $25M to cap unused oil and gas wells

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state will receive $25 million in federal funding to cap what are expected to be thousands of abandoned and unused oil and gas wells, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office on Monday said.

The money is being made available through the federal infrastructure law and meant to prevent the further emissions of methane from the wells.

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Where New York business, labor groups agree on climate change needs

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Four influential business and labor organizations on Monday in a joint statement signaled where they agree on the direction the state's climate change policies should take as officials develop a plan for transitioning New York's energy to more renewable and cleaner forms of fuel in the coming decades.

The groups — The Independent Power Producers of New York, The Business of New York State, the New York State AFL-CIO, and the New York State Building & Construction Trades Council — in a rare joint statement called for seven principles to guide the prcoess and address "shortcomings" in the current version of a draft plan under consideration by the State's Climate Action Council.

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New York AFL-CIO endorses $4.2B environmental bond act

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A plan to borrow $4.2 billion to help gird New York's waterways and other infrastructure against the worsening effects of climate change has picked up more support from labor.

The New York State AFL-CIO this weekk officially endorsed the bond act, being put to voters this November.

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Hochul and Delgado endorsed by Sierra Club

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado's campaign for a full term was endorsed Wednesday by the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, with the organization praising efforts to curtail the effects of climate change by her administration.

“We’ve experienced the climate crisis firsthand in New York, so when it comes to protecting the environment and investing in renewable energy sources, we don’t follow — we lead,” Hochul said. “I am honored to earn the endorsement of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter and I look forward to our continued partnership in protecting the environment and investing in a sustainable future for our state.”

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Most New York counties are under a drought watch

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state officials on Tuesday expanded a drought watch designation to a majority of the 62 counties after continued stretches of dry weather this summer, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced.

"While recent rains have helped, severe dry conditions continue to persist across the state," Hochul said. "New Yorkers should take steps to conserve water whenever possible in the areas now under a designated drought watch. Simple steps to reduce water consumption will be crucial to our efforts to help prevent any increased drought levels."

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DLNR to manage Waiea parcel

BY Michael Tsai Hawaii Island

Gov. David Ige issued an executive order on July 21 transferring control and management of a 1,261-acre parcel in Waiea on Hawaii Island to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The parcel had been proposed as an addition to the Hawaii Natural Area Reserve system and is contiguous to other parcels that are under management for forest, wildlife and water conservation in the South Kona area.

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Adirondack advocates push for environmental bond act

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 6:40 PM ET Jul. 20, 2022

Voters in New York this November will be asked to consider whether to approve $4.2 billion in borrowing to help shore up the state's water and sewer infrastructure in order to combat the effects of a changing climate and curtail the impact of floods.

And a campaign from environmental organizations is getting underway to call for the bond act's approval.

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How the New York power grid is preparing for the future

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The hot weather this week throughout much of the country is creating a challenge for the power grid as air conditioners are working overtime.

Rich Dewey, the president and CEO of the New York Independent System Operator, said in a Capital Tonight interview the power grid is prepared to meet the challenge of the summertime heat wave.

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New York launches air pollution monitoring system

BY Joseph Konig New York City

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday New York will send mobile monitoring units to measure pollution in 10 disadvantaged communities, beginning with the Bronx, Manhattan, Buffalo and Niagara Falls, and the Capital Region.

The state will send specially equipped Priuses into each community to collect data on greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants to help officials craft strategies to tackle pollution in the communities affected most, Basil Seggos — the commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation — told Errol Louis on “Inside City Hall” Wednesday.

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New York cryptomining advocates urge moratorium veto from Hochul

BY Tim Williams New York State

At the 11th hour of this year's session, New York legislators passed a two-year moratorium on cryptocurrency mining operations in the state.

Despite environmentalists calling for her signature, Gov. Kathy Hochul has yet to sign the legislation, which crypto advocates are hoping she will veto.

