NY Admits Defeat as Emerald Ash Borer Continues to Spread

The emerald ash borer is a shiny green beetle about the size of a penny. The borer likely will ultimately bring about the end of the state’s 700 million ash trees. Photo via Be a Smart Ash

The Department of Environmental Conservation has repealed logging restrictions put into place to contain the spread of the emerald ash borer, admitting that the quarantine had failed. The invasive insect has now spread so far into the state that officials believe most of New York’s ash trees will be gone within the next decade.

The state is now recommending that forest landowners move forward with harvesting the remaining healthy ash trees now, as “infested ash degrades quickly, resulting in decreased economic value and greater risk of personal injury and property damage.”

Source: Times Union

City Council Pushes Green Roof Requirements

Councilmember Rafael Espinal introduces new legislation that would require green roofs for nearly all new construction in the city. Photo credit: BK Reader

Three City Council members have introduced a package of legislation to require nearly all newly constructed buildings to have energy-efficient roofing systems.

Members Rafael Espinal, Donovan Richards, and Steve Levin say the new laws would reduce the city’s carbon footprint and pollution levels by expanding the number of green roofs across the city.

New buildings would be required to cover all available rooftop spaces with a green roof, solar panels, small wind turbines, or a combination of all three, pushing New York City to join the global effort to cool down cities and reduce their carbon footprint.

Source: BK Reader

A Slippery Question: Can You Recycle Receipt Paper in NYC?

Receipt paper can be recycled with other paper goods — but should it be? Photo by Green Mom

This new, semi-regular Q&A column comes to NYER courtesy of the Park Slope Parents Green Group and was written by PSP member Ella Ryan. PSP is a community of 5,500+ families living across Brooklyn, New York. For more information and how to join, visit parkslopeparents.com.


Can you recycle those slippery paper receipts you now get from virtually every retailer? The short answer is YES! NYC accepts any paper for recycling – the rule of thumb is if you can rip it, recycle it in the green-labeled paper bin.

However, you may have heard sinister things about these seemingly innocent slips of paper. So here’s the longer answer.

Continue reading “A Slippery Question: Can You Recycle Receipt Paper in NYC?”

Want to Buy a New, Energy-Efficient Car? Your Utility Company Can Help With That.

Con Ed and National Grid have launched comparison tools to assist customers in purchasing electric vehicles. Photo by Noya Fields/Creative Commons

Looking to buy a new car? Curious about how an electric vehicle stacks up to its gasoline-guzzling forebearer, especially over the course of a lifetime?

Consolidated Edison and National Grid are here to help. The New York utility companies have both recently unveiled online marketplaces that help consumers compare and purchase electric vehicles.

The sites allows shoppers to make side-by-side comparisons of cars in a way that shows costs over the course of a lifecycle. The marketplaces provide the manufacturer’s suggested price, the value of rebates and tax breaks for electric vehicles, and estimated fuel costs.

The results can be surprising! As Greentech Media showed, in a comparison of a Lincoln Navigator and a Tesla Model X, the Tesla ends up being cheaper to own after factoring fuel costs, rebates and federal tax credits.

Intrigued? Do your own research with Con Ed or National Grid.

Source: Greentech Media

Waste Equity Bill Triumphs in New York City Council

The waste equity bill waste equity bill will cap the level of municipal garbage handled by certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Photo by Charley Lhasa/Creative Commons

On Wednesday, City Council voted 32-12 to reduce how much commercial waste can be handled by transfer stations in the South Bronx, southeastern Queens, and northern Brooklyn.

The bill, which has been in progress for several years, is sponsored primarily by Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Stephen Levin.

“The passage of Intro 157 is a momentous achievement in the fight for environmental justice and the reform of our City’s private waste management system,” said Reynoso. “Currently, low-income communities of color handle a staggeringly disproportionate amount of our City’s waste.  Residents are exposed to dangerous truck traffic, elevated air pollution, and hazardous environmental impacts— contributing to historical inequities in resource distribution along economic and racial lines.”

The bill now heads to de Blasio’s desk, and if signed, will go into effect by the fall of next year.

Source: Greenpoint Post

Denied: DEC Rejects Permit for Seneca Lake Gas Storage

Opponents of a proposal to store 88.2 million gallons of liquid propane in caverns on Seneca Lake, celebrated a major victory last week. Photo by stayadventurous.com

After a nearly-10-year battle by environmentalists, business owners, and community groups, the DEC has rejected a proposal to store propane in old salt caverns near Seneca Lake.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos denied the permit on the grounds the facility would have a significant adverse impact on community character in that Finger Lakes region. Seggos also reviewed resolutions adopted by local municipalities opposed to the project, and the area’s development of tourism, the wine industry and agriculture as economic drivers. There were also concerns about the integrity of caverns at the site.

Source: Innovation Trail

Make Your Garden Grow: Get Your Free Compost!

GrowNYC will provide free compost to New Yorkers at markets across the city.

Time to reap the rewards of your diligent composting efforts (you do compost, don’t you?)! GrowNYC is hosting compost giveback events in all boroughs this month. Bring your own container and take home all the compost you can use. First come, first served! Dates and locations after the jump. Continue reading “Make Your Garden Grow: Get Your Free Compost!”

Drug Take Back Act Becomes Law, Will Reduce Water Contamination

The new law establishes a unified statewide drug take-back program that will reduce water pollution and medication misuse. Photo by e-Magine Art/Creative Commons

Yesterday Governor Cuomo signed into law the “Drug Take Back Act,” regulation that establishes a statewide program to provide safe, free, and easy disposal of unused medications. Chain pharmacies will be required to provide drug disposal options, while other authorized collectors (e.g. independent pharmacies, local law enforcement) could also participate.

Providing convenient drug disposal will help to reduce the practice of flushing unwanted medications down drains and toilets, and eliminate one source of waterway contamination.

Previous surveys of pharmaceuticals in the Hudson River Estuary, conducted by Riverkeeper, Cornell University, and the EPA, found more than 50 different compounds, with greater numbers found at or near municipal wastewater treatment plant outfalls.

Wastewater treatment and septic systems are not designed to remove these contaminants, resulting in pharmaceutical pollution in waters across the state.

Source: Riverkeeper

Tracking New York City’s Coyote Population (Yes, There is a Coyote Population!)

The Gotham Coyote Project hopes to learn more about how coyotes navigate the city. Photo Credit: Gotham Coyote Project

You may not see them, but they’re there. More than 30 coyotes now call New York City home, and a new pilot project aims to find out just how these secretive creatures navigate a bustling metropolis relatively unseen. Continue reading “Tracking New York City’s Coyote Population (Yes, There is a Coyote Population!)”