Committee Reports

Education Committee Update 

April 28, 2024

VID has issued an official letter in strong opposition to the Manhattan School Board's resolution #248, which seeks to ban transgender girls from participating in sports aligned with their gender identity. See the full letter here


VID Environmental Committee

Learn more about climate-friendly solutions with this GREAT music video, "I'm Your Heat Pump"!

Indian Point’s Nuclear Power Plant: 
An investigation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has found that Indian Point owner, Holtec, had workers sign agreements saying they would not discuss safety concerns with outsiders after they stopped working at the shuttered nuclear power plant. In 2023, VID wrote a letter to Gov. Hochul urging her to sign the Save the Hudson bill (A.7208/S.6893) into law and stop Holtec International from dumping over one million gallons of radioactive wastewater from the Indian Point.  Read more about it HERE.

How Offshore Wind Connects to New York’s Electric Grid: Please check out this webinar series hosted by NYSERDA’s Offshore Wind Team, featuring independent experts speaking on key offshore wind topics, including wind farm technologies, development practices, regulatory processes, and research initiatives. June 12 on 
Wednesday, June 12 from 1:00 p.m .– 2:00 p.m. ET. Click here to register.

Take a Stand: Support the Phase-Out of Toxic PFAS Chemicals in New York by Environmental Advocates NY. Toxic PFAS chemicals, known as "forever chemicals," are lurking in everyday products, threatening our health and environment. ASAP Letter to legislature:HERE.  

UPDATE ON "FOREVER CHEMICALS": June 2024

"Toxic PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Widely Found In NY Water: New EPA Data:article HERE.

From Inside Climate News New York, Attorney General Letitia James’ Narrow View of the State’s Green Amendment: Environmentalists have cited the amendment in opposing expansion of a giant landfill. But James has argued in court that its guarantee of “clean air, clean water and a healthful environment” cannot be used to supersede state permitting decisions. Read article HERE

Update: Compost Sites Salvaged (for now): Due to city budget cuts we have been protesting, GrowNYC community composting collection at city greenmarkets (Abingdon Market, among other locations) ended this week. However, with the help of donors, two downtown Manhattan sites run by the Lower East Side Ecology Center will continue through the end of 2024.

New Yorkers can still drop off food scraps, plant trimmings, and other organic materials at the Union Square Greenmarket and Tompkins Square Greenmarket.

Dropping off food scraps with the Ecology Center ensures they are composted and turned into nutrient-rich soil.


NY! Contact your reps to vote YES on Plastic Reduction and Reuse Bills! This takes 1 SECOND! Click HERE.

More information about the Bigger Bottle Bill and the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act  HERE. Additional environmental issues and actions HERE.

UPDATE:

New Poll: 82% of NY Voters Say Single-Use Plastic Packaging Is a Problem. Reducing single-use plastic has massive public support across New York, but the legislature still hasn’t voted on the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act. A bipartisan 67% of voters support the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (A5322B Glick / S4246B Harckham).  

Click HERE for the recent press release and HERE for info. about how the polluter and not the taxpayer pays and HERE for additional information. 

Contact your reps to vote YES on Plastic Reduction and Reuse Bills!


VID FIELD TRIP TO: Sims Municipal Recycling (SMR) in Brooklyn scheduled for Wednesday, June 19 at 2:00pm (Limit is 30 people). Bus pickup will be at 26 Perry Street at 1:00pm. The Sunset Park Materials Recovery Facility is located at 472 2nd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Nearest train station is at 25 St then walk down 29th street about 17 min, 0.8 mi.   PLEASE NOTE, THIS TRIP IS FOR VID MEMBERS ONLY.

Eric Lach’s, April 8 the New Yorker article “The Ex-N.Y.P.D. Official Trying to Tame New York’s Trash” about Jessica Tisch, New York City’s sanitation commissioner is an excellent political history and the Commissioner’s personal perspective along with the Adam’s administrations’ on trash.  Good reading in anticipation of VID field trip to Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Brooklyn scheduled for Wednesday, June 19.  https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2024/04/15/the-ex-nypd-official-trying-to-tame-new-yorks-trash


Environmental Committee Report, May 19, 2024

We Must Budget Community Composting: We are rapidly running out of time to restore the mayor’s budget cuts. Let’s make sure the Mayor is aware of the importance of actual composting. Text the Mayor at 917-909-2288 and ask him to restore the budget cuts to community composting ASAP. Angelica Ang has written More Than Dirt, a beautiful essay on what NYC will lose without community composting. 

