Environment

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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DiNapoli endorses clean environment amendment

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on Monday endorsed an amendment to the state's constitution that would guarantee New Yorkers the right to a clean environment.

The provision, put before voters as a ballot referendum this fall, has been a long-sought addition to the constitution for environmental organizations in New York.

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Bill would ban sale of single-use plastic water bottles at New York state parks

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 1:40 PM ET Oct. 22, 2021

The sale of single-use plastic water bottles would be banned at state parks in New York under proposed legislation announced Friday by two state lawmakers.

The bill, which is yet to be formally introduced, would bar the sale of plastic water bottles at any site managed by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as part of an effort to reduce plastic waste.

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NY Assemblyman Magnarelli on getting to zero emission transit: 'You’re talking about billions of dollars'

BY Susan Arbetter New York State
UPDATED 5:56 PM ET Oct. 21, 2021

Upstate public transit systems have to begin (or continue, as the case may be) preparing to decarbonize in order to meet the goals under New York's 2019 Climate and Community Protection Act (CLPA).

The CLCPA requires New York state to achieve 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040, and to reduce carbon emissions by at least 85% below 1990 levels by 2050. That’s going to mean eliminating diesel and investing in zero-emission transportation.

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Advocates: Take New York homes off fossil fuels

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Advocates in a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul urged her to back a plan that would shift millions of residential homes in New York from fossil fuels to renewable energy by the start of the next decade.

The push by more than 200 advocacy organizations comes as the state is working toward a timetable in the coming decades of switching to renewable energies, as well as phasing out gas-powered vehicles.

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Greenidge Generation permit renewal draws supporters, critics over cryptocurrency mining

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

A hearing for a run-of-the-mill air permit renewal saw significant attention in Albany and the Finger Lakes.

Greenidge Generation, a power plant and cryptocurrency mining operation in Yates County that employs 45 people, needs to renew an existing Title V air permit with the state of New York. On Wednesday, the Department of Environmental Conservation held a hearing on the issue, attended by both advocates and critics.

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How the swans at Lake Eola became an iconic piece of Orlando

BY Rachael Krause Orlando

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — If you’ve walked around Lake Eola, you may have marveled at their beauty or shrank away from their bite.

For more than a century now, the city of Orlando has been home to swans — some sassy, some sweet, some with a salacious past but over the years, they've come to be an iconic piece of the city beautiful's identity.

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PFOAs in Poestenkill: Is it another Hoosick Falls?

BY Susan Arbetter Rensselaer County

Five years after residents of the Rensselaer County community of Hoosick Falls learned their drinking water was contaminated by the man-made toxin PFOA, the residents of Poestenkill, 25 miles to the south, have received similar alarming news.

This time, PFOA was detected in January 2021, in the drinking water at the Algonquin Middle School, as well as several surrounding homes.

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Hochul says climate change fight is personal

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Fighting to reduce the effects of climate change is "personal" given that her own community growing up faced pollution troubles, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday said.

Hochul announced this week she is backing an additional $1 billion for what had been a $3 billion bond act for shoring up the state's environmental infrastructure, with a focus on clean water and air projects around the state.

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Biden EPA completes rule to phase out gases used as refrigerants

BY Associated Press Nationwide

In what officials call a key step to combat climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency is sharply limiting domestic production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), highly potent greenhouse gases commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners.

The new rule, which follows through on a law Congress passed last year, is intended to decrease U.S. production and use of HFCs by 85% over the next 15 years, part of a global phaseout designed to slow global warming.

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DEC commissioner: Hochul is making New York’s climate initiatives a priority

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul unveiled four major climate initiatives over the past few days in honor of Climate Week, a moment when the international community focuses on accelerating climate action. New York and other cities across the globe are trying to raise awareness of the climate crisis ahead of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which kicks off in Glasgow, Scotland on Nov. 1.

Hochul’s initiatives include two major transmission infrastructure projects, support for more solar power and an historic effort to monitor air quality in disadvantaged communities.

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Why nation's attorneys general want boosted environmental spending

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday led a coalition of 20 fellow state attorneys general from around the country calling on Congress to included funding for environmental and climate change fighting efforts in a major domestic spending bill now under negotiation.

