Last week, Governor Hochul passed half a dozen pieces of legislation covering drinking water supply safety, lead in school drinking water, plastic waste reduction, greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, pesticides in summer camps for kids, and road fracking wastes. Five of her points were correct and one about the use of fracking was wrong.
The governor approved the most important bill, which closes a long-standing federal loophole that prevents public water systems serving less than 10,000 residents from testing for emerging contaminants. This bill includes a list of emerging contaminants that have been detected in New York’s larger public water supplies. It also gives the New York Health Department a deadline to create the testing list. AllNew Yorkers will now know what’s in their drinking water sources. (You can find out the contaminants in NYS’ drinking water at https://www.nypirg.org/whatsinmywater/.)
In the SecondThe governor also approved legislation regarding lead exposure. Lead is a neurotoxin, which can be particularly harmful to infants, toddlers, or young children. Lead exposure can cause a host of health problems for children, as well as behavioral issues and intellectual impairments that can interfere with their ability to concentrate and learn in school. Many public schools in New York contain lead components in their plumbing systems. This means that children are exposed to lead in school water for drinking and food preparation. This legislation tightens lead testing requirements and standards in school drinking water.
A ThirdProtecting agricultural soil is the subject of a bill. According to climate scientists around the world, limiting global warming to below 3 degrees Celsius is necessary to keep global warming under control.O All sectors must drastically reduce F, greenhouse gas emissions. New York State must reduce pollution from agriculture in order to meet its climate goals. This legislation would allow the Department of Agriculture (the Department of Agriculture) to promote soil health practices. These practices will help store carbon and prevent flooding.
The FourthPlastic waste is addressed by banning hotels from offering small plastic bottles that include shampoos, conditioners, and other items. A recent report estimates that more than eight million tons of plastic waste end up in the oceans each year. This number is likely to rise dramatically if states and countries don’t act. An average American throws away 185 pounds worth of plastic each year. Hoteliers can help reduce plastic waste and combat the increasing tide of plastic usage.
The FifthThis article focuses on pesticide use at summer camps. Pesticides are intended to have a biological effect. Pesticides have toxic consequences not only for the animals and plants they are meant to control but also for humans.
Children and infants are especially sensitive to pesticides. This is due to several reasons. Infants and toddlers take more inhalation per minute, their livers and kidneys are not capable of eliminating pesticides as well. Children also spend more time on ground where pesticides have been applied.
This bill extends existing restrictions on pesticides in schools, day care centers, and summer camps. Many camps offer outdoor spaces that include manicured lawns and playgrounds. The bill significantly reduces pesticides used around children.
Unfortunately, the governor vetoed legislation to ban the use of some of the most harmful oil and gas materials on roads. The state currently allows the use of oil-and-gas liquid wastes as road icers by 33 cities, towns, or private entities. Any oil or gas-extracted waste can contain a variety of pollutants, including toxic chemicals, metals and carcinogens such as benzene.
This waste could be used on New York’s highways to threaten water quality. Run-off from rain and snowmelt could cause the hazardous constituents in this waste to end up in waterways or groundwater. This bill’s governors veto undermines her other thoughtful measures to protect drinking water supplies.
This issue will be brought back in the new legislative session unless and until the Hochul Administration takes action to ban the road use of fracking chemicals. Let’s hope that she does.
Blair Horner is the executive director of New York Public Interest Research Group.
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