This summer I introduced S6402, legislation to ban the use of styrofoam in the food service industry.
Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh has since signed on to carry the same-as version in his chamber, and it was recently announced that Westchester County will join the growing list of municipalities nationwide phasing out the use of this environmentally devastating, petroleum-based product.
This fall, supporters of the legislation will be engaging in a public education and outreach campaign to drum up support and help people understand why styrofoam products are bad and should avoided in their own lives. In fact, many of my colleagues will be joining me in writing to nearly 200 university and college presidents, asking them to voluntarily stop using styrofoam products on their campuses in favor of bioplastic alternatives.
As a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, I was surprised to learn that hundreds of students across the state were selected as winners of the "I’m a Green Nation" contest.
The only problem: all the students were from Republican Senate districts. Click here to read the full article in the Buffalo News. This was the first I’d even heard of the contest.
It’s bad enough the Republicans don’t allow our bills to the floor, or provide equal staffing resource, or a more equitable distribution of member items and capital funds. Now they are snubbing the kids in our district.
It’s the end of June. Legislative session is heating up as fast as the temperature. And New York residents deserve a break in the normal weather pattern.
As a State Legislator who is faced with deciding whether or not to approve the Congestion Pricing Plans proposed by the Mayor of the City of New York, I must ask: who is really going to benefit from these plans, and who is going to suffer from their impact?
Although some media organizations, advocacy groups, and distinguished experts have come out in favor of these plans, as a representative of a core part of the South Bronx, which has been identified as the area with the highest asthma rates in the nation - I have some questions to ask.
I like endorsements just as much as the next guy. So it bothered me when I was recently denied an endorsement from an organization dedicated to environmental protection – this being an issue close to my heart, and one for which my voting record is quite strong.
According to the letter I received, the board of directors “has decided not to endorse any incumbent members of the state legislature this year” because of the “failure to forge solutions to four of the five top environmental priorities” identified by the organization.
Point taken. Many important environmental bills did not even garner a floor vote in the Senate. Rather they died in the Rules, Finance, or – oddly enough – Environmental Conservation committee.
Last week saw the release of plans to renovate and re-open the Highbridge, New York City’s oldest surviving bridge. I believe the next step is focusing on the Harlem River down below.
Environmental infrastructure, like the Roberto Clemente State Park, already exists on the river. But there’s evidence of dumping elsewhere along the banks. Not to mention open-air solid waste sites that contributes to the poor air quality of the Bronx and northern Manhattan.
Environmental bills are notoriously hard to pass in the Senate. It’s a struggle to even get them out of committee for a floor vote. But thanks to the enlarged Environmental Protection Fund, we can and should direct more resources to clean up the Harlem River.