 

NY HEAT Act: Keep the Pressure On and Support NY HEAT!  UPDATE 5/20/24: "Climate advocates plan to spend against incumbents blocking NY HEAT Act" read here- Keep the pressure up! The NY HEAT Act (New York Home Energy Affordable Transition) passed the Senate. However, despite being widely popular in the Assembly (it has 75 cosponsors), this critical climate and energy affordability legislation (S.2016A/A.4592A) has yet to move out of the Assembly’s Corporations Committee. HEAT will ensure the following:

  •         Ensuring Energy Affordability
  •         Ending the Obligation to Serve
  •         Ending the 100-foot Rule

 

NYC's Zero Waste: The New York League of Conservation Voters has published New York City's zero-waste goals. These are part of a NYC Council legislative package introduced in April 2022, which commits the city to a zero-waste by 2030 goal. Click here for the full policy agenda.

Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek: Letter Campaign: Riverkeeper and Voice of Gowanus have launched a letter campaign to environmental officials and  Gov. Hochul, respectively, to require a clean-up of all toxic sites in the Gowanus Canal Community and to restore New York City’s Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek, both of which are Superfund sites. To send a letter, click here for the Voice of Gowanus Letter and here for the Riverkeeper's Letter


 

 

PFAS: Let’s get educated. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that are a public health and environmental concern. The use of PFAS is widespread in making products that resist grease, oil, water, and stains – such as non-stick pans, microwave popcorn bags, raincoats, cosmetics, fire-fighting foam, carpets, food wrappers, etc. The advocacy group WE ACT has been working to raise awareness of PFAS. On Oct. 31, 2019, WE ACT and its partners hosted a PFAS webinar to help educate our community about these chemicals and their threats. Watch the Video. And you can learn more about PFAS via this English/Spanish fact sheet: PFAS Fact Sheet (PDF).

 

Contributed by Nat Johnson, VID Environmental Committee Chair

 


 

VID Environmental Committee Report May 10, 2024

Save Our Parks May 7 Rally - update

About 500 people and a dozen advocacy groups rallied in Union Square to protest $55MM in budget to NYC’s park department, jeopardizing park maintenance and safety. Adam Ganser of New Yorkers for Parks says these cuts will result in dirtier bathrooms, trash in our city's parks, un-mowed lawns, untrimmed trees, recreation centers that don't have programs. Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine argued for the restoration of just 1% of funds and cited their minimal impact on the city's overall budget. While City Hall will support some funding restoration, it falls far short of addressing park upkeep in any meaningful way. Full article FOX5 and AmNY.

Mayor Adams has cut NYC Parks by over $25 million, resulting in the loss of over 600 jobs. There was a Rally for Parks, on Tuesday, May 7 in Union Square Park to raise the budget to the 1% level. About 500 people, dozen organizations attended. https://www.ny4p.org/what-we-do/play-fair 

     

 

2.    Eric Lach’s, April 8 the New Yorker article “The Ex-N.Y.P.D. Official Trying to Tame New York’s Trash” about Jessica Tisch, New York City’s sanitation commissioner is an excellent political history and the Commissioner’s personal perspective along with the Adam’s administrations’ on trash.  Good reading in anticipation of VID field trip to Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Brooklyn scheduled for Wednesday, June 19.  https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2024/04/15/the-ex-nypd-official-trying-to-tame-new-yorks-trash

Actions:

3.    NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group) has a campaign in support of the Climate Change Superfund Act to make polluters pay for clean-up. (A.3351-A-Jeffrey Dinowitz/ S2129A-Liz Krueger). https://www.nypirg.org/makepolluterspay/ 

Contact Governor Kathy Hochul by Phone: 1-518-474-8390 | Office hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm, https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form and Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, office at: [email protected] or 212-674-5153.

 

4.    Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (S4246-b/A5322-b) and the Bigger Better Bottle Bill (S237-b/A6353) –

On May 14 there will be a bus trip to Albany in support of this legislation by Beyond Plastics https://www.beyondplastics.org/events/nys-2024-in-person-advocacy-day-5-14-24 

Media:

·         Mark Levine-NY4P

·         NY4P-1, NY4P-2, NY4P-3, NY4P-4

·         Batalá -percussion ensemble MOV

 


VID Environmental Committee Report April 24, 2024

 1.      VID FIELD TRIP TO: Sims Municipal Recycling (SMR) in Brooklyn scheduled for Wednesday, June 19 at 2:00pm (Limit is 30 people). Bus pickup will be at 26 Perry Street at 1:00pm. The Sunset Park Materials Recovery Facility is located at 472 2nd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Nearest train station is at 25 St then walk down 29th street about 17 min, 0.8 mi.   PLEASE NOTE, THIS TRIP IS FOR VID MEMBERS ONLY.