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Energy Sec. Granholm, actor Robert Downey Jr. boost clean energy jobs

BY Spectrum News Staff and Associated Press Nationwide

The Energy Department is teaming with actor Robert Downey Jr. to recruit up to 1,000 new workers focused on climate change and clean energy.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday released a video with the “Iron Man” actor encouraging applicants from diverse backgrounds to join the department’s “clean energy corps” and take on jobs aimed at accelerating deployment of clean energy such as wind and solar power.

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Hochul signs 3 bills to bolster state's clean energy sector

BY Spectrum News Staff New York State

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday signed into law three bills aimed to advance the state's clean energy industry.

The Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act of 2022 will amend the state's regulatory and policy environment to support energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction strategies in buildings.

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Rising ocean temps may deter Humpback whales from returning

BY Sarah Yamanaka Hawaii

Humpback whales migrate each year to Hawaii to mate, give birth and raise their calves. This could one day end because of climate change and rising greenhouse gases causing rising ocean temperatures, according to a paper published in Frontiers in Marine Science.

The paper was written by a team of researchers that include three University of Hawaii at Manoa graduate students — Hannah von Hammerstein and Renee Setter from the Department of Geography and Environment in the College of Social Sciences, and Martin van Aswegen from the Marine Mammal Research Program in the Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology.

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Advocates call for action on New York utilities, drinking water standards

BY Tim Williams New York State

The COVID-19 pandemic threw a lot of New Yorkers into financial instability and left them unable to pay past dues on their utility bills, including their water bills. Now, consumer, environmental and legal aid advocates are calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign legislation that would require data to understand the full extent of the problem.

Rob Hayes, director of Clean Water at Environmental Advocates NY, told Capital Tonight that the $70 million allocated to New York in federal COVID-19 assistance isn’t enough to reach everyone with a need.

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Officials: Florida's preemptive laws hamper fight against microplastics

BY Cait McVey Tampa
UPDATED 4:07 PM ET Jun. 21, 2022

FLORIDA — Scientists estimate over 12 million tons of plastic wash into the world’s oceans each year, with pieces of it found in the deepest areas ever explored, and even embedded in remote arctic ice.

Much of it, known as microplastics, can’t even be seen with the naked eye. But the invisible threat to marine life is there and it could affect everyone.

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Seneca County to state: Deny permit to Greenidge, sign cryptomining moratorium

BY Luke Parsnow Seneca County

The Seneca County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul and her administration with concerns on the lack of action regarding the air permit renewal process for Greenidge Generation and the moratorium on cryptocurrency mining.

“We ask that you hold up the state’s end of the deal by denying Greenidge Generation’s air permit applications and signing the bill that issues a moratorium on these kinds of cryptocurrency operations,” the letter reads, which was unanimously agreed to, according to Kyle Barnhart, the Town of Lodi supervisor and Board of Supervisors minority leader.

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Seneca Lake advocates decry reported NYC mayor's veto call on cryptomining

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A report that New York City Mayor Eric Adams wants Gov. Kathy Hochul to veto a bill setting a two-year moratorium on proof-of-work cryptomining in New York state is being blasted by upstate advocates who have been pushing for the measure.

The group Seneca Lake Guardian on Monday knocked Adams after Crain's New York reported the mayor will ask Hochul for the veto. Environmental organizations at the state and local level have called for the temporary ban in order to have the state Department of Environmental Conservation review the process.

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PFAS researchers question residents about water use

BY Associated Press Maine

LIMESTONE — Researchers exploring the presence of so-called forever chemicals around the former Loring Air Force Base are asking residents how they use the local waters.

Wood Environment and Infrastructure will interview residents of Limestone, Caswell and Caribou about water used for swimming, farming and fishing, as well as drinking water from private wells, the Bangor Daily News reported.

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New York Build Public Renewables bill is part of 'all-of-the-above approach' on climate

BY Tim Williams New York State

Despite passing in the New York state Senate, the clock ran out before the state Assembly could move the Build Public Renewables Act through the chamber.

