Protect the Environment & Public Health

environment
Since its founding in 1976, NYPIRG has been a leading voice in New York State on a wide range of environmental and energy issues. The goal of NYPIRG’s environmental protection campaign is to make New York a global leader in protecting public health from the serious threats of water and air pollution, climate change, and toxic chemical exposure.
*Want to join the fight? Sign up for NYPIRG’s Community Action Network to get informed and get involved! It is through civic action that we can protect the public’s health and New York's natural environment.

Help Fight Climate Change

Climate change is the greatest environmental threat facing the planet. The accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing extreme weather events, harmful algal blooms, ocean acidification, and rising sea levels. If left unabated, this will have devastating impacts on New York’s economy, infrastructure, public health, coastal areas, and natural ecosystems. NYPIRG is fighting for comprehensive policies that will set New York up to lead the charge to combat climate change.
*Visit our climate change webpage to learn more about our work on this critical issue.
environment

Clean Drinking Water for All New Yorkers

The public has the basic right and expectation from government that the water coming from their taps is going to be safe for them to drink. Sadly, New York’s abundant water resources are threatened by aging and crumbling water infrastructure, chemical contamination from industrial sites, and fossil fuel development, transportation, and waste. NYPIRG is advocating for aggressive policies that would stop water contamination crises by protecting drinking water from source to tap.

Fully Funded Water Infrastructure

New York State has some of the oldest water infrastructure in the country, with many pipes over 100 years old. New York has gone decades without properly funding these systems, which has meant billions of gallons of untreated sewage entering our waterways and hundreds of water main breaks annually.
It has been estimated that over the next 20 years, $80 billion will need to be invested to make all of the needed repairs, replacements, and updates to New York’s wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. New York must commit to annual funding that will meet outstanding water infrastructure needs.

Regulate Dangerous Chemicals

There are over 80,000 unregulated chemicals on the market, many without any evidence to prove that they are safe for public health. When chemicals are unregulated, there is a greater chance that they can get into our water – which is exactly what has happened in Hoosick Falls, Petersburgh, Newburgh, and numerous communities on Long Island. New York cannot keep waiting for people to get sick from exposure to dangerous chemicals to take action – this is a vicious cycle that must be broken.
To prevent chemical contamination in water and exposure, New York should:
  • Establish drinking water standards, known as Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), for contaminants believed to be unsafe for public health and likely to show up in drinking water.
  • Protect land around source water.
  • Regulate or ban the use of dangerous chemicals in products.
*Check out our What’s in My Water? web tool to get information about your local drinking water supply.
environment

Cutting Back on Waste Production

New York has a trash problem, which is contributing to climate change and dirtying communities and waterways. The average New Yorker produces over 4.5 pounds of trash per day, and New York’s landfills accept approximately six million tons of waste per year statewide – and that does not include the waste that New York sends to incinerators and out of state. NYPIRG is working to ensure that New York moves forward with policies that prevent the production of waste and improve recycling initiatives.