The James-backed coalition of state AGs called for infrastructure spending in the bill to address a transition to cleaner energy sources, efforts to curtail the worsening effects of climate change, and address the effect environmental hazards have played on low-income communities.

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Environmental advocates have hope for Gov. Kathy Hochul

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

A new governor means new positions on a variety of issues – including climate change.

Environmental activists are hoping that New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is a better ally to them than former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been described by some in the environmental community as a reluctant ally.

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Conservation group to create oyster reef off Phippsburg to improve water quality

BY Associated Press Maine

A group wants to create an oyster reef off the coast of Phippsburg to improve water quality, protect a shoreline from storm surges and act as a habitat for other smaller shellfish.

The oyster reef is part of the fight against “the immense amount of change" that's taking place because of climate change in waters off the Maine coast, Marissa McMahan, a senior fisheries scientist at Manomet, a Brunswick-based conservation nonprofit, told the Times Record.

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New law will require zero-emission cars in New York by 2035

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A bill that requires passenger cars and trucks sold in New York be zero emission by 2035 has been signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul, state lawmakers on Wednesday announced.

The new law also covers zero emission requirements for medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks by 2045.

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How will New York update infrastructure to handle climate change?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Advocates and officials are rethinking New York's infrastructure in the wake of devastating flooding. And while climate change is a global problem, it's one with statewide reprecussions for New York after storms have led to damaging floods around the state.

"We've had these massive storms that have hit Long Island, they've hit the Adirondacks, they've hit the Capital Region," said Jessica Ottney Mahar, the New York policy and strategy director of the Nature Conservancy.

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Biden sets electric vehicle sales goal of 50% by 2030

BY Austin Landis and Spectrum News Staff Nationwide
UPDATED 4:45 PM ET Aug. 05, 2021

President Joe Biden on Thursday signed an executive order that sets a goal that half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2030 will be zero-emissions, and he committed to reversing a Trump-era rollback of fuel emissions standards.

"We led in developing this technology. And there's no reason why we can't reclaim that leadership again. But we just have to move, we have to move fast," President Biden said, noting China's advances in the industry.

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Bill regulating PFAS chemicals clears House vote

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A bill setting new regulatory and cleanup standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance contamination was approved Wednesday in the House of Representatives.

“Thousands of Americans have suffered devastating effects from exposure to PFAS chemicals with little or no action taken by our colleagues in the Senate," said Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat from the Capital Region who sponsors the bill. "Today’s vote gives this bold legislation its best chance yet to raise the bar on PFAS safety and protect the health and welfare of all Americans, especially our hardest hit communities.”

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Poison hemlock: What you need to know

BY Chuck Ringwalt Columbus

GALENA, Ohio — It's white, shaped like an umbrella and can be deadly. Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) may be spotted in your backyard.

"It's a non-native, invasive species," botanist Andrew Gibson said.

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NY Sen. Parker on climate advisory panels: Legislature, governor have final say on policy

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany
UPDATED 6:21 PM ET Jul. 08, 2021

According to reporting by New York Focus, both the Climate Action Council (CAC) and the multiple advisory committees that were created to inform CAC’s final scoping document are “stacked with numerous industry representatives” who are slowing down the process.

The Climate Action Council was created by passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), a law passed in 2019 that sets an initial goal for New York state of reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

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How climate change goals in New York can be tracked

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany
UPDATED 5:46 PM ET Jun. 29, 2021

New York has some ambitious goals to halt the effects of climate change. But how will we know if the state is meeting them?

Liz Moran, the environmental policy director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, is calling for a dashbaord or scorecard to track progress in the coming years.

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Bill boosting water quality for schools heads to Cuomo's desk

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A bill meant to boost water testing requirements in schools, as well as increasing the frequency of testing and ending exemptions, will soon head to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk.

State lawmakers this month gave final passage to the lead testing bill, which also lowers thresholds for taking action on lead levels in drinking water.

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Katko wants stronger testing, prevention for lead exposure

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

U.S. Rep. John Katko on Friday called on the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to boost efforts to prevent lead poisoning and strengthen testing for children following a report that found a decrease in blood lead level testing for children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Katko, in a letter to the CDC, urged officials to place a renewed emphasis on blood level lead testing as pandemic-related restrictions start to subside. The letter also comes after the city of Syracuse was slow to implement a new measure combating child lead poisoning.

