Assemblyman William Colton And Others Work To Pass Environmental Bill Package

Bensonhurst recycle
Source: Aude via Wikimedia Commons

A package of bills aimed at the environmental betterment of New York were passed by the State Assembly and have advanced to the State Senate.

The “Earth Day” package contains nine bills aimed at securing the health of New York’s environment, including protecting clean drinking water, protection from toxic chemicals, reducing invasive species, innovative recycling techniques and other forms of environmental justice.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney announced the passage of the Earth Day package.

“Keeping our air and water clean, creating as little landfill waste as possible, protecting all New Yorkers from harmful chemicals, the Assembly Earth Day package is intended to protect our communities and the natural beauty of our state. The bills included in this package underscore the Assembly’s commitment to environmental conservation,” said Sweeney in a press release.

The package includes Bill A.1241, which is sponsored by Assemblyman William Colton.

The bill will improve recycling by diverting recyclables from landfills. It also states that systems for separating and disposing of recyclables will have to be implemented, such as separate plants for recyclable items. Further, cities would need to enforce new laws that prohibit the mixing recyclables with any other non-recyclable material as well as prohibit landfills from taking any recyclables.

“New York State has come a long way since 1985 in statewide recycling practices,” said Colton, as reported by the Legislative Gazette. “Twenty years of experience has allowed the Department of Environmental Conservation and Empire State Development to easily identify materials that are common to most programs in the state and that have had consistently viable markets.”

Other bills in the package require publicly owned sewage treatment plants to report any overflows of untreated or partially treated sewage; draw attention to harmful chemicals as well as lessen the number exposures to them; Require the DEC to publish a list of the most dangerous areas affected by existing environmental hazards; Require the DEC to establish a website with a list of harmful chemicals used in children’s products and ban them; Encourage the proper disposal of pharmaceutical drugs, and a host of other environmental concerns.