Hudson Communities Join Forces to Protect River, Drinking Water

Forming a council was among the top recommendations of a report commissioned by Riverkeeper and written by the Center for Watershed Protection. Photo by John Menard/Creative Commons

Seven communities representing 100,000 people who rely on the Hudson River as a source of drinking water have signed an agreement creating the Hudson River Drinking Water Intermunicipal Council.

Also known as the “Hudson 7,” the group will focus on the long-term protection of the Hudson River. The towns of Esopus, Lloyd, Hyde Park, the city and town of Poughkeepsie and the village and town of Rhinebeck signed a formal agreement last week.

This collaborative effort is expected to make the region more competitive for grants and other support associated with the state’s $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act.

Source: Mid-Hudson Valley Patch

Gowanus Rezoning Framework Released

The framework aims to foster a thriving, inclusive and more resilient Gowanus where existing and future residents and workers are able to participate in civic, cultural and economic activities. Photo by Dan DeLuca/Creative Commons

After 100+ hours of meetings and neighborhood events, the Department of City Planning has now released a framework for rezoning the Gowanus Canal neighborhood. While it is subject to change, the plan attempts to lay out the priorities of residents, the city administration, and elected officials representing Gowanus.

Some important parts of the framework include:

  • Buildings and infrastructure that will be prepared for rising sea levels and floods.
  • More open and green space along the Gowanus Canal.
  • Promoting walking and biking in the neighborhood; and promoting safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.
  • Preserving the existing NYCHA buildings in the neighborhood, and requiring that new residential development have an affordable housing component.

Source: Curbed

 

City Council Sucks on Straw Ban

At least 80 restaurants, hotels and other venues have signed on to the “Give a Sip” campaign by the city’s Wildlife Conservation Society, pledging to give up plastic straws. Photo via Creative Commons.

As reported a few weeks ago, the backlash against single-use plastic straws is gaining momentum, with New York City being the latest municipality to consider an outright ban.

A bill being introduced in the City Council today would outlaw plastic straws at bars, restaurants, and other service establishments — from small food carts to large stadiums and other businesses; plastic coffee stirrers would be also be forbidden.

Source: Daily News

New City Council Bill Would Mandate Lead Testing in Parks

A new City Council bill instructs the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to test lead levels in city-owned and operated parks, including water fountains and playground soil. Photo by Bri Schneiter

A new package of 23 bills introduced in City Council aims to protect children from lead poisoning in a variety of ways, from deeper investigation after high blood levels are identified to increased testing at city facilities. The package has been described as “the largest overhaul of city laws on childhood lead exposure in 14 years.” Continue reading “New City Council Bill Would Mandate Lead Testing in Parks”

Some NYC Garbage Trucks to be Powered by Renewable Diesel

Some New York City garbage trucks will soon be powered by renewable diesel. Photo via DSNY

New York City has invested in some 900,000 gallons of renewable diesel — made mostly from animal fat and vegetable oil instead of petroleum. The fuel will power 1,000 diesel vehicles for the next six months, including some garbage trucks. Continue reading “Some NYC Garbage Trucks to be Powered by Renewable Diesel”

Cuomo Announces Plastic Bag Ban for Entire State

Gov. Cuomo plans to ban single-use plastic bags statewide starting next year. Photo by Michael Kowalczyk/Creative Commons

Governor Cuomo introduced a bill today that would ban single-use plastic bags statewide, starting next year.

The bill exempts garment bags, trash bags and bags used to wrap food such as fruit and sliced meats

Cuomo’s proposal comes three months after a state task force laid out a range of options to address plastic-bag pollution, including a statewide ban or a small per-bag fee on consumers.

Source: Democrat and Chronicle // Full text of memo

Senate Blocks Ballast Bill That Would Have Weakened Great Lakes Protection

Zebra mussels, introduced to the Great Lakes through ballast discharge, have upended the Great Lakes ecosystem—fueling rampant and sometimes toxic algae growth, collapsing the food chain and bringing native fisheries down with it. Photo by D. Jude, Univ. of Michigan/Creative Commons.

A proposal to weaken protections against aquatic invaders in the Great Lakes has failed in the Senate as most Great Lakes senators stood firm against allowing the bill to even be considered. Continue reading “Senate Blocks Ballast Bill That Would Have Weakened Great Lakes Protection”