Eric Lach’s, April 8 the New Yorker article “The Ex-N.Y.P.D. Official Trying to Tame New York’s Trash” about Jessica Tisch, New York City’s sanitation commissioner is an excellent political history and the Commissioner’s personal perspective along with the Adam’s administrations’ on trash.  Good reading in anticipation of VID field trip to Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Brooklyn scheduled for Wednesday, June 19.  https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2024/04/15/the-ex-nypd-official-trying-to-tame-new-yorks-trash

 

2.      Mayor Adams has cut NYC Parks by $25 million, resulting in the loss of over 600 jobs. Join the Rally for Parks, Tuesday, May 7 at 6pm in Union Square Park.  https://www.ny4p.org/what-we-do/play-fair.

3.      NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group) has a campaign in support of the Climate Change Superfund Act to make polluters pay for clean-up. (A.3351-A-Jeffrey Dinowitz/ S2129A-Liz Krueger). https://www.nypirg.org/makepolluterspay/

4.      Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (S4246-b/A5322-b) and the Bigger Better Bottle Bill (S237-b/A6353) –On May 14 there will be a bus trip to Albany in support of this legislation by Beyond Plastics https://www.beyondplastics.org/events/nys-2024-in-person-advocacy-day-5-14-24

5.      The NY HEAT Act was not in the budget, a victory for the fossil fuel industry. The breakdown of pro/con in the Assembly: Assembly Spikes Biggest Climate Proposal in New York Budget
Lisa Marshall of New Yorkers for Clean Power says the measure is key to meeting the state’s climate protection act goal of net zero emissions by 2050. But she says the New York state Assembly leadership prevented it from becoming part of the budget. “The Assembly is where climate bills go to die,” Marshall said. Liz Moran with Earthjustice agrees.
“The Assembly ultimately didn't come to the table in good faith on this,” Moran said. https://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/49722/20240424/assembly-speaker-does-not-rule-out-passing-ny-heat-act-this-year 
But the Renewable Action Through Project Interconnection and Deployment (RAPID) Act was in the budget. It does the following:

·         Build Swimming Pools and Help New Yorkers Learn to Swim

·         Reach the goal of Planting 25 million trees by 2033.

·         Money for Clean Water Infrastructure

·         Create the Resilient & Ready Program to Protect New Yorkers from Future Storms


 

VID Environmental Committee Report April 11, 2024

1.    VID FIELD TRIP TO: Sims Municipal Recycling (SMR) in Brooklyn scheduled for Wednesday, June 19 at 2:00pm

2.    Village Independent Democrats supports the NY HEAT Act and the Renewable Action Through Project Interconnection and Deployment (RAPID) Act. Continue calling Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie in support. Albany: 518-455-3791, local office is 718-654-6539. Also as suggested by Food & Water Watch a call to constituent Assemblymembers and ask them to fight to ensure the full NY HEAT Act and the Climate Change Superfund Act are included in the budget. NY State Assembly Bill 2023-A4592B

3.    Beyond Pesticides, ask that we  Tell the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of State to withdraw opposition to Mexico's ban on imported GE corn. The goal is to “safeguard the integrity of native corn from GM contamination and to protect human health.” Details are at https://www.beyondpesticides.org/  

4.    Earth Day Festival tabling by Food & Water Watch, 350.ORG and others: Sunday, April 14, noon – 6:00 pm, Union Square, Manhattan. RSVP: https://www.mobilize.us/fwa/event/605778/

5.    Mayor Adams has cut NYC Parks by $25 million, resulting in the loss of over 600 jobs. Join the Rally for Parks, Tuesday, May 7 at 6pm in Union Square Park.  https://www.ny4p.org/what-we-do/play-fair

6.    In a good beginning! The federal EPA has adopted new rules to protect communities drinking water from 6 very specific cancer-causing chemicals known as PFAS in our drinking water. These are called “forever chemicals” and linked to reproductive and auto immune diseases.    https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2024-04/pfas-npdwr_fact-sheet_general_4.9.24v1.pdf

 7.    A related issue, Erik Bottcher held a rally today in partnership with Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and Council Member Julie Won to announce legislation that would ban government agencies from purchasing single-use plastic water bottles. An effort to limit the amount of plastic that is being added to our land files and the environment. Contact Hannah Moses, Director of Legislation and Public Engagement, Office of NYC Council Member Erik Bottcher [email protected]  | (212) 564-7757.