State Sen. Kevin Parker, a Democrat from Brooklyn and chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, told Capital Tonight that the legislation is part of an “all-of-the-above approach” and added “we need to have the market, but we also need to allow utilities and the New York Power Authority involved in this idea of creating sustainable generation for our state.”

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New York’s climate goals will change how you get around

BY Tim Williams New York State

The Climate Action Council, which is tasked with laying the framework for the state to meet its climate goals established in 2019’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, has extended the public comment period for its draft scoping plan until July 1. With 27% of the state’s total emissions coming from transportation sources, the way you get around the Empire State will be changing.

Roger Caiazza, of the Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York blog, told Capital Tonight that due to state law, by 2035, all new cars sold in the state will need to be zero emission vehicles. The Climate Action Council’s draft scoping plan forecasts the price of zero emission vehicles to fall by 2028. Caiazza argues that a demand for rare earth minerals which are needed to create batteries for cars will keep the price of these cars higher than the draft scoping plan’s estimates and despite tax rebates, the cost could still be prohibitive for some New Yorkers.

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4th-grader works to educate others on the issue of cigarette butts littering Florida beaches

BY Will Robinson-Smith Brevard County

COCOA BEACH, Fla. — Shells and sand aren’t the only things you’ll see on Florida’s beaches — cigarette butts are also a common sight.

According to a 2021 report from Ocean Conservancy and International Coastal Cleanup, cigarettes were the number one trash item found at beaches in 2020, with 964,521 recorded. Plastic bottles followed with 627,014 recorded and 573,534 food wrappers found.

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Mosquitoes collected in Thermal test positive for West Nile Virus

BY City News Service Riverside County

THERMAL, Calif. (CNS) — Mosquitoes collected in Thermal tested positive for West Nile virus, the first detection of the virus in the city this year, the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District announced Wednesday.

The mosquitoes were collected near 68th Avenue and Fillmore Street in Thermal, according to the district.

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Hochul won’t commit to signing cryptocurrency mining moratorium

BY Zack Fink New York City

In the final hours of the Albany legislative session last week, lawmakers in both houses passed a bill imposing a two-year moratorium on all crypto mining.

The bill was championed by environmental groups who say the practice uses fossil fuel technology which pollutes the air.

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Lawmakers seek to ease decommissioning of New York's Indian Point nuclear plant

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Spent nuclear fuel rods at the closed Indian Point Energy Center in the lower Hudson Valley will be taxed as real property under a measure given final approval by state lawmakers this month.

The bill is meant to ease the complications surrounding by the decommissioning process for the facility and ease the tax burden for the surrounding communities.

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New York legislative session wins, losses for the environment

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The New York legislative session was a mixed bag for the environmental community.

While nothing was resolved regarding how the state will pay for its transition to clean energy, there was movement to protect the environment from behind-the-meter proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining.

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NYC comptroller calls for cryptocurrency mining moratorium

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander is backing a two-year moratorium on proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining in the state, pointing to the massive energy needs facing the city.

The moratorium is under consideration this week by state lawmakers as they conclude the legislative session on Thursday.

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Dole Food Company Hawaii granted extension on dam work

BY Sarah Yamanaka Honolulu

HONOLULU — Dole Food Company Hawaii, the owners of the Wahiawa Dam, have been granted an extension by the Board of Land and Natural Resources. The company requested the extension to design and implement improvements to the dam’s spillway and embankment structure.

In addition, any missed key deadlines over the next three years will incur fines authorized by the BLNR. Key deadlines are associated with submitting a permit application, hiring a construction contractor, beginning construction and conducting studies. Fines range from $5,000 to $20,000 for each missed deadline. The planned improvements will address risks associated with “major deficiencies to the dam structure,” according to a news release.

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State assemblymembers discuss pros and cons of cryptocurrency mining in upstate New York

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Last month, the New York state Assembly voted to pass Democratic Assemblymember Anna Kelles’ two-year moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining. The idea behind the bill is to give the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation the time to conduct an environmental impact study of the practice.

The bill would prevent new permits from being issued for a very specific kind of cryptocurrency operation, known as carbon-base fueled, proof-of-work mining operations, that use behind-the-meter energy.

