Governor Cuomo Prioritizes Environmental Initiatives in Budget Address
(January 21, 2020 - Albany, NY) Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out his budget priorities for the 2021 fiscal year this afternoon, emphasizing his commitment to protecting environmental health by confronting the vaping epidemic, banning single-use styrofoam, and permanently ending fracking in New York State. The governor's budget priorities are consistent with the proposals raised at his State of the State address earlier in the month.
In addition to his verbal comments, the Governor's Fiscal Year 2021 Executive Budget Book lists priorities previously backed by Clean and Healthy New York, including an expansion of the existing extended producer responsibility programs pertaining to e-waste, mercury thermostats, and rechargeable batteries to include carpets and mattresses. Clean and Healthy New York also supports the proposed $300 million towards the Environmental Protection Fund, with an expectation that some funding will be put towards innovating green chemistry solutions to confront environmental health challenges.
“We are heartened by the Governor's commitment to banning single-use styrofoam and fracking in New York state, and will support those efforts,” said Kathy Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York. "We also fully support broadening Extended Producer Responsibility and building toward a nontoxic circular economy. But before we move on to an exciting new agenda, we hope the Governor honors the robust legislative mandate behind the Child Safe Products Act and signs it into law.”
Environmental health advocates have been pushing for the Child Safe Products Act for over a decade. The bill would set up an infrastructure within state government to identify chemicals of concern to which children may be particularly vulnerable, require children’s product makers to report when their products contain chemicals of concern to children’s health, and phase out dangerous chemicals from products offered for sale in the state. The latest iteration of the bill, which passed overwhelmingly in both chambers of the state legislature, was called down by the Governor on December 30th. He now has until February 7th to make a decision. The legislation is supported by Clean and Healthy New York and the JustGreen Partnership, a coalition of about 50 groups representing nearly a million New Yorkers.