8.    A weeklong vigil in connection with earth environmental stewardship is being held Daily, Mon. April 22 to Fri. April 26. Noon-1 pm at 780 3rd Avenue outside offices of Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Gillibrand. Asking them to put climate pollution policy on the agenda. https://climatecrisispolicy.us18.list-manage.com/track/click?u=613712fe6a343247f30883249&id=a319fecfda&e=b1260d528a
This is part of the Earth Act Bill to Stop Climate Pollution by 2030 (HR 598), aka The Earth Bill. Currently, the bill is in the House and key environmental organizations are working on a Senate version.


VID Environmental Committee Report March 25, 2024

·         Announcing a VID FIELD TRIP TO: Sims Municipal Recycling (SMR) in Brooklyn scheduled for Wednesday, June 19 at 2:00pm (Limit is 30 people) bus pickup will be at a Village location. The Sunset Park Materials Recovery Facility is located at 472 2nd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Nearest train station is at 25 St then walk down 29th street about 17 min, 0.8 mi. Stay tuned for additional details and the RSVP link.

 ·         A Fair Parks Rally & Petition was held on March 21 at City Hall by #PlayFair coalition including New Yorkers for Parks, NEW YORK LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS, and Local 1010 of DC37. Protesting budget and staffing cuts to NYC Parks. Despite an Adams Campaign promise to raise the Parks budget to 1% instead, the budget is at .05%.

 Use this link from United Thru Action to tell Mayor Adams: No Cuts to NYC Parks! 

·         

New York State Legislature Votes to Ban CO2 Fracking, Closing a Decade-Old Loophole in State Law. The vote is a new win for the state’s anti-fracking movement, which sees the novel process to skirt a ban it pushed through ten years ago and heads off a Texas-based company that says it would produce net-zero natural gas and sequester carbon dioxide. The bill passed the state Assembly earlier this month by a margin of 98-50. On Wednesday, the bill passed the state Senate by a 46-16 vote, and it now awaits the signature of Governor Kathy Hochul. Read more HERE.

 ·         Hike Against Rate Hikes: Tuesday, March 26. Join Food & Water Watch, Sane Energy and other organizations for either the Hike and/or Rally , calling on Hochul to pass the NY HEAT Act in the budget. We’re kicking off a march at 9:00 am in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, followed by a rally at noon outside Hochul’s Manhattan office. Click here for details and to RSVP


On Wednesday, March 13, 2024, nearly 200 Renewable Heat Now campaign members and legislative allies rallied at the Capitol for the NY HEAT Act, engaging in a press conference, meeting legislators, and distributing supportive materials. Following budget proposals from the Senate and Assembly—with the Senate fully including the NY HEAT Act and the Assembly only partially supporting it (leaving out key provisions that end gas subsidies and allow utilities to begin to transition the gas system to heat pumps and thermal networks). Negotiations are now underway between both chambers and the Governor's office to fight to incorporate the act fully into the budget. Public support is essential to ensure the act's passage for cleaner heat and lower bills. Click here for more ways to get involved. 

ACTION! Call or send an email to your elected officials:

Fund the NY HEAT Act: Let's tell Speaker Heastie, Gov. Hochul and your state representative to fully incoproprate the NY HEAT ACT into the budget. Public support is essential to ensure the act's passage for cleaner heat and lower bills. Click here to send an email to your elected officials. For extra credit, call Speaker Heastie at (518) 455-3791.

More Legislative Updates: 

Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act, Bill A5322B: Debrah Glick’s bill (sometimes known as EPR) Assembly has moved from the Assembly Environmental Committee to the Codes Committee.

Ban CO2 Fracking Bil,(A8866/ S8357): The Assembly passed the bill which bans  carbon dioxide (CO2) fracking in New York. It blocks the dangerous proposal to start fracking in the Southern Tier (8 counties in Upstate New York: Broome, Tioga, Tompkins, Otsego, Cortland, Delaware, Schoharie, and Chenango).

Introduction 1505: New York City Council Voted to require cruise ships to connect to shore power when docked at terminals and plug into the city’s electric grid. This legislation is aimed at curbing harmful cruise ship emissions which are equivalent to thousands of trucks and impacting the community air quality.Councilmembers Erik Bottcher and Alexa Avilés sponsored the bill. 