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Aaron Mair on the Adirondack Council’s new 'Forever Adirondacks' initiative

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany
UPDATED 7:58 PM ET Jun. 21, 2021

Aaron Mair has spent his life fighting for environmental justice, all while holding a day job as a public health analyst for the state of New York.

He was integral to shutting down the toxin-belching ANSWERS plant in Albany that was visibly polluting the poor, predominantly Black neighborhood of Arbor Hill. He was a vocal advocate for cleaning up PCBs from the Hudson River. Mair was a member of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. And in 2015, he was tapped to be the first African American president of the National Sierra Club.

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PFAS emissions could be easier to identify under new federal rule

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The Environmental Protection Agency will be required to identify and publicly share the sources of PFAS emissions under a new provision announced Tuesday by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

The move comes as PFAS chemical contaminations have been at issue in upstate New York communities in recent years and as policymakers have sought a more active role in monitoring potential issues, especially in drinking water.

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Bill banning coal tar-based sealants heads to Cuomo's desk

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State lawmakers this month advanced a bill that would enact a statewide ban on the use of coal tar-based sealant products commonly used for driveways and parking lots.

At issue is the chemcials found in the sealcoats, including concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are considered toxic to aquatic life and lawmakers say are cancer-linked.

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Bill to protect Adirondack lakes from aquatic invasives passes both houses

BY Susan Arbetter City of Albany

A key law that protects lakes in the Adirondack Park from invasive species had expired this week, worrying environmentalists about the future of the park’s waterbodies on the cusp of the summer boating season.

But lawmakers in both houses passed S7010A/A7735 — bills that makes boat inspection inside the Adirondack Park mandatory.

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Bill would aid farmers in climate change fight

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State lawmakers on Wednesday called for the final passage of a bill meant to enlist farmers in the fight against climate change by expanding sustainable soil efforts in the state.

The measure is aimed at increasing carbon sequestration in order to meet New York's climate goals in the coming years while also boosting water quality and resilience to issues like extreme weather at the farm and in surrounding communities.

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Congress makes renewed push for PFAS bill

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Congressional lawmakers this month are making a renewed effort to crack down on PFAS chemicals in U.S. waterways with the reintroduction of a bill that would have those substances apply to the Clean Water Act.

The bill, backed by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Antonio Delgado, was first proposed as multiple upstate New York communities faced water contamination issues stemming from PFAS pollution.

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Big rebate driving more sales of electric and hybrid vehicles

BY Olivia Leach Newburgh
UPDATED 11:54 AM ET May. 27, 2021

They’re environmentally friendly, have quiet electric motors and you can operate them using a tablet on your dashboard. These are some reasons why more drivers are purchasing hybrid or electric vehicles.

Since 2010, more than 81,000 electric vehicles have been purchased statewide.

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Congress considers funds for infrastructure facing climate change risk

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Highways in New York and across the country at risk for being damaged by rising sea levels, floods and other climate-induced disasters would receive improvements to guard against future problems under a bill backed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

The bill backed by Gillibrand would also provide incentives for highway infrastructure to be protected against future floods and potential natural disasters as a means of long-term savings. The bill is also meant to harden bridges and tunnels.

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Regulators pushed to go big on clean energy plan

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Environmental groups and labor unions this month are pushing the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to adopt more than 1,500 megawatts for projects in order to meet the goals set under the new clean energy standard.

Not doing so would create a "tale of two grids" in New York — as upstate power producers are on track for the goals set under a measure meant to shift the state to cleanr energy in the coming years, while the downstate region still has a ways to go.

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Funding could be boosted for PFAS testing in private wells

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Owners of private wells could soon be in line for federal funding to test and clean up PFAS contamination in drinking water based on an amendment backed by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

The amendment was attached to a drinking water infrastructure approved this month by the U.S. Senate. The provision also includes funds to replace lead service lines, drinking water and clean water state revolving funds and a pilot program for the Environmental Protection Agency for low-income water assistance.

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What role can government play in fighting climate change?

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The federal government over the last year has marshalled resources as part of Operation Warp Speed to deliver millions of shots in arms to vaccinate people for COVID-19.

But David Van Slyke, the dean of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, said the effort existential threat of our time, fighting climate change, cannot use the same tools.

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