Tags Posts tagged with "Kirsten Gillibrand"

Kirsten Gillibrand

A view of the Long Island Sound. Public domain photo

U.S. Reps. Nick LaLota (R-NY-1) and Joe Courtney (D-CT-2), co-chairs of the Long Island Sound Caucus, introduced Sept. 13 the bipartisan Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Reauthorization Act of 2023, which would reauthorize the Long Island Sound programs to ensure the protection and preservation of the Sound.

This is the House companion to legislation introduced by U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Chris Murphy (D-CT).

“As the co-chair of the Long Island Sound Caucus, I am proud to introduce the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act,” LaLota said. “The Long Island Sound is not just a body of water — it’s a way of life for our community.”

The congressman added, “This legislation underscores the vital importance of preserving this natural treasure, not only for our environment but for the thriving fishing industry that sustains Long Island’s economy.”

In 1985, Congress created the Long Island Sound Study to identify and address the major environmental problems affecting the Sound. The LISS brings together the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New York State, Connecticut State, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to help restore and protect the Long Island Sound, including the watershed, which spans up toward New Hampshire and Vermont into Canada.

The new act would reauthorize the Long Island Sound programs from 2024 through 2028.

“The Long Island Sound is a unique ecological resource for eastern Connecticut and is home to a vast array of economic activities in our region,” Courtney said. “Last year our region secured an historic new investment for the Long Island Sound from the federal Infrastructure Law and the FY23 government spending package,” adding, “Reauthorizing the Long Island Sound programs ensures Congress can continue to invest in the preservation and protection of this special region.”

To read the full text of the legislation, visit lalota.house.gov.

by -
0 173
Photo by DanTD from Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced Friday, Sept. 15, $1 million in federal funding for Smithtown through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry grants program.

This project will implement tree inventory assessments focused on public outreach and education while protecting and improving the existing tree canopy through tree maintenance activities throughout the town.

Tree planting will take place after a public outreach and education campaign. The campaign aims to increase local awareness of the positive impacts of maintaining an urban tree canopy for quality of life, the natural ecosystem and the environment.

“I am proud to announce Long Island communities are among the first in the nation to tap the historic funding I secured in the Inflation Reduction Act to conserve and increase tree canopy, educate residents and improve storm and flood resilience with new tree plantings,” Schumer said. “I fought hard to plant this funding in the Inflation Reduction Act so that Long Island could have access to the funding needed to breathe new life into its communities.”

Gillibrand added to this sentiment, noting the environmental trends that have made this funding necessary for communities such as Smithtown.

“Expanding access to trees and green spaces on Long Island will give our communities a higher quality of life,” the U.S. senator said. “This money will help bring new life to the Island, where families can enjoy a greener, healthier environment.”

Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) weighed in on this injection of federal stimulus. He tied the money to ongoing townwide efforts to improve the existing canopy.

“We are incredibly grateful to Senator Schumer for his advocacy in securing this funding, which is a gamechanger to advance our urban forestry agenda, the result of which will allow us to improve the community’s quality of life, wildlife and ecological habitat,” he said. “This grant will undoubtedly serve as the catalyst to expanding cutting-edge initiatives like our tree inventory, STEM and community outreach programs and our street tree canopy, which Smithtown’s urban foresters and the Department of Environment and Waterways have worked tirelessly to broaden over the years.”

He added, “We look forward to expanding our local green space, which will deliver ecological benefits for generations to come.”

The senators noted that a neighborhood lacking trees can lead to various problems, from increased air pollution, urban heat islands and poor health outcomes, all on top of negative economic impacts like decreased property values.

Schumer and Gillibrand said the Inflation Reduction Act has finally created the robust funding needed to maximize access to urban forests in cities and towns across New York.

The Inflation Reduction Act included $1.5 billion over the next 10 years for the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program, more than five times the current level of funding.

Schumer and Gillibrand explained that Urban and community forests cool neighborhoods, improve psychological well-being, keep electricity costs down, positively impact property values and help residents avoid the severe health impacts associated with heat waves.

Rainbow over NSLS-II: Brookhaven National Laboratory’s National Synchrotron Light Source II is a state-of-the-art 3-GeV electron storage ring. Photo from BNL

Budget season brought good news for the Brookhaven National Laboratory, which may receive $291.5 million from the government to help sustain and improve two of its facilities as part of President Barack Obama’s budget request for the 2017 fiscal year.

