THE ADIRONDACK COUNCIL, ADIRONDACK MOUNTAIN CLUB, AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION IN NEW YORK, AUDUBON NEW YORK, CITIZENS CAMPAIGN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, EMPIRE STATE FUTURE, ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATES OF NEW YORK, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL, NEW YORK LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS, NEW YORK PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP, PACE ENERGY & CLIMATE CENTER, SIERRA CLUB – ATLANTIC CHAPTER, THE NATURE CONSERVANCY, TRI-STATE TRANSPORTATION CAMPAIGN

*Press Release*

For Immediate Release: January 13, 2011

For More Information:
Erica Ringewald, Environmental Advocates of New York, 518.210.9903 cell
Nadine Lemmon, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, 917.767.7698 cell

Green Groups Send To-Do List To Governor Cuomo, NYS Legislature

12 PROPOSALS INCLUDE: INVESTING IN SOLAR ENERGY, FIXING BROWNFIELD INCENTIVES & RESTORING ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION FUND

(ALBANY, NY)—Public policy, environmental, transportation and energy groups today released a green to-do list for Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Green Memos to the Governor & the State Legislature includes proposals designed to bolster economic development while addressing New York’s high profile environmental challenges, including hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, reducing energy use, and providing resources for the state’s environmental agencies.

“During the campaign Governor Cuomo unveiled his big picture vision for protecting New York’s environment. Our Green Memos fills in the blanks with the details and policy proposals that will help the Governor achieve his vision of a ‘cleaner, greener’ New York,” said David Gahl, Policy Director, Environmental Advocates of New York.

In his public statements and documents, Governor Cuomo has noted the link between thoughtful environmental policy and economic development. Green Memos describes how to construct those links. For instance, in the fight to reduce climate-altering pollution, creating policies that support the growth of legitimate renewable energy systems can generate new jobs, as documented in other states. Fixing the state’s incentives to clean up contaminated brownfields can help communities rebuild. But shortsighted decisions, such as ignoring inspections of hazardous waste generating facilities or cutting staff charged with responding to oil spills could result in long-term burdens for New York’s taxpayers.

“As these Green Memos demonstrate, smart environmental and transportation policy are inextricable. Governor Cuomo has a unique opportunity to advance Smart Growth principles in the state—principles that are crucial to our economic future. We look forward to seeing real progress out of the Governor and Legislature this year,” said Kate Slevin, Executive Director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

“Given the economic and political pressures facing our new Governor and Legislative leaders, it is crucial for environmental organizations to join forces and speak with a single, clear voice,” said Brian L. Houseal, executive director of the Adirondack Council. “Separately, we run the risk of being unfairly labeled as special interest groups. Together, we can advance a small number of initiatives we all care about, and work in unison to get the attention and cooperation of state lawmakers.”

“As New York State wrestles with numerous challenges there must be a renewed focus on protecting our environment and public health. Protecting our natural resources is not a luxury item that can be dispensed with in a difficult budget year but rather it’s a necessity to help drive and benefit our local and state economies. These memos highlight priority areas that need action by the Governor and Legislature,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

“Environmental health and public health go hand in hand,” said Scott T. Santarella, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in New York. “That’s why taking steps toward creating a greener economy and fully funding agencies charged with environmental enforcement is so critical. By taking responsible environmental actions today, we can have a positive and lasting impact on air quality and New Yorkers’ health for years to come.”

The Green Memos include proposals to protect New York from dangerous hydraulic fracturing for natural gas; prevent harmful water withdrawals; rebuild the state’s environmental agencies; restore the Environmental Protection Fund; reduce disposable bag use; create livable communities; strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative; invest in solar energy; reform the Public Service Commissioner; improve and finalize the State Climate Action Plan; clean up and redevelop contaminated brownfields; and require the disclosure of cleaning product ingredients.

“The Green Memos to Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature reflect the breadth and scope of New York’s environmental movement,” said Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group. “We hope state lawmakers will heed their advice for a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable New York.”

“Environmental investments should be part of the economic recovery plan for New York State,” said Darryl Banks, Deputy State Director for Conservation Strategies and External Affairs for The Nature Conservancy in New York. “As Governor Cuomo and the Legislature work to tackle significant issues as part of the budget and beyond, we hope that they recognize and utilize the economic benefits associated with sound environmental policies and sustainable investments as part of their plans.”

“As the Green Memos highlight, protecting and restoring the environment is a critical component of the state's economic recovery,” said Albert E. Caccese, Executive Director of Audubon New York. “We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to turn these proposals into successful policy that protects our water and natural resources, while at the same time putting people to work.”

Please refer to each memo for the list of endorsing organizations. The groups releasing Green Memos to the Governor & the State Legislature: Advice from New York State’s Environmental Organizations include the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, American Lung Association in New York, Audubon New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Empire State Future, Environmental Advocates of New York, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York League of Conservation Voters, New York Public Interest Research Group, Pace Energy & Climate Center, Sierra Club-Atlantic Chapter, The Nature Conservancy New York, and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

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