New York Prioritizes Environmental Health in 2021 Budget

(April 2, 2020 - Albany, NY) Today, Governor Cuomo signed a robust suite of budget legislation targeted at protecting environmental health in New York State. The budget priorities include a $3 billion Environmental Bond Act, a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, a permanent ban on fracking and polystyrene, and the final amendments to the Child Safe Products Act. The legislation was finalized this evening by a three-way agreement between the Assembly, Senate and Executive. The passage of these budgetary items fulfills many of the core 2020 objectives of environmental health advocates across New York State despite the truncated legislative session.

"It is easy to be a fair-weather friend to environmental health, but Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Heastie, and State Legislative Leaders chose to push a broad and ambitious agenda at a time when New York is in crisis," said Kathleen Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York and Co-Leader of the JustGreen Partnership. "We are so grateful for and inspired by their exemplary leadership on these crucial issues in the face of so much adversity."

“On a day when the White House rolls back EPA regulations, Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie pass a budget with the strongest Child Safe Products Act in the nation, a $3 billion bond act that will prioritize communities and a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund with dedicated funds for environmental justice,” said Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice and Co-Leader of the JustGreen Partnership. “In the midst of a global pandemic, this is leadership that even Ray Charles can see, and WE ACT for Environmental Justice is grateful that New York continues to lead.”

“A clean healthy environment is essential for people to thrive.  Protecting our environment ensures our quality of life,” said Assemblyman Englebright. “The new laws we have created will help ensure and safeguard that New Yorkers have access to clean air, clean water, open green space, safer children’s products and a healthful environment.”

 

Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said, "As Washington is rolling back our environmental progress, New York is picking up the leadership mantle. While crucially addressing the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, we applaud Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Carl Heastie, the State Senate, and the Assembly for passing a responsible budget that also tackles the long-term climate crisis and includes many of our top priorities. We look forward to working with policymakers and stakeholders to implement these programs.”

 

“New York State’s budget further safeguards our communities and natural environment as Washington continues to roll back environmental protections under the cover of Covid-19.  When our economy and our people recover from this pandemic, we will be better positioned to provide unemployed New Yorkers with meaningful jobs in a new economy powered by renewable energy.  We are grateful for such bold action from Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Heastie, and legislative leaders,” said Bob Rossi, Executive Director, New York Sustainable Business Council.

 

“I’m proud to be a citizen of New York State where Governor Cuomo and our legislature have worked tirelessly to protect our environmental health,” said Laura Weinberg, President of the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition. “Implementing a permanent ban on fracking and polystyrene will prevent carcinogens from being released into our environment which has been a priority and concern for our coalition. We are also thrilled that the Child Safe Products Act amendments have been finalized. This law will empower parents and teachers to purchase safer children's products since certain bad-acting chemicals will be banned and manufacturers will need to publicly disclose numerous chemicals of concern.  In turn, since research has shown that early life exposures may contribute to the onset of adult disease, this law may reduce the incidence of chronic diseases, such as breast cancer."

 

These budgetary items were a priority of the JustGreen Partnership, a coalition of over 50 groups representing over a million New Yorkers working for environmental health and justice for New York’s people and communities.

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Clean and Healthy New York works for safer chemicals, a sustainable economy, and a healthier world. It co-leads with WE ACT for Environmental Justice the JustGreen Partnership, a coalition of over 50 organizations working for environmental health and justice for New York’s people and communities, and leads the national Getting Ready for Baby campaign working to ensure all baby and children’s products are free of harmful chemicals.

The JustGreen Partnership is a coalition of about 50 groups representing nearly a million New Yorkers, all working together for environmental health and justice for New York’s people and communities. The Partnership focuses on transforming the policies that govern how chemicals are regulated or marketed in the great State of New York. Through our work, we are building a better movement for health and environmental justice in New York State.

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