As part of Earth Day Advocacy Day on April 25, advocates met with 50 state legislators to support a package of environmental legislation. The package includes more than a dozen environmental bills legislators and lobbyists were hoping to get passed before the end of the session. The day was organized by 23 environmental organizations including WE ACT for Environmental Justice.
The list of environmental legislation they hope to pass fall into five categories: Addressing environmental health and justice, lead poisoning prevention, protecting water resources, land use and conservation/responsible solid waste management and energy efficiency and climate justice.
Chairman of the Committee on Environmental Conservation Pete Harckham, D-South Salem, was the first legislator to speak at the press conference. At the event, he spoke highly of Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation Deborah Glick, D-Greenwich Village. Senator Harckham mentioned a few of the bills he and Assemblymember Glick have worked on together, such as the Class C Stearns Bill (A.4601) and Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (S.4246/A.5322).
Following his brief remarks, Assemblymember Glick mentioned a few different bills she is working on as part of the environmental package, such as The Birds and the Bees Act (S.1856, A.3226) which prohibits use of certain pesticides or seeds with pesticides.
“We have to stop poisoning the Earth; We have to stop trashing the yard,” she said. “There’s no planet B — we have to live here and we have to pass this on to successive generations in a way that they can lead safe and healthy lives.”
Senator Lea Webb, D-Binghamton, was the next speaker at the event and discussed the legislation she is working on (S.4265) that would ensure safe personal care products and cosmetics. She also highlighted how lower income communities are disproportionately affected by chemical-filled products in the beauty industry as they are cheaper and more readily available than those without them.
“As people, we are connected to our planet in many, many ways and it’s important that we have policies and practices that reflect those understandings,” Webb said. “But more importantly, we must actively work every day to ensure that we have equitable access to the important resources that we all need from birth and having access to a clean, healthy, safe environment.”
The final legislator to speak was Assemblymember Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City. He took the time to thank his colleagues and the activists who showed up to the Capitol and those who have supported the package of Earth Day bills.
“My message today is simple. Instead of just worrying about cleaning up our environment, let’s stop polluting it in the first place,” he said.