NYS Enviro News


See No Pollution, Say There’s No Pollution, Regulate No Pollution

Late last week Albany was abuzz thanks to a report by Environmental Advocates of New York that exposed New York ’s failure to regulate over 90 percent of the water pollution discharges in the state.

That’s not a misprint…90 PERCENT! We’re talking about facilities that cumulatively release billions of gallons of pollution every day.

The report, entitled Muddying the Waters: the Unknown Consequences of New York’s Failed Water Pollution Permitting Program documents the ill-conceived system for regulating water pollution that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has had in place for about 15 years.

Thanks to the investigations of Tim Sweeney , our Regulatory Watch Program Director, Environmental Advocates uncovered the DEC’s very own inconvenient truth…that over 1,150 water pollution sources hadn’t undergone a technical review in over a decade, in direct violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

For the full report go to http://www.eany.org/MuddyingtheWaters.pdf. For a copy of the press release go to http://www.eany.org/pressreleases/2007/04122007.html.

Why? Well, it gets back to Governor Pataki’s decision to let go 700-800 scientists, engineers, and enforcement officials at the DEC over the past decade or so. Without adequate staff, the agency simply punted its legal responsibilities to regulate billions and billions of gallons of water pollution that’s released to our lakes and streams every day.

And these aren’t small discharges of water pollution. Take for instance a 76 million gallon a day sewage treatment plant in Hempstead on Long Island and Eastman Kodak’s chemical plant in Rochester . For a full list of the major and significant minor polluters that have been escaping oversight, click here.

New York State News
This is raising a ruckus, and you’ll be hearing more about it in the months ahead.

Study Finds New York State Behind in Pollution Permit Reviews
The New York Times – April 13, 2007

Report: Lax permit review for water polluters
Newsday – April 13, 2007

State leaves rivers at risk

The Times Union – April 13, 2007

DEC program leaves rivers open to toxic pollution

Journal News – April 13, 2007

Climate Change in Albany

We’re not talking about the political climate (although that could always use a little change). No, we’re talking about actual climate change…global warming…that whole, “we must stop burning fossil fuels because the planet it heating up,” kinda climate change.

This week Assemblymen Robert Sweeney and Mike Gianaris introduced a package of bills that will help fight climate change, and make sure the revenues form the sale of pollution allowances under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are used for energy efficiency programs, green energy initiatives, and the like.

The bills, known as the Climate Change Solutions Program Act and the Climate Change Solutions Fund, would give specific statutory direction on how to invest state funds for fighting climate change and reducing carbon dioxide emissions from a whole host of sources.

For more on the bills go to “Bills in Play” below.

Bills in Play

Yeah…there’s a bunch of ‘em. After 3 months of not much legislative action the next 10 weeks will be chock full ‘o action. For more information on these bills and to view our memos, visit http://www.eany.org/capitolwatch/billratings.html. Note: Each week’s memos are posted at noon on Mondays.

Three Tree Bills:


SUPER BILL – The Wetlands Act (A7133)


SUPER BILL – The Community Preservation Act (A7333)


Recyclables in Landfills (A3318)


Burn Barrel Ban (A5457)


Great Lakes Compact (A7266)


Climate Change Solutions Program Act/Climate Change Solutions Fund (A7365/A7366)



Two Tree Bills:


Green Building Construction Act (A2005)


Smart Growth Infrastructure (A7335)


Climate Change Task Force (A7367)

One Tree Bill:

Urban Pesticide Board (A5299)

One Smokestack Bill:


Adirondack Dead Timber (S1123)

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