Environment

Hochul pushes back on criticism about gas appliance proposal

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Even as she was delivering good news for three communities — $10 million awarded to the city of Dunkirk and $4.5 million each to the villages of Lancaster and Wellsville for downtown revitalization projects — Gov. Kathy Hochul was aware many of the Western New Yorkers at her event Monday were likely still thinking about what happened in Orchard Park the day before.

"I was proud to be there," she said. "I was proud to see the energy in that stadium, the love of the Buffalo Bills. Win or lose, they are beloved by all. They're an inspiration."

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New York moves to relieve electric and gas bill debt

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Debts owed on past due energy and heating bills in New York will be forgiven under a plan enacted Thursday by state officials.

The $672 million assistance program is considered the largest such action in state history, and will affect an estimated 478,000 residential customers and 56,000 small businesses.

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New York moves to ban PFAS chemicals from clothes

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state is set to ban the use of PFAS chemicals in the manufacturing of apparel and clothing under a law signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The measure is set to take effect on the final day of 2023.

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New York’s business community weighs in on climate plan

BY Nick Reisman and Tim Williams New York State

On Monday, the state’s Climate Action Council approved a scoping plan that will serve as a blueprint for the Empire State to reach its ambitious climate goals.

Ken Pokalsky, vice president at The Business Council of New York State, told Capital Tonight that there are a lot of unknowns when its comes to the cost for businesses and as more businesses learn about the changes needed, there will be some “shock and alarm.”

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Hochul approves farm and agriculture protection fund

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A new protection fund for farmland and agriculture is being created following the approval of a measure by Gov. Kathy Hochul, state lawmakers on Tuesday announced.

The fund is meant to provide protection for viable farmland in New York as the state also seeks to expand the development of solar projects in order to make the transition to renewable forms of energy.

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New York adds 38 new Forest Rangers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York is adding new members to its Forest Ranger force with 38 graduates from basic school on Friday, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced.

The new recruits will join the Department of Environmental Conservation's Division of Forest Protection, bringing its ranks to 159 people.

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New York advocates push 'All-Electric Building Act' as a response to the high costs of heating oil

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

During a media briefing on Monday, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) stated that it expects wholesale electricity prices to sharply rise this winter, which is in line with estimates from National Grid and other utilities.

Upstate New Yorkers can expect heating bills to rise 30% or more over the next few months. Heating costs are especially volatile this year due to disruptions in the supply of oil and gas from Eastern Europe.

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Analysis: Environmental groups hail cryptomining pause for New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Environmental organizations in New York on Tuesday evening cheered the approval by Gov. Kathy Hochul of the first-ever moratorium on a process key to the volatile cryptocurrency sector.

But the crypto industry, while expressing a desire to continue to press their concerns in the state Legislature, indicated it may simply leave New York for states that are friendlier.

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Hochul signs 2-year partial moratorium on cryptomining in New York

BY Luke Parsnow and Capital Tonight Staff New York State

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed into law a two-year moratorium on issuing or renewing air permits for one narrow form of cryptocurrency mining that the state Legislature passed earlier this year.

The new law only applies to what's called behind-the-meter mining that uses carbon-based fuel and proof-of-work validation methods.

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New law will prevent homeowners associations from banning EV chargers

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Homeowners associations in New York will not be able to prevent the installation of electric vehicle charging stations on private property under a law approved Tuesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The measure is meant to make it easier for homeowners to install the charging statiosn as New York seeks to transition to more renewable forms of energy and phase out gas-powered vehicles by the next decade.

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Why advocates want to expand New York's bottle deposit law

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A renewed effort to expand New York's bottle deposit law for the first time in years is taking shape in Albany. For advocates like Erica Smitka of the League of Women Voters, the proposal won't just combat litter.

"We will persist until more is done to reduce litter in this state and to reduce the effects from climate change," she said during a news conference on Monday in Albany.

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New York AG, DEC ask court to regulate, suspend Norlite plant amid suit

BY Kate Lisa New York State

New York state Attorney General Letitia James' office and state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos filed a request in state Supreme Court on Friday asking the court mandate a Capital Region manufacturing and hazardous waste burning plant to monitor emission levels or stop operations amid an ongoing lawsuit.

The state attorney general and DEC filed a lawsuit against Norlite last month seeking to force the company to curb emitting harmful substances into the air.

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Peter Iwanowicz to depart EANY

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates NY (EANY), has announced he will be stepping down from the organization at the end of the year.