Ban & Reduce Single-Use Plastics

New York must do everything in its power to reduce and eliminate plastic waste. Experts estimate that over eight million tons of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans each year, and that amount is likely to increase dramatically over the next decade unless states and nations act. The plastic that ends up in the ocean is not just unsightly and harmful to aquatic life – it ends up in the food chain, including shellfish, fish, and even sea salt.
Additionally, reliance on plastics is worsening the global climate crisis. Over 99% of plastics are sourced from fossil fuels. The most common source of plastic resin in the United States is natural gas. This means that the more plastic society uses, the longer the fossil fuel industry is kept running. While climate science is telling us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the natural gas industry is planning to expand production of polyethylene (a building block for plastic) by 75% in the next few years.
Thankfully, New York has taken some steps in the right direction by banning plastic bags and foamed polystyrene, but the work cannot stop there. To address the plastics crisis, New York should:
  • Ban rigid polystyrene containers and packaging.
  • Adopt “upon request” policies for plastic straws, utensils, and stirrers.
  • Require packaging producers to bear responsibility for recycling and disposal of post-consumer products.
  • Transition the market towards more reusable items.
  • Update and expand the state’s highly successful container deposit redemption program. Modernize the Bottle Bill!
*Check out our New Yorkers Guide to Fight Plastic Pollution.
New York kicks off its new voluntary system of public financing of elections  (WAMC, November 21, 2022)
Advocates Call For Bottle Bill Modernization  (WNY News, November 22, 2022)
Environmental advocates call on Gov. Hochul to modernize the Bottle Bill  (Erie News Now, November 22, 2022)
Advocates call for update to New York's "bottle bill"  (CBS 6 Albany, November 21, 2022)
Why advocates want to expand New York's bottle deposit law  (Spectrum News, November 21, 2022)
NY's ranking in hospital safety grades improves, but far from best in U.S.  (Poughkeepsie Journal, November 21, 2022)
Hochul faces many issues in first full term  (Oneonta Daily Star, November 21, 2022)
CNY advocates push for statewide climate initiatives  (WRVO, November 20, 2022)
Purple Districts, Motivated Voters and Polarizing Issues — Experts Unpack Hudson Valley Election Results  (The Legislative Gazette, November 18, 2022)
Climate organizations raise awareness on campaign addressing climate change  (The Daily Orange, November 17, 2022)
Coalición exige tiempos de espera de trenes y buses no mayores de seis minutos  (El Diario, November 17, 2022)
Gov. Hochul should empower consumers  (New York Daily News, November 16, 2022)
Advocates, lawmakers push for billions in funding to fight climate change  (Spectrum News, November 16, 2022)
Local Organizations Rally for NY Renews Climate Justice Package at Thompson Park  (Ithaca.com, November 16, 2022)
The 2022 election in New York  (WAMC, November 14, 2022)
Let’s do it again: New push for probe of Cuomo’s $5M COVID-19 book deal  (New York Post, November 14, 2022)
Groups urge state ethics watchdog to probe $5M Cuomo book approval, failed policies  (Spectrum News, November 14, 2022)
Where voter turnout dropped, rose in NY and its impact on the 2022 election results  (Spectrum News, November 14, 2022)
Kathy Hochul won election as NY governor. What happens next?  (Newsday, November 12, 2022)
GOP Rep.-elect Mike Lawler on how he defeated Sean Patrick Maloney  (Spectrum News, November 11, 2022)
News Archive
NYPIRG Applauds Passage of Environmental Bond Act, Urges Gov and Lawmakers to Act on Additional Measures
126 Groups Urge Governor & CAC to Support All-Electric Buildings Start in 2024
UPCOMING EVENTS! Securing Our Future: Saving Social Security from the Chopping Block
Watchdogs Ask New Members of Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government to Reset Expectations about NYS Ethics Oversight
Groups’ Recommendations Would Improve Enforcement, Transparency, and Training
Reform groups urge the new state ethics commission to get to work this month
NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and TransitCenter Release 17th Annual Pokey and Schleppie Awards on Bus Performance
Governor Approves Three Steps Toward Meeting Goals of Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act (CLCPA)
NYPIRG Applauds Move and Urges Governor to Sign Cryptocurrency Moratorium Act, and Include All-Electric Building Act and EV Car Charging Station Expansion Bill in 2023 Executive Budget
Policy Close Up: Climate Scorecard 2022
NYPIRG Submits 2022 Climate Action Council Draft Scoping Plan Comments
NYPIRG Releases “Albany Money Machine”
Albany Fundraising Fires up, Despite Pandemic
137 Fundraisers in Albany, or Virtual, or by Leadership During 2022
New “Normal” a Lot Like the Old One
Straphangers Campaign Hosts Bus Lane Painting Party — Celebrate Plans for 20 Miles of New Bus Lanes in 2022
State Court Rules DEC Can Deny Permit on Danskammer Fracked Gas Power Plant as It Undermines NYS's Climate Law
NEW! NYPIRG's updated Legislative Profiles offer New Yorkers a “one-stop” opportunity to conveniently examine publicly-available information on their state legislators.
Tale of the Tape: NYPIRG’S 2022 Legislative Review
Number of Bills that Passed Both Houses Increased
Governor's Use of Emergency "Messages of Necessity" Jumps
NYPIRG reacts to the environmental actions of the 2022 session. The State Legislature passed three major bills in the last days of session which place New York in the national forefront on energy efficient standards, expansion of geothermal renewable energy, union just transition, and hit the appropriate pause button on cryptocurrency mining.
VICTORY! News Release: NYPIRG Celebrates Passage of Right to Repair Bill by NYS Legislature
Release: Mayday Distress Signal for Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act Without Passage of All-Electric Buildings Act this Session
NYPIRG and over 50 other environmental and community organizations call on Governor Hochul and state legislative leaders to make the climate polluters pay. NYPIRG also joined state Senator Krueger and Assemblymember Dinowitz calling for the oil, gas, and coal industries to be held financially liable for the costs of global warming
*UPDATE: NYPIRG will be working with Donald Ross’ family and friends to organize an event celebrating his life. We are planning on the event occurring sometime in the early fall.
NYPIRG, Statewide Groups and Legislators Hold 40th Birthday Party for the “Bottle Bill” Advocates Call on State Legislature to Pass Bill This Session to Expand and Modernize NY’s Most Successful Recycling and Extended Producer Responsibility Law
Reports & Features Archive