Press Releases

Native Plants, Bees, Child Safety Win, Wildlife Awaits Action In 2023 Legislative Session

Assembly Still Has Time to Halt Killing Contests, Protect Wildlife Crossings 

ALBANY, N.Y. – The Adirondack Council is celebrating passage of three bills that would protect birds and bees from pesticides, protect native aquatic plants from invasive species, and protect the integrity of the NY Constitution’s “forever wild” clause.   

The Council is also urging the NYS Assembly to pass two bills already passed by the Senate, when the Assembly returns on June 20.  Those bills would ban contests that reward the killing of wildlife, and would require state transportation officials to provide better protections to wildlife at highway crossings.  Top priority sites would get federal funding to facilitate their construction. 

Before the Senate ended its session on June 9, both houses had approved bills to: 

  • Prohibit the use of noenicitinoid insecticides in corn, wheat and soy seeds, because they are harmful to pollinators such as bees and birds  
  • Allow the creation of Aquatic Invasive Species Control Districts to respond to infestations of non-native aquatic plants
  • Bring recently constructed sports facilities into compliance with the Constitutional protections for the Forest Preserve.   

These bills now await approval by Governor Hochul.  
“Lakes, bees and birds were the big winners so far,” said Raul J. Aguirre, Acting Executive Director of the Adirondack Council. “The Adirondack Council thanks Senator Pete Harckham and Assembly Member Deborah Glick, and the sponsors of these important bills. We urge Governor Hochul to sign these bills into law.  We also urge the Assembly to ban wildlife-killing contests and require transportation officials to provide safer highway crossings for wildlife when it returns next week.”  

Harckham, D-Peekskill, and Glick, D-Manhattan, chair the Legislature’s Environmental Conservation Committees.  

Aguirre expressed disappointment that the Senate had adjourned without nominations from the Governor to fill vacant seats and expired terms on the Adirondack Park Agency board. The APA is the state’s principal land-use regulator and planning agency in the park. 

ln addition to the numerous victories for Adirondack wildlife, the Adirondack Council is cheering first passage of an after-the-fact constitutional amendment that will authorize the work already completed at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg cross country ski center for the FISU World University Games.   

Aguirre said, “Senator Pete Harckham and Assemblyman Billy Jones deserve recognition for standing up for the integrity of Article XIV of our state’s constitution, declaring the lands of the state within the Adirondack Park as forever wild. While the facility upgrades are already complete, they know that passing this amendment is the right thing to do for the Adirondack region and the people of this state who are co-owners of these lands.”  

Birds and Bees Protection Act  

S.1856-A (Hoylman-Sigal) / A. 7640 (Glick) discontinues the use of a neonicotinoid insecticide on any corn, soybean or wheat seeds for planting, or application or treatment of outdoor ornamental plants and turf. This bill recognizes that “neonics” threaten the bees, birds, and other pollinators that are critical to New York State’s food security, agricultural economy, and environment.   

Scientific evidence from Cornell University confirms that neonics contribute to the decline of pollinator populations in New York State, which account for $439 million in ecosystem services to our apples, tomatoes, squash, and other agricultural commodities. Since the 1990s, neonics have been used to permeate plants to make their exterior poisonous to insects. 

This neurotoxic insecticide is widely used on and off farms, moves easily in rain and irrigation water, and persists in soils for years. The loss of pollinator species causes ecosystem-wide damage as fish, amphibians, and birds rely on pollinators for food. Human exposure to neonics through contaminated food and water have been linked to deformations of the human brain and heart.   

ATV Child Safety 

The Legislature as part of the budget, passed a new minimum age for operating an all-terrain vehicle, which would rise from 10 to 14, if signed by the Governor. 

Business Left Unfinished in 2023  

By the end of June 2023, four seats on the Adirondack Park Agency board will either be vacant or have members serving on expired terms. Following two recent court losses by the Adirondack Park Agency, Governor Hochul passed up an opportunity to appoint new and returning board members that could bring fresh and diverse backgrounds and expertise to the Agency.  

By June 2024, six seats on the Adirondack Park Agency board will either be vacant or have members serving on expired terms. Last year, Governor Hochul appointed Benita Law-Diao as the first person of color to serve on the Agency’s board. The Adirondack Council hopes that Governor Hochul will continue to build on this progress in the coming year, bringing additional expertise in conservation science and environmental law to the Agency. 

Established in 1975, the Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. It is the largest environmental organization whose sole focus is the Adirondacks.  

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. It envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, farms and working forests, and vibrant, diverse, welcoming, safe communities.  Adirondack Council advocates live in all 50 United States.

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