For Environmental Committee's full report click here

 

Submitted by Nat Johnson, VID Chair Environmental Committee


Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act: Tuesday, February 13 State Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee voted to pass the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act. It is targeted to limit single-use plastic while seeking to remake waste management and recycling in New York by creating a more circular economy. The legislation would require a 50 percent reduction in plastic packaging waste in 12 years. Senate Bill S4246A is sponsored by State Senator Pete Harckham and Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick.  Check out this article in Inside Climate News for a closer look. MANHATTAN, BROOKLYN, BRONX AND QUEENS SOLID WASTE ADVISORY BOARDS' PUBLIC HEARING AS PART OF THE NEW YORK STATE 2023 EXECUTIVE BUDGET.FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES (EASILY) CLICK HERE.

New York Bottle Bill: This bill died last session but the good news, it's been reintroduced by State Senator Rachel May, Senate Bill S237B. The legislation would add wine, liquor, distilled spirit coolers, and cider and wine products to the definition of "beverage"; the handling fee will be six cents for each beverage container accepted by a deposit initiator from a dealer or operator of a redemption center, and that the deposit and redemption amount will be ten cents. SB237B is currently with the NY Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. In addition, The Assembly Environmental Conservation bill S06869 requires the comptroller to retain, from revenues collected from unclaimed bottles, 2% of the total revenues collected in the prior calendar year for use towards expanding and creating bottle redemption centers under the beverage. This bill is currently with the Senate Finance Committee. 

Ban CO2 Fracking Bill: Good news! According to Food & Water Watch, Assemblymember Deborah Glick has fast-tracked the Ban CO2 Fracking Bill A8866/S8357 through the assembly’s Environment Committee. Next stop: the Assembly floor for a full vote. For more information, see  Food & Water Watch NYS Legislators Introduce New Bill to Ban CO2 Fracking & Drilling for Gas.


VID JANUARY 2024 ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE REPORT

Some successes from last year include:

Governor Hochul signed into law Birds and Bees Protection Act (S1856A) that bans certain uses of neonicotinoids, a nerve agent and insecticide used to coat seeds, which has devastated bee colonies and poses a danger to human health.

Stopped radioactive water from being dumped int the Hudson River

“The state’s ‘Bottle Bill’ while it has been a success, it needs an update,” said Gov. Hochul and needs to include the Bigger Better Bottle Bill (S.237B and A.6353) in her 2024 Executive Budget.

Council Member Erik Bottcher “A priority of mine in this year’s budget is ensuring that sanitation funding is maintained, and not reduced. Cutting corner basket service at this critical juncture in New York City’s recovery would be a mistake. VID is crafting a letter on the subject to send to Mayor Adams.

Home Energy Affordable Transition Act (H.E.A.T. ACT). Elements are in Governor's Hochul's forthcoming budget proposal for the 2024 state budget. The legislation would align utility regulation with state climate justice and emission reduction targets and repeals provisions of the public service law relating to gas service and sale.  NY HEAT ACT legislation would cap utility bills. Related article:  https://www.whec.com/top-news/ny-heat-act-legislation-would-cap-utility-bills-for-new-yorkers/

However, A new report, prepared on behalf of Public Power NY, cautions that New York might not meet its 2030 climate goals at the current rate. The Public Power NY Coalition is a collection of organizations across New York focused on the shared goal of clean, renewable, affordable, accessible. "An Estimation of the Renewable Energy Needed to Meet New York's Clean Energy Mandates" report HERE.

Last year, the VID environmental committee mentioned that a newly formed Texan company is attempting to evade New York's fracking ban with a scheme to drill thousands of wells, frack with carbon dioxide (CO2), and construct a dozen gas-burning power plants. Recently, there was a rally to Ban Fracking with Carbon Dioxide outside Governor Hochul’s office. Featured speakers were Zephyr Teachout and Dr. Sandra Steingraber.
Submitted by Nat Johnson, VID Chair Environmental Committee

VID Animal Welfare Committee

The Animal Welfare Committee monitors and/or initiates legislation that impacts or will impact the welfare of animals in NYC, NYS and even the country.
Currently, the committee is pushing for the Tethering of Dogs bill which is in the NY State Legislature to be passed this year.  The current sponsors are Linda Rosenthal in the Assembly and Jibari Brisport in the Senate.  The bill numbers are A54/S6315.  Once the bill is out of committee, members can contact their electeds to vote for the bill.
Submitted by Linda Jacobson, VID Chair Animal Welfare Committee

VID LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

The Legislative Affairs Committee leads VID’s policy on state and local legislation, especially with respect to subject matter areas not covered by other committees.  The committee advocates for priority legislation each year, and drafts bills where necessary.

Among the committee's main tasks is crafting regular legislative priorities statements, to be voted on by the VID membership.  The most recent such statement is here.  Among these priorities, the committee has decided to focus efforts on supporting:

Submitted by David Siffert, Chair VID Legislative Affairs Commmittee