Press Room

The Environmental Proposals That Will Make the Biggest Impact on New York’s Birds and Other Wildlife

Audubon New York Applauds Governor Cuomo for Aggressive Conservation Agenda that Addresses Carbon Sequestration, Offshore Drilling, Offshore Wind, and Water Quality

Albany, NY (Jan 15, 2019) – The following statement is from Ana Paula Tavares, executive director of Audubon New York, a state program of the National Audubon Society:

“Governor Cuomo’s proposals include an aggressive agenda that will tackle some of the biggest environmental challenges facing our nation. We fully support a carbon neutral future, achieved through ambitious goals like using our working lands and forests to achieve greater carbon sequestration, investing $1.5 billion in responsibly sited offshore wind and other renewables that minimize impacts to birds and other wildlife, and banning offshore drilling for oil and gas.”

“We are thrilled to see Governor Cuomo recognizing the importance of natural climate solutions. Additional grants for forest management will improve forest resiliency and build on the success of Audubon’s bird-friendly forest management programs, and a ban on offshore drilling will help ensure habitats for coastal and marine birds are preserved. The vision for New York State’s forests, waterways, and beaches should focus on balancing human activities with the preservation of our unique ecosystems, a source of pride for all New Yorkers and a boon for our state’s economy.”

“Audubon New York looks forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to ensure these critical issues for birds and people are enacted into law.”

About Audubon New York
Audubon New York, a state program of the National Audubon Society, protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.ny.audubon.org.

CONTACT
Sharon Bruce, Communications Manager
518-869-9731 // sbruce@audubon.org

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Which Specific Environmental Proposals Will Make the Biggest Impact on New York Birds and Wildlife?

Continued investment in the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). This fund protects clean water, open space, working lands, forests, parks, and waterfronts, helping birds and people thrive. The $300 million proposed for the EPF includes $15 million for the Zoos, Botanic Gardens, and Aquaria program and $500,000 for Regenerate NY, which would assist forest landowners in addressing the extreme difficulty achieving forest regeneration, partly caused by heavy deer forage pressure and competing vegetation.

Combat climate change and support climate-threatened species by requiring New York’s electricity be 100% carbon-neutral by 2040, and setting us on the path toward eliminating carbon emissions from all sources. Audubon New York fully supports a renewable energy future, and projects which are sited with minimal impact to birds and other wildlife.

Accelerate the development of offshore wind and provide greater incentives for renewable energy. Wind power is an important component of New York’s renewables portfolio, and Audubon strongly supports the investment of $1.5 billion in offshore wind and other renewables. Achieving 9,000 MW by 2035 is an ambitious goal, and we look forward to continuing to work with New York State to make sure that new wind projects are responsibly sited.

Banning offshore drilling for oil and gas. Habitats for coastal and marine birds and other wildlife are already threatened by a multitude of issues, including a changing climate, plastic pollution, pressure from human development, and rising sea levels. Another threat does not need to be added to the mix. Audubon has witnessed firsthand the long-term impacts of other oil spills, like the Deepwater Horizon disaster: An equivalent disaster in the Atlantic Ocean would coat beaches and estuaries throughout the North Atlantic Planning Area, with a particularly devastating effect on New York State’s 117.5 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline. The vision for New York State should focus on balancing human activities with the preservation of our unique marine and coastal ecosystems.

Reduce our reliance on single-use plastics. Plastics have become an abundant pollutant in our oceans and pose a major threat to marine and coastal wildlife. On average, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic enter oceans around the world each year due to littering, illegal dumping, and poor waste management on land and at sea. New York should do its part to address this threat. This proposal would ban the use of plastic bags in New York State – an important first step in reducing our consumption of single-use plastics.

Expand and strengthen the Bottle Bill. This proposal would place a five cent deposit on non-carbonated beverages. Non-carbonated beverage containers litter our beaches, parks, Audubon Important Bird Areas, and other important habitats throughout New York, and are contributing to the proliferation of microplastics, which have direct impacts on our coastal and marine birds. The Bottle Bill must be expanded to promote increased recycling of these products and decrease waste and the threats posed to our environment. 

Green Futures Fund. Adequate funding is essential to achieving our shared goal of protecting New York’s environment and natural resources. The Green Futures Funds proposals will provide critical funding for clean water, renewable energy, climate resiliency, and our parks.

Address issues of water quantity and quality for birds, people and other wildlife by investing $2.5 billion in clean water infrastructure and water quality protection. We all share a need for clean water. An additional $2.5 billion dollars – with $500,000 to be dispersed this year - is a substantial and needed investment that will allow New York to continue to upgrade and improve municipal drinking water and wastewater systems and protect source waters.