Groups Release 2011 Environmental "Super Bills" for Earth Day

Green Super Bills Include Measures to Jumpstart Solar Industry, Protect NY's Water from Fracking, Cut Climate Pollution, & More

ALBANY, NY (04/21/2011)(readMedia)-- In recognition of Earth Day, several of New York's public policy, environmental, transportation and energy groups today released a slate of "Super Bills" for 2011. These green priorities for the State Legislature include measures designed to bolster economic development while addressing the state's highest profile environmental challenges, including expanding the use of solar energy, cutting the pollution that is changing our climate, protecting drinking water from the dangers of hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"), and making our communities more pedestrian-friendly. The groups also announced that this year's Earth Day Lobby Day in Albany will be held on Monday, May 2nd.

"Governor Cuomo and the Legislature made a strong commitment to New York's environment by maintaining the Environmental Protection Fund in this year's budget, but there is still more to do to safeguard our natural resources and keep New Yorkers working," said Albert E. Caccese, Executive Director of Audubon New York. "By improving management of our water resources and addressing global warming head on, the Legislature can ensure the next generation will have something to celebrate on future earth days."

"Our state leaders tell us that they support a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable future for New York," said Dave Gahl, Policy Director, Environmental Advocates of New York. "Now it's time to put those words into action and pass the 2011 Super Bills. By passing the Super Bills, our leaders will send a clear signal to the nation-New York is ready to lead by example by protecting our water, making our communities safer and more pedestrian friendly, and cleaning up our energy mix."

The 2011 environmental Super Bills include:

Solar Industry Development & Jobs Act, (A.5713 / S.4178), would create new jobs and jumpstart investment in New York's growing solar energy industry by requiring state utilities and energy service companies to purchase solar renewable energy credits.

Global Warming Pollution Cap, (A.5346), would require that climate-altering pollution from all sources is cut by 80 percent by the year 2050. These are the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say will help us avert the worst impacts of climate change.

Water Withdrawal Permitting Program, (A.5318-A / S.3798), would protect all New York's waters from wasteful withdrawals by requiring anyone with the capacity to withdraw more than 100,000 gallons of water per day to first obtain a permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Closure of the Hazardous Waste Loophole for Fracking Fluid Disposal, (A.7013/S.4616), would end special exemptions that allow the gas industry to circumvent requirements for hazardous waste disposal. This bill would update state law so that all waste resulting from gas drilling that meets the definition of hazardous waste be treated as such and subject to all regulations related to its generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal.

Complete Streets, (S.1332/A.1863), would ensure that New York's future roads take into account the needs of all users-bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and passengers, motorists, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities-and help reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.

"Complete Streets enable travelers to get out of their cars and into their communities-they're the right choice for both the environment and economic development," said Kate Slevin, Executive Director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

"The Solar Industry Development & Jobs Act will create thousands of new jobs, attract new investment, and help move New York State toward a 21st Century clean energy economy-all while reducing the pollution that is changing our climate. The State Legislature owes it to the people of New York to pass this bill and make our state a solar energy leader," said Jackson D. Morris, Senior Policy Advisor, Pace Energy and Climate Center.

"Revitalizing New York's economy is priority #1-and that's why the time for decisive action is now," said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. "The Solar Industry Development & Jobs Act has the ability to transform our state's economy, create more than 22,000 jobs and help clean our air. There has been enough talk about the innovation economy – now is the time to act for a better, more prosperous future for New York."

On Monday, May 2nd, environmental groups will hold the 21st annual Earth Day Lobby Day in Albany, during which hundreds of New Yorkers from all walks of life will meet with legislators in the state capitol to voice support for the Super Bills.

"Earth Day is not just about lowering the thermostat, switching off the lights, or taking the bus to work instead of driving," said Laura Haight, NYPIRG's senior environmental associate. "It's also about advocating for better policies to protect our environment. That's why it's so important for citizens to come to Albany to meet with their elected officials. Every one of the Super Bills has a strong and vocal constituency and we will deliver a strong message to state legislators when they return to Albany on May 2nd that the public demands action on these bills."

The Super Bills are selected each year by the Green Panel, which includes representatives of: more than a dozen environmental organizations from across the state. Lawmakers receive bonus points for votes in support of the Super Bills in EPL/Environmental Advocates' annual Voters' Guide, the only scorecard that grades legislators according to their votes on bills that would hurt or protect New York's air, land, and water.

People interested in participating in Earth Day Lobby Day can go to:


For More Information:

Erica Ringewald, Environmental Advocates, 518.210.9903

Laura Haight, NYPIRG, 518.436.0876 ext. 258

Dan Hendrick, NYLCV, 212.361.6350 ext. 206

Sean Mahar, Audubon New York, 518.253.7000