Iwanowicz’s nine-year tenure at EANY was a return to the organization where he served as air and energy program director in late 1990s.

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Ports of LA, Long Beach, Singapore collaborate on green shipping corridor

BY Susan Carpenter Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are working with Singapore to establish a green shipping corridor. The route from Asia across the Pacific will center around low- and zero-carbon shipping fuels and digital efforts to help deploy low- and zero-carbon ships, according to a statement from the Port of LA released Monday.

The collaboration is one of the first announcements to come out of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Egypt, which kicked off Sunday and will run through Nov. 18. A forum for countries to discuss actions that can help mitigate climate change, COP27 issued a green shipping challenge for governments, ports, maritime carriers and cargo owners to take meaningful steps to decarbonize the industry.

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New York Business Council backs Environmental Bond Act

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A coalition of environmental organizations and labor unions have been the vocal supporters of a proposal to borrow more than $4 billion to help boost New York's environmental infrastructure to help strengthen the state against the effects of climate change.

The bond act being put to voters also has the backing of the state's main business lobby.

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New York moves to shore up energy infrastructure

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Two separate infrastructure announcements in vastly different regions of the state on Thursday are meant to help New York make its broader transition to more renewable and cleaner forms of energy in the coming years.

Gov. Kathy Hochul in Suffolk County on Long Island announced the state had sealed a land transfer with the county to bring the National Offshore Wind Training Center to New York. At the same time, Hochul announced a $9 million competitive program through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to expand jobs in the sector.

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Advocates want stronger rules for electrifying buildings under climate law

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Dozens of advocacy organizations this week raised concerns with potential standards for electrifying buildings in New York as part of a sweeping effort to transition New York to more renewable forms of energy usage and consumption, arguing the changes do not go far enough.

The concerns raised by the groups, which include the New York Public Interest Research Group and a range of environmental and progressive organizations, come as a state panel is developing plans for how to make the shift from carbon-based fuels in the state to cleaner forms of energy like wind, solar and hydroelectric.

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Gillibrand touts aid for expanding electric bus fleet

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The main transit agency that serves New York's Capital Region will receive more than $25 million in federal aid to expand its fleet of electric buses as the state seeks to transition to more renewable and cleaner forms of energy.

The money was announced on Monday at the main garage of the Capital District Transportation Authority, touted by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and President Joe Biden's main infrastructure advisor, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

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State awaits federal guidance before expanding PFAS rules

BY Kate Lisa New York State

State officials are waiting on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to release additional guidance about PFAS, or toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that poison ground and drinking water, before it expands regulating the chemical at the state level.

The EPA recommended four types of PFAS be no higher than 0.004 parts per trillion in drinking water in new health advisories released this summer.

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New York League of Conservation Voters issues endorsements in key races

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The New York League of Conservation Voters on Wednesday formally released its final slate of endorsements for the 2022 general election, backing 22 candidates in key races across the state.

The group's endorsements come as environmental organizations are also pushing for the approval of a bond act to boost environmental infrastructure in the state.

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New law could boost drinking water quality in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A law signed Wednesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul is meant to boost drinking water safety and quality in New York.

The measure will allow local municipalities to take legal action against polluters for claims that had been previously barred due to the statute of limiations that had been capped at three years.

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Infrastructure eyed in New York's electric vehicle push

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

This week, Gov. Kathy Hochul moved to enact a law meant to phase out gas-powered vehicle sales by 2035. Supporters hope the regulations announced by the governor will hasten the transition as New York seeks to curtail the effects of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

"Getting it done before the end of the year means we can hit the ground running for the first model year, which is 2026," said Conor Bambrick, the director of climate policy at Environmental Advocates NY.

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New York advances plan to end gas vehicle sales by 2035

BY Nick Reisman and Zack Fink City of Albany

Regulations are being advanced that will end the sale of gas-powered vehicles in New York by 2035, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced.

If given final approval, New York would join California in the effort to transition to electric vehicles by the middle of the next decade.

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After fallout, Port of Albany drops application for $29.5M federal offshore wind award

BY Kate Lisa New York State

A historic $29.5 million federal grant will not be awarded to the Port of Albany for a offshore wind tower manufacturing project as expected.

Officials with the port announced Wednesday it had withdrawn its application for the U.S. Maritime Administration funding to assist constructing the $357 million project on Beacon Island. Delaying the application process will allow more time for a state and federal review of various pending permits and environmental assessments needed to begin the work.

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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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