The president requested $179.7 million of that money to go toward BNL’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider facility and the remainder to the National Synchrotron Light Source II facility. The proposed amount is $9.5 million more than what the lab received last year for the two facilities combined.

According to Brookhaven Lab spokesperson Peter Genzer, the money won’t only help the Lab’s RHIC and NSLS-II facilities run, but also help fund new experimental stations at NSLS-II. The president’s financial inquiry also includes $1.8 million for the Core Facility Revitalization project.

The project will provide the infrastructure and facilities to store data to support the lab’s growing needs, the press release said.

U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have worked to maintain America’s science presence — and securing more federal funds for the lab helps maintain it. Schumer said he was pleased with the president’s request to increase funding for the lab, saying that an increase in funding will help keep BNL and our nation at the forefront of innovation and boost Long Island’s economy.

“We appreciate the President’s continued support for science and, in particular, Brookhaven Lab’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and National Synchrotron Light Source II,” BNL Director Doon Gibbs said. “ We are also extremely grateful for the ongoing efforts of Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand — and the entire N.Y. Congressional delegation — on behalf of the Lab and its research mission.”

According to RHIC’s website, scientists study earth in its infancy and other areas that will help people better understand how the world works. The approximate 16-year-old ion collider is also the first machine in the world that can support colliding heavy ions.

The NSLS-II allows scientists to examine high-energy light waves in a variety of spectrums, including x-ray, ultraviolet and infrared. The RHIC and NSLS-II are BNL’s two largest facilities Genzer said.

He added that the “president’s budget request is the first step in the budget process for the fiscal year 2017.” The process begins on Oct. 1. In the best-case scenario, the government will agree on and vote to approve the final budget before the end of the end of September.

The senators will continue their fight to get increased funding for BNL as the lab “is a major economic engine for Long Island,” Gillibrand said.

Gillibrand said she was also pleased with the administration’s request for increased funds. Construction of NSLS-II began in 2009 and cost around $912 million. BNL expected construction to end last year.

Other members of BNL were unavailable for comment prior to publication.

A local effort to ban a popular ingredient in beauty products has support on the federal level.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman visited Long Island recently to announce the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, a bipartisan federal bill that would ban cosmetics containing plastic pellets called microbeads, which are frequently smaller than 1 millimeter in diameter and are found in face washes, shampoos, beauty products and other soaps.

Because of their size, most wastewater treatment systems are unable to filter out the microbeads, so they are released into local waterways like the Long Island Sound. But microbeads accumulate toxins in the water, and fish and birds ingest them. Public health could be at risk if the fish are reeled in and eaten.

Schneiderman reported that about 19 tons of the small pellets pass through New York wastewater treatment plants each year.

Gillibrand’s bill has sponsors and co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle, most of them from the Midwest, according to a press release from the senator’s office. It is similar to a New York state-level bill of the same name, which is Schneiderman’s effort to prohibit the sale and distribution of products containing microbeads.

“These tiny pieces of plastic have already caused significant ecological damage to New York’s waterways,” Gillibrand said, “and they will continue to do so until they are removed from the marketplace.”

The state bill passed the Assembly in the last session but was not put up for a vote in the Senate, despite having more co-sponsors than the number of votes it would have needed to pass.

New York is not alone in pushing to ban microbeads — Illinois has already given them the axe, and other states are considering similar legislation.

Many local residents first heard about the issue when Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) led her colleagues to passing a law that required the county to study how a microbead ban would affect health and the economy.

She commended officials for their anti-microbead effort on the national stage.

“The threat posed by microbead waste is of national consequence,” Hahn said in the press release. “The cumbersome task of tackling this issue [from] municipality to municipality and state to state will never prove as effective as a federal approach.”

Adrienne Esposito, the executive director of the local Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said there are other effective alternatives to microbeads, such as apricot shells, salt and oatmeal.

“The public expects facial soaps and toothpaste to clean our face and teeth, not pollute our waters,” Esposito said. “Plastic microbeads pollute our waters, contaminate our fish and shellfish, and could end up back on our dinner plates. They are completely unnecessary.”