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UAW workers: Reject expansion of direct sales for electric vehicle makers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Members of the United Auto Workers in New York are urging state lawmakers to reject a proposal that would allow for the expansion of direct-to-consumer sales of electric vehicles by manufacturers over concerns it could undercut a traditional business model that has benefitted manufacturers, dealers and their workers.

It's an example, too, of how the transition to cleaner forms of energy as mandated by state law will be complicated for a variety of sectors of the economy, and how many workers don't want to be left behind.

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The pros and cons of — and some cost estimates for — heat pumps

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) requires New York state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050. In order to do that, New Yorkers are going to have to make some changes. Those changes are currently being hammered out in the draft scoping plan issued by the Climate Action Council.

Buildings are the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the state; the draft plan is optimistic that decarbonizing the state’s building stock will deliver both job growth and economic opportunity.

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Top labor leader selected for New York climate council

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A top labor organization leader in New York on Tuesday was selected by Gov. Kathy Hochul to serve on the state's panel addressing climate change issues.

Longtime New York AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento was appointed to the Climate Action Council, which is in charge of developing policies and recommendations for the overall effort of transitioning the state to cleaner and more renewable forms of fuel and energy.

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Environmental advocates push for more action by New York state on Earth Day

BY Tim Williams New York State

Fifty-two years since the first Earth Day, advocates made their way to Albany on their bikes Friday to push the Empire State to adopt more aggressive policies to address climate change.

Veekas Ashoka, a leader with New York’s Sunrise Movement, told Capital Tonight that it is time for New York to follow up on the promises in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and take action to reduce emission and achieve a just transition.

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How National Grid plans to transition to renewable fuels

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The predominant utility provider in upstate New York in the coming decades is planning a transition that will entirely eliminate its use of fossil fuels from its energy production by 2050.

The move by National Grid will be a challenge to enact, but also coincides with the broader effort under New York state law to phase out the use of carbon-based fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy in the coming decade.

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Can using nuclear power help New York achieve its climate goals?

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

New York’s ambitious carbon reduction law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, also known as the CLCPA, doesn’t say much about nuclear power. But it does require New York to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030, and no less than 85% by 2050, from 1990 levels.

The question one climate scientist is asking is this: “Why not employ nuclear power” to help meet those goals?

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New York voters will consider larger bond act for environment

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Voters in New York are set to consider a larger bond act to shore up water and sewer systems in order to harden them against increasingly extreme weather events.

The proposed Environmental Bond Act, which had the initial price tag of $3 billion when proposed by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has now increased to a $4.2 billion proposal.

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Cryptocurrency critics angry at Hochul over punting air pollution permit decision

BY Susan Arbetter Finger Lakes

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced it would delay a decision for a second time on whether to approve a critical air pollution permit renewal for a controversial cryptocurrency mining operation on the shores of Seneca Lake.

Greenidge Generation has been criticized for using enormous amounts of energy to mine for cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

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Proposal would make it easier for solar energy installation in schools

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State lawmakers are calling for a measure that would make it easier and more cost-effective for schools to install solar energy systems.

The bill, backed by state Sen. Peter Harckham and announced Monday, comes as New York officials are working to implement a decades-long transition to renewable forms of energy and phase out fossil fuels as part of an effort to curtail the effects of climate change.

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Environmental groups urge rejection of New York gas tax suspension

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Prominent environmental, transit and good-government organizations on Friday urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to reject a proposed gas tax suspension in the state budget, arguing it would run counter to the state's efforts to combat climate change and deprive road improvement projects of funding.

Lawmakers and Hochul are negotiating a potential suspension of the tax that would run from May 1 to the end of the year as the per-gallon price of gasoline remains above $4 in many parts of New York.

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Will New York get new plastic packaging requirements right or wrong?

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

To get a handle on plastic packaging, there is a movement to get companies to take responsibility for all the waste they produce. It’s called Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR.

