(The Center Square) – While the New York state Assembly will officially honor Earth Day on Thursday, lawmakers on Tuesday passed a slate of bills covering environmental issues.
“The legislation passed in today’s Earth Day package builds on the standards we set in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act to ensure a safe and healthy environment for generations to come,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx.
One bill, sponsored by Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright, D-East Setauket, calls for the reduction of greenhouse gases by establishing a goal for all in-state sales of passenger cars, trucks and off-road equipment be zero-emissions by 2035, with the zero-emissions goal for medium and heavy duty truck sales set for 2045.
Another bill calls for the Public Service Commission to create a billing system that will help establish more commercial charging stations for electric vehicles. That bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Cusick, D-Staten Island.
Democrats say those two bills will help the state meet emission-reduction goals that were established two years ago through the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Next month, the Assembly will hold a hearing on how that law is being implemented.
A bill by Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, D-Manhattan, called for the state to no longer use wastewater created by fracking on state highways. While the state has banned the practice of fracking in energy development, road crews have used the water from out-of-state fracking projects to desalt roads or dampen dust.
“We put the health and safety of New Yorkers at risk when we allow fracking byproducts, including radioactive contaminants, to make their way from our streets into aquifers,” O’Donnell said.
Another bill by Englebright would keep hotels from distributing personal care products in single-sized plastic containers. The bill defines such bottles as containers that hold 12 ounces or less and aren’t designed to be reused. Roughly 40 percent of the 348 million tons of plastic created annually are small, single-use containers.
Hotels with more than 50 rooms would have to stop distribution of those bottles by 2024, with smaller hotels starting a year later.
“Clean air, clean water and a healthful environment are necessary for our survival,” Englebright said. “The bills we passed today will reduce the proliferation of plastic, reduce harmful air pollution from our communities and protect our water from pollution.”