Federal Environmental Issues From a NYS Perspective
Climate Cap and Trade Bill
The Transportation Bill
- The status of RGGI is an issue for NYS. One could structure a federal carbon program that would allow states to set tougher stationary source standards. A tougher state cap would affect the national cap commensurately so as to prevent leakage.
Clean Water Restoration Act
- Would include funding for mass transit, i.e., MTA capital projects.
- Changes to the allocation formulae in the transportation bill to reward states that decrease VMT per capita relative to other states where VMT is an important variable in energy consumption (CO2), vehicular emissions and land use.
- Additional incentives for states to use congestion pricing as a primary tool to address congestion, a primary cause of waste energy and air pollution in major metropolitan areas.
- The highway/transportation trust fund needs additional sources of revenues. Potential sources: VMT fees, gasoline tax increase et al. Funding is the toughest political issue. We should get behind some fee/tax proposal at the federal level that will not only generate federal revenues but make it easier for states such as NY to follow suit in terms of state transportation fees/taxes.
Upgrading Wastewater Infrastructure
- A federal bill designed to overturn the US Supreme Court SWANCC and Rapano decisions and re-establish federal CWA jurisdiction over freshwater wetlands that are not immediately tributary to navigable surface waters.
Protecting Long Island Sound
- Increased appropriations to the CWSRF.
- Establishment of a long-term, dedicated funding source for wastewater infrastructure upgrades.
- Inclusion of wastewater infrastructure funding in any further economic recovery legislation.
Restoring the Great Lakes
- Reauthorize the Long Island Sound Restoration Act.
- Increase Funding for Long Island Sound Stewardship and Restoration Acts.
Land and Water Conservation Fund (Stateside)
- An additional $475 million investment in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
- Reauthorization of the Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO), with strengthening provisions to ensure greater NGO participation in agenda setting, accountability and transparency.
- Legislative measures and regulations to address the spread of aquatic invasive species through ballast water discharges, including continued funding for the operation of the Asian carp barrier in Illinois.
- Created by Congress in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) provides 50% matching grants to state and local governments to acquire, develop or improve parklands. This fund helps to provide increased recreational opportunities, protect and preserve wildlife habitat, drinking water, and historic sites. In 2010, Audubon New York, working closely with the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, urges the Congressional Delegation to support increased appropriations for the Stateside LWCF, and to support legislation to dedicate the full $900 million toward the LWCF program. Forest Legacy
Highlands Conservation Act
- The federal Forest Legacy Program (FL) was created to aid states in protecting environmentally sensitive forest lands, by purchasing property or conservation easements from interested private landowners. In 2010, we urge the Congressional Delegation to support increased funding for Forest Legacy, and specifically to support the DEC's project application for Follensby Pond. Follensby Pond has been the top priority for acquisition for many organizations active in the Adirondack Park and the New York portion of the Northern Forest, and this important site supports a great diversity of forest nesting bird species, including many threatened and declining species.
- The overall purpose of the Highland Conservation Act is to foster state and federal partnerships to protect priority conservation lands in the Highlands Region, which encompasses NY, NJ, CT and PA. The bill authorizes $10 million annually over ten years for such land conservation partnership projects, which would cover up to 50% of the cost of purchasing lands or development rights from willing sellers only. In 2010, we urge the Congressional Delegation to support full funding of this act.
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