According to the group Beyond Plastics, strong and transparent EPR can be used to solve the growing problem of packaging waste and plastic pollution, but only if states get the details right and hold companies accountable.

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How the New York state budget might address decarbonization in buildings

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Buildings are the number one emitters of carbon in New York state. Those emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels like oil and gas for heating and cooling.

Convincing New Yorkers to support a ban on natural gas connections to newly constructed homes and buildings was going to be a heavy lift even before Russia invaded Ukraine. With the subsequent increase in gas prices and utility costs on the rise, it may seem even more daunting.

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Conservation groups seek final approval of clean fuel standard in state budget

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A coalition of environmental organizations and labor unions is making a final push in the coming weeks to gain the approval of a clean fuel standard in the state budget with the goal of reducing carbon emissions in New York state.

The measure is meant to reduce emissions by addressing the carbon intensity of motor fuels with the blending of low-carbon alternatives. A version of the proposal, which has been backed by state Sen. Kevin Parker and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner in the state Legislature, was included in the state Senate's budget proposal this week.

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Could New York's Environmental Bond Act get even bigger?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

In 2019, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a $3 billion bond act to help shore up water and sewer infrastructure in need of being strengthened as extreme weather is expected to only grow in the coming years.

Gov. Kathy Hochul added $1 billion to the proposal. Democrats in the state Legislature want to add even more.

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New York lawmakers want to speed up electric buildings construction

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Lawmakers in the state Senate want a ban on fossil fuels in new building construction to go into effect three years earlier than proposed by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The provision in the Democratic-led state Senate's proposed budget is part of a broader effort to transition the state to more renewable forms of energy in the coming decades, legislation that is expected to drive major changes in transportation, construction and consumer products.

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GOP candidate Wilson discusses CLCPA

BY Susan Arbetter New York State
UPDATED 2:43 PM ET Mar. 12, 2022

In 2010, businessman Harry Wilson came within five points of beating New York state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli — the closest a Republican has come to winning statewide office since for Gov. George Pataki’s last re-election in 2002.

Wilson is running again — this time for governor in the hopes of ending the Grand Old Party’s two-decade long drought. First, he’ll need to secure the nomination through a primary in June.

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Hochul says labor jobs will drive climate projects

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The projects to strengthen New York's infrastructure from the worst effects of climate change while also building out projects for renewable energies like wind will be done with labor union jobs, Gov. Kathy Hochul Friday said.

Hochul was in Florida Friday morning for the New York Building Trades annual winter conference, pledging to prioritize jobs for labor in projects like the construction of wind turbines in the Albany area for construction off the shore of Long Island.

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New York climate activists say urgency is needed, but a banner stokes controversy

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Protesters seeking more official action to combat climate change call the issue a long-term emergency facing New York.

That includes Joanna Oldman Smith, who traveled to Albany from Brooklyn to stage a sit-in at the state Capitol. She was among a dozen protesters blocking the entance to the building in order to bring attention to the issue which she said lacks urgency from the state's leaders.

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Lake Champlain could soon be in danger from invasive species

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The round goby is an innocuous-looking little fish considered an invasive species in New York. It’s being tracked by the U.S. Geological Survey, and at this point, has made its way through the Great Lakes.

The problem, according to Stuart Gruskin, chief conservation and external affairs officer for the Nature Conservancy New York, is that now the round goby is figuratively knocking on the door of the closed Champlain Canal, eager to gain access to Lake Champlain.

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Lawmakers look to create a student pipeline to the Adirondacks to confront racism and climate change

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

As the Adirondacks region confronts allegations of racism, two downstate lawmakers are hoping to introduce students of color to the wonders of the park in order to educate them about climate change and resilience.

Brooklyn state Sen. Zellnor Myrie and Nassau County Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages have proposed an educational pipeline that would bring students from Brooklyn's CUNY Medgar Evers College to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

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Ag Report: Bird flu confirmed in at least 6 states

BY Chuck Ringwalt Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed cases of avian influenza in at least six states — two neighbor Ohio.

