ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo took action Wednesday to ban a pesticide that poses significant risks to children’s brain development, but time is running out for him to sign a number of environmental bills that have cleared the State Legislature.
The United States banned most home uses of chlorpyrifos in 2001, but it still is commonly used in agriculture. Saying it’s necessary to protect crops, last year the Trump administration announced it would not ban the pesticide.
Kate Kurera, deputy director of Environmental Advocates of New York, calls the governor’s move directing the Department of Environmental Conservation to ban chlorpyrifos in New York state an important step forward.
“It’s very significant that New York has decided to take the step to ban it, and we look forward to the agency fulfilling the promise of the ban through a regulatory process,” she states.
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But Kurera notes that about a dozen environmental bills passed by the State Legislature could expire if the governor doesn’t sign them by the end of this year.
Among the bills still awaiting the governor’s signature is an environmental justice bill that Kurera says is key to final enactment of the state’s landmark Climate and Community Protection Act, mandating 100% renewable energy for New York by 2050.
“It’s kind of a technical nuance that a lot of people don’t know about, but it basically says this climate law comes on to effect at the passage of this EJ (environmental justice) bill.”
Kurera says other unsigned bills include one to reduce mercury in light bulbs and a Child Safe Products Act to regulate the use of toxic chemicals in children’s products.
“The Legislature did the work this session to pass a phenomenal suite of environmental bills but they need to be signed,” she states. “Otherwise, they kind of disappear.”
If left unsigned, the bills will expire at the end of the year, leaving it up to the state Assembly and Senate to pass them again in the next legislative session.