An Adirondack Update from Albany

By Aimee Privitera - Adirondack Council Legislative Advocacy Assistant
Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Critical decisions are made at the New York State Capitol every year that can have positive or negative impacts for Adirondack waters, wildlife and communities. The 2023 legislative session is winding down and the Adirondack Council is working hard to lobby for policies that ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of your Adirondack Park. Using our knowledge of the political process, the best available science, and the needs of the largest Park in the Lower 48, we are the only Adirondack environmental advocacy group that keeps a full-time presence in the halls of the New York State Capitol. The Adirondack Council collaborates in diverse partnerships, working to build consensus, but stands ready to go alone when necessary. What follows is a summary of key decisions before New York policymakers in the final days of this legislative session. 

Adirondack Park Agency Appointments 

Following recent editorials by the Sun Community News and Albany Times Union, Governor Kathy Hochul has an opportunity to correct the trajectory of the Adirondack Park Agency by nominating new and returning members to the Agency’s board. As of June 30, four seats on the 11-member board will either be vacated or have expired terms. The Adirondack Council is advocating for nominations that bring much-needed expertise in conservation science, environmental law, and land use planning to better diversify the backgrounds and experiences that currently exist on the Agency’s board. We are urging the Senate to reject any slate of candidates that fail to meet these criteria. Progress has been made in recent years on this front, and we urge the Governor and Senate to continue to build on that momentum. 

Active Bills 

Aquatic Invasive Control Districts  

A5801 (Woerner) / S5836 (Stec) 

This bill enables town boards to further address and combat the growth of aquatic invertebrate species within a growth control district when such aquatic invertebrate species has been identified as invasive. Aquatic invasive species infestations are difficult and expensive to control once they have made their way into the water. When water quality is impaired, we see harmful consequences to fishing, boating, and shoreline real estate. The expansion of authority to town boards aids in the efforts to reduce the colonization of aquatic invasive species in New York waterways. This bill recently passed in the Assembly, and is poised to pass in the Senate before this session concludes. 

Adirondack Council and ANCA staff with the Lt. Governor, DEC commissioner, and several elected officialsATV Minimum Age  

A150 (Paulin) / S2702 (Harckham) 

This bill raises the minimum age of ATV use from 10 years old to 14 years old. Each year it is estimated over 100,000 people in the U.S. are injured on ATVs. Over twenty-five percent of injuries are children under the age of 16. Unfortunately, almost twenty-five percent of ATV related deaths also are children under the age of 16. The current state law allows for these dangerous patterns to continue unchanged. Increasing the age of permissible ATV use by minors would prevent further ATV injuries and deaths. The Council has long endorsed raising the age of permissible ATV use, with few exceptions. This legislation is on its “third reading” in both houses, meaning it has navigated all necessary hurdles to be passed by the legislature. We eagerly await its scheduled debate from sponsor Assemblymember Amy Paulin, and are optimistic about Senate passage, given that Senate sponsor Pete Harckham has passed this legislation before. 

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/albanyupdate2023/2.JPGBirds and Bees Protection Act 

A7640 (Glick) / S1856A (Hoylman-Sigal) 

The Birds and Bees Protection Act discontinues the use of a neonicotinoid insecticide (neonics) on any corn, soybean or wheat seeds for planting, or application or treatment of outdoor ornamental plants and turf. Scientific evidence from Cornell University confirms that neonics threaten the bees, birds, and other pollinators that are critical to New York's food security, agricultural economy, and environment. The loss of pollinator species causes ecosystem-wide damage as fish, amphibians, and birds rely on pollinators for food. Pollinators are important statewide, and to the vibrant agricultural community we have in the Adirondack region. This vital bill is a part of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus 2023 People's Policy Agenda. The Adirondack Council has been working with many groups, such as the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, to advance this legislation. The act was recently amended to address some concerns from legislators and now heads to the Senate floor for a vote. A previous version of the Birds and Bees Protection Act already passed the Assembly, and we are optimistic that a matching version of the Senate language will be approved this year. 