According to the USDA, "Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is a serious disease and requires rapid response because it is highly contagious and often fatal to chickens."

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How lawmakers are trying to phase in the climate change law in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 6:00 PM ET Feb. 23, 2022

New York's climate change law shifting the state to renewable forms of energy will have impacts on virtually everything residents do, from how people commute to work, to their utility bills and even how they mow their lawns.

Lawmakers like state Sen. Kevin Parker have been introducing a range of bills over the last several years to help that transition and meet the benchmarks as required under the legislation.

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Avian influenza discovered for 1st time in Maine

BY Associated Press Maine

A highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected for the first time in Maine, federal officials said Sunday.

State officials quarantined the property in Knox County and the backyard flock will be eliminated to prevent the spread of the disease, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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Another bill aimed at moving New York off fossil fuels

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

In 2019, the New York state Legislature passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA. The law mandates that the state reach certain climate goals within the next few years.

In order to do that, New York needs to replace gas and other fossil fuels with electricity powered by hydro, solar and wind.

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Prime scallop fishing grounds to stay open in Maine

BY Associated Press Maine

LUBEC — Maine's prime scallop fishing grounds will stay open deeper into the winter.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources had been considering closing the Cobscook Bay area to fishing to prevent overharvesting scallops. The department said Thursday the area will remain open through at least Feb. 19.

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Ground broken for New York's first offshore wind project

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Federal and state officials on Friday celebrated the start of construction on New York's first offshore wind project off the coast of Long Island as an effort to transition to renewable and cleaner forms of fuel is begining to take shape.

The project, South Fork Wind, comes after federal regulators in January issued a final sale notice for the New York Bight, considered to be a key milestone in the push to build more offshore wind projects in the coming years.

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Plan for browntail moth fund passes committee vote in Maine

BY Associated Press Maine

A legislative committee has signed off on a plan to create a new fund to help Maine communities deal with an invasive moth.

The fund would start by making $150,000 in grants available in the 2022-23 fiscal year to try to slow the spread of the browntail moth. The moth has been the subject of an outbreak in the state for several years and its caterpillars have poisonous hairs that can cause an itchy rash in humans.

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All-electric buildings in New York may be coming sooner than you think

BY Susan Arbetter New York State
UPDATED 6:54 PM ET Feb. 04, 2022

“The All-Electric Building Act” (S6843A/A8431) would ban gas hookups in new construction in New York starting in 2024. If this bill passes and you’re planning on building a new home, you would need to heat that home with electric or something other than gas.

The Climate Action Council has already backed a ban on gas hookups in single-family homes after 2025. The bill, sponsored by state Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher and Sen. Brian Kavanagh, moves that deadline up a year.

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Rochester-area group brings first lawsuit citing New York's green amendment

BY Ryan Whalen Perinton
UPDATED 6:53 PM ET Feb. 04, 2022

PERINTON, N.Y. -- New Yorkers have the constitutional right to clean air, clean water and a healthful environment.

Voters approved that amendment to the state constitution's language last year and now a group of residents that live around High Acres Landfill in Perinton said the company Waste Management is violating their rights.

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Lawmakers introduce regulatory changes to meet renewable energy goals

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Democratic state lawmakers on Thursday proposed legislation meant to further shift New York to renewable and cleaner forms of energy in the coming years by ending statutory requirements and ratepayer subsidies for the expansion of the gas system.

The changes, backed by Sens. Liz Krueger and Rachel May as well as Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, would also require regulators at the Public Service Commission to adopt rule changes for a statewide gas service transition plan.

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Navy files appeal to the Department of Health’s order saying it must drain the Red Hill fuel tanks

BY Michelle Broder Van Dyke Honolulu

HONOLULU — The Navy filed its appeal Wednesday to the Department of Health’s emergency order that mandates the Navy drain the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

The Navy announced Monday that they would appeal the emergency order. The state upheld the order earlier this month after a contested case hearing.

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Hochul: New York finalizes methane regulations

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state officials on Wednesday finalized environmental rule changes meant to reduce the amount of methane and other emissions from oil and natural gas in the state, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced.

