In honor of Earth Day, which was April 22, Assemblymember Karen McMahon (D-Amherst/Pendleton) announced that she helped pass a series of bills to protect Western New Yorks water supply and air quality, as well as limit our families exposure to toxic chemicals.
From my days as a Girl Scout, Ive known and appreciated the natural beauty all around us here in Western New York, McMahon said. Wed be doing future generations a grave disservice if we didnt fight to protect it. We must do all we can now to reduce the stress on our environment and conserve our vital natural resources. This legislation is a major step toward a more sustainable and healthier New York.
To protect New Yorks water supply, McMahon helped pass legislation to raise the water-saving standards of plumbing fixtures to align with guidelines set forth in the Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA) WaterSense program (A.2286). Other measures included in the package would amend the state constitution to include the right to clean air, clean water and a healthful environment, ban the use of chlorpyrifos a pesticide linked to adverse health effects and ensure that mercury-added lightbulbs do not contain excessive amounts of mercury (A.2064, A.2477-B, A.2501-A). To give parents peace of mind, McMahon also passed a bill to prohibit the use of dangerous chemicals in products made for children (A.6296-A).
Further, the Assembly passed a bill to allow the Department of Environmental Conservation to designate species as vulnerable, such as the giraffe, and provide additional protections for them (A.6600). This includes prohibiting the sale of articles made from vulnerable species, which is vitally important to protecting our precious wildlife, McMahon noted.
The Earth Day package builds on the Assemblys previous efforts to combat pollution and strengthen environmental protection, including a ban on offshore oil and gas drilling (Ch. 29 of 2019). McMahon was also a strident supporter of the statewide ban on single-use plastic bags (Ch. 58 of 2019) a measure passed as part of the 2019-20 state budget. The enacted state budget also includes $500 million in new funding for water quality and wastewater infrastructure projects and $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund.
McMahon, who is a member of the Adirondack Mountain Club and the Adirondack 46ers, is a longtime environmental advocate. She will be hosting a local I Love My Parks Community Hike and Cleanup on Saturday, May 4, at 11 a.m. at Walton Woods Park in Amherst. The day will consist of a 1.4-mile nature hike appropriate for all skill levels, followed by a park cleanup. Anyone interested in attending should meet up at the Audubon Parkway entrance of Walton Woods Park. For more information, contact McMahons office at 716-634-1895.