Lobbying for the birds and bees act

New York Wildlife Crossings Act  

A4243 (Carroll) / S4198 (Comrie) 

The New York Wildlife Crossing Act directs the New York Department of Transportation to identify sites along all highways, thruways, and parkways where wildlife crossings are most needed to increase public safety and improve habitat connectivity; and to create a priority list of wildlife crossing opportunity areas to allow New York access to federal grant money to build these crossings. This legislation will help protect Adirondack and New York motorists and wildlife. Motor vehicle collisions with wildlife are dangerous, and they occur far too frequently. Every year in New York, there are approximately 65,000 reported collisions with deer alone. Wildlife crossing infrastructure improves habitat connectivity and protects motorists by reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions by roughly 90%. They are also a cost-effective solution to address the issue of wildlife habitat fragmentation, a key driver of biodiversity loss. We have been working with The Nature Conservancy, Wildlands Network, and Protect the Adirondacks! to help pass this legislation through a series of meetings, including a lobby day. The bill has passed the Senate and now awaits advancement out of the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee as it navigates its way to the floor for a vote. 

Reps from numerous Adirondack groups are seen in Albany

Public Water Justice Act  

A5104 (Gonzales-Rojas) / S238A (May)

This legislation recognizes the public's interest in protecting New York's freshwater resources and establish fees for the bottling and sale of the state's water by commercial entities. The Public Water Justice Act will end the unregulated extraction and profiteering from water that belongs to all New Yorkers and will forbid the bottling of New York water for commercial sale without a license. To receive a license, companies will have to establish that they will not damage local water supplies and pay a 25-cent royalty on each gallon of water they take from the state. The royalties collected will be used to establish a fund that will provide grants to projects that invest in water affordability, access to clean water, protecting public health, and improving home access to public water supplies. The state must strengthen protections for our abundant freshwaters and secure the funds to manage it for the public good. This bill is also on the Caucus’ People’s Policy Agenda and is referred to the Environmental Conservation Committees in both houses. 

A large group of people support Senator Pete Harkham in Albany

Wildlife Killing Contests 

A2917 (Glick) / S4099 (Kennedy) 

The Wildlife Killing Contest billprohibits any competitive event (with exceptions for deer, bear, and turkey) in New York State with the objective of taking or hunting wildlife for prizes, awards, or entertainment. Participants of wildlife killing contests compete for prizes for killing the most, heaviest, or largest animals within a specific time period. Contests relating to the taking of the largest or greatest numbers of coyotes are particularly concerning, with the recent affirmation that a gray wolf was mistakenly killed in Cooperstown, NY during a 2021 coyote hunt. The gray wolf is a valuable, endangered predator that can help maintain populations of other wildlife species, providing much needed balance to ecosystems struggling with the impacts of climate change. There is no place for wildlife killing contests in our Park and New York State. The Council is working with the Humane Society of the United States, the ReWilding Institute, hunters, farmers, and other crucial voices to help guide this legislation through both houses.  The Adirondack Council's Aimee Privitera meets with Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

We are grateful for the trust placed in us by our donors, members, colleagues, and the public. The Adirondack Council is committed to protecting the natural environment of the Adirondack Park to preserve wild habitat in harmony with human communities for generations to come. As you can see from this summary, there is great reason to be hopeful that this legislative session will bring about important changes for the Adirondack Park. This progress would not be possible without our advocates, that have sent thousands of letters, attended lobby days, and supported Adirondack Council lobbying efforts in many other ways. Please stay engaged and continue your advocacy... it makes a lasting difference! 

Looking for more ways to get involved with the Council?

Take Action!     Connect With Us!     Support Our Work! 

« Back to Blog

19-20 Accomplishments

22-23 Accomplishments

Achieved with partners, grassroots advocacy,
and YOUR support! 

Sustain Your Support

Become a Monthly Giver

Sustain our daily advocacy work
for the Adirondacks!

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/module---homepage/RM_7.30.20.jpg

Sign up for Email Updates

Receive the latest news, blog posts, event
invites, and action alerts in your inbox!

Your donation goes directly to help fund initiatives within the Adirondack Park.   DONATE NOW