The regulations, taken together, are aimed at having the state comply with a mandated change to cleaner and more renewable forms of energy in the coming decades in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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Woolwich lawmaker sponsors bill to help fight browntail moths

BY Susan Cover Maine

Betsey Miller owns property in Maine and has been vacationing here for years, but her experience with browntail moths last spring has her mulling a delayed return this year.

She said the rash she suffered was so severe, it drove her to go to an emergency clinic to get a steroid.

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Developer of $400M salmon farm sued by a former employee

BY Associated Press Maine

BUCKSPORT — The parent company overseeing the construction of a land-based salmon farm in Bucksport faces a lawsuit from a consulting firm hired to work on the project.

Whole Ocean's parent company, Emergent Holdings, is being sued by GNP Consulting after it was fired for allegedly underestimating the cost to construct the farm by $150 million, The Bangor Daily News reported Sunday.

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Resilient Florida: DeSantis awards more than $404 million for environmental projects across the state

BY Spectrum News Staff Florida

FLORIDA — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday his plans to award more than $404 million for 113 environmental projects across the state through the Resilient Florida Grant Program.

The projects aim to protect coastal and inland communities from flooding and storm surge in 25 counties, including some Central Florida and Tampa Bay area counties.

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'Forever chemicals' found in wells in Kittery

BY Associated Press Maine

KITTERY — Testing wells in a Maine town contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) and the chemicals may have traveled through well systems and drinking water, the state's department of environmental protection found.

Last month, the DEP said 10 Kittery homes will have to test their wells after routine PFAS testing found the chemicals in three test wells. The DEP recently discovered that one in four homes contained chemicals levels that would be harmful if ingested, The Portsmouth Herald reported.

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Worries grow as deadline for whale-friendly gear draws near

BY Associated Press Maine

BANGOR — Lobstermen will have to start using weakened rope or special inserts to weaken existing rope beginning in May in some waters to help protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.

But the rope and links aren't yet readily available, causing consternation among lobstermen seeking to comply with the rules.

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New York good-government advocates want moratorium on cryptomining

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A coalition of good-government and environmental organizations this week in a letter to state officials called for a moratorium on proof-of-working cryptocurrency mining in New York, pointing to the massive amount of energy used by the process.

The letter from the New York Public Interest Research Group and Common Cause comes as the mining of cryptocurrency has drawn increased scrutiny from environmental advocates in areas of upstate New York like the Finger Lakes region. The letter also comes as lawmakers on Thursday in Congress held a public hearing on the issue.

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Plan to replace CMP and Versant with consumer-owned nonprofit will push to 2023 ballot

BY Annie Ropeik Maine

A ballot initiative seeking to replace Maine’s electric utilities with a consumer-owned nonprofit will not go to a vote in 2022, campaign officials announced Tuesday.

“Our Power” campaign manager Stephanie Clifford said they’ve collected 73% of the petition signatures needed to get on this year’s ballot. But the pandemic has slowed canvassing efforts, and with a Jan. 31 petition deadline looming, Clifford said the campaign has decided to continue taking signatures later into this year in hopes of getting on the 2023 ballot.

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Hochul urged to expand bottle deposit law in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 2:32 PM ET Jan. 13, 2022

Businesses in New York on Thursday urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to expand the kinds of beverage containers that are covered by the state's bottle deposit law as well as increase the amount received on redemption.

The push comes as Hochul next week is set to unveil her first budget plan, which is due to pass in the Legislature by the end of March.

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Missing from New York's climate blueprint? How to pay for it

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

New York state’s blueprint for reaching its statutory climate goals is robust, but not complete.

One example: On Monday, Capital Tonight spoke with Cornell University professor and Climate Action Council member Dr. Robert Howarth about how the state will need to help retrofit millions of homes that currently use natural gas for heating. According to Howarth, it will be an enormous and expensive undertaking. While the recently released draft scoping document discusses the idea of a carbon pricing, no definitive position was taken.

