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Politics

Senate Passes Gianaris’ Bill Improving Environmental Enforcement

ALBANY – New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris announced on April 27 that the State Senate passed his legislation (S.1237) that would give the state additional tools to protect the environment, demanding polluters and others not just pay fines and fees but also put a stop to their destructive practices.

“I am proud the Senate continues to lead the fight against the climate crisis. We already enacted our nation-leading effort to move away from fossil fuels and towards a clean future by enacting the CLCPA, but much remains to be done to protect our planet,” said Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris. “The bills we are passing today will continue our progress and help fulfill our obligations to future generations.”

Holding polluters and those that damage the environment accountable is crucial for the state, and taking additional actions to prevent violations of the Environmental Conservation Law is critical,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “The New York League of Conservation Voters thanks Senator Gianaris for sponsoring this bill.”

Senator Gianaris’ bill would close a loophole in the Environmental Conservation Law by allowing the state to prevent environmental malfeasance by seeking more aggressive enforcement and injunctive relief.

For example, state law governing Coastal Erosion Hazard Areas acknowledges the need to regulate development and construction in those areas to prevent erosion. But, because the law does not state a specific remedy for violations, the DEC Commissioner can only levy a fine where, in some circumstances, revoking permits or requiring the violator to change or demolish a structure may make more sense.

Senator Gianaris has been an environmental champion throughout his public service. With Senator Gianaris serving as Deputy Majority Leader, the Senate enacted the CLCPA, a historic law to combat the climate crisis. The CLCPA mandates aggressive reductions in statewide greenhouse gas emissions, improves resiliency efforts, ensures local job creation through energy transition, and promotes environmental justice by controlling the regressive impacts of climate change. He has been recognized for his efforts with perfect scores from Environmental Advocates Action and the League of Conservation Voters.

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