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Get ready for heat pumps: New York's Climate Action Council releases blueprint

BY Susan Arbetter New York State
UPDATED 7:19 PM ET Jan. 03, 2022

New York’s 22-member Climate Action Council has released its long-awaited blueprint for how the state can achieve the requirements of the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA.

The CLCPA mandates that New York reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) statewide by 40% by 2030. By the same year, the law mandates that 70% of all electricity generated in New York be renewable.

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Polystyrene ban in New York to begin Jan. 1

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and Andrew Cuomo’s resignation, you may not have realized that a little noticed provision in the 2020 budget places a ban on polystyrene in New York.

Ready or not, the ban begins on Jan. 1.

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Environmentalists in New York seek final approval for key bills

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Kathy Hochul is being urged to sign 10 measures meant to protect the environment, including water in schools and curtailing spills on public roadways, in New York as the year draws to a close.

The advocacy group Environmental Advocates NY on Wednesday released the year-end list of bills that remain under consideration that also include efforts to address climate change through promoting electric vehicles and reducing the prevalence of single-use plastic bottles.

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Why environmental groups in New York want a moratorium on cryptomining

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

For the last decade, the expansion of digital currencies like bitcoin have taken hold with some investors. But environmental advocates like Liz Moran of Earthjustice have concerns about the massive amount of energy used by some cryptocurrencies through continuously operating computers.

Environmental groups are saying a moratorium is needed for the digital mining of bitcoin — a halt they say is necessary for New York state to enact aggressive goals to combat climate change.

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Fall hunting seasons coming to a close in Maine

BY Associated Press Maine

AUGUSTA — Maine's big four hunting seasons are coming to a close for the year.

The seasons for moose, white-tailed deer and black bears all end on Nov. 27. The season for wild turkey has already ended.

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U.S. Climate adviser: Biden’s methane plan ‘buys us time’ against climate change

BY Justin Tasolides and Kevin Frey International
UPDATED 4:18 PM ET Nov. 02, 2021

As President Joe Biden wraps up a whirlwind appearance at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, his administration unveiled a sweeping plan on Tuesday to reduce methane emissions, pledging to work with the European Union and other nations to reduce overall methane emissions worldwide by 30% by 2030.

Methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, contributes significantly to global warming.

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New York state climate activist: Time is running out

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

World leaders have gathered for COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland to address the most fundamental issue facing countries across the globe: Climate change.

COP stands for "Conference of the Parties" to the Kyoto Protocol.

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Environmental activists claim they were threatened by cryptocurrency mining company

BY Susan Arbetter Finger Lakes

Abi Buddington and Yvonne Taylor, two environmental advocates from the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York, have received letters from Dale Irwin, CEO of Greenidge Generation LLC, which they characterize as “threatening.'

The two activists were in Albany on Wednesday to testify at a hearing on the environmental impacts of cryptocurrency mining.

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Why environmental groups are cheering power plant permit denial

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State environmental regulators on Wednesday moved to reject applications for two natural gas power plants proposed for New York, citing the state's shift to renewable energies in order to curtail the impact of climate change.

Denial of the permits for the projects comes after years of scrutiny and opposition by environmental groups in New York.

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How New York's clean environment amendment could change governments' approach

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Voters this fall are considering a change to the New York state constitution that sounds straightforward, but could have a big impact on air and water in New York.

The proposed amendment is only 15 words long, guaranteeing to New York residents the constitutional right to clean air and water. But the long-term effect could have a wide-ranging effect. The amendment is one of five voters are considering on the ballot this fall.

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Why a New York state lawmaker wants to ban plastic bottle sales at New York parks

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 6:25 PM ET Oct. 25, 2021

Walk around anywhere — a park, a downtown, a bike path — and you'll likely see a plastic bottle or two tossed away. New York state Assemblywoman Pat Fahy wants to take steps toward reducing that waste, part of a broader push in recent years to curtail plastic junk on streets and sidewalks.

Fahy, along with state Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, want to ban the sale of single-use plastic bottles at state parks around New York.

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