Hochul seeks support for two environmental bills while considering vetoes



Last-minute negotiations have intensified as Gov. Kathy Hochul considers major changes or vetoes to two environmental bills that were widely supported by Democratic lawmakers this session.

Lawmakers and advocates this week will defend or push back on a proposal to reduce New York state’s impact on global deforestation and ban seeds pretreated with pesticides that kill bees and other pollinators. I hurried.

The bill, along with many others, reached Hochul’s desk on Tuesday, and the governor had until Saturday to make a decision. If no action is taken by then, this law will disappear.

But lawmakers who supported both bills say the fight won’t be over if their proposals are vetoed.

Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the deforestation bill, said, “We are currently in deep negotiations with the governor’s staff…As we continue to negotiate, I remain cautiously optimistic. ” “Obviously, the clock is ticking.”

Hochul would ban the state from contracting with companies that use tropical hardwoods, which contribute to deforestation, and would allow products such as soybeans, beef, palm oil, coffee, cocoa and paper to come from forests. We took time to evaluate the measures we took to avoid this. Areas or forests at risk.

The governor introduced a counterproposal to the bill this week amid pushback from the State Business Council and operational concerns from the state Department of General Services, but Krueger said their concerns are rooted in misunderstandings. .

“I think they think some of the requirements in the bill are actually more difficult than the government’s perspective,” Krueger said Friday. “This doesn’t punish companies that don’t do what we ask. It just means that we as a nation won’t do business with them.”

The senator said the ongoing negotiations have been productive, but did not provide details on the proposed changes, adding that he was open to clarifying the language but not watering down the bill. Ta.

“The fact that they’re engaged in serious negotiations means she doesn’t want to veto this bill,” she said. “And I’d like you to sign it.”

Krueger said other large companies also support tropical deforestation-free sourcing laws, which would impose similar policies around the world and lead to New York’s efforts in the United Nations fight to protect rainforests. He pointed out that it would be advantageous for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Meanwhile, New York Farm Bureau leaders urged Hochul to veto the Bird and Honey Bee Protection Act, which would ban the sale of corn, wheat, soybean and other seeds pretreated with neonicotinoid pesticides. They are vying to schedule a phone conversation this week.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has banned this popular pesticide, often referred to as “neonics,” after the federal agency’s recent assessment showed the powerful chemical was driving 200 endangered species to extinction. continues to be reviewed.

But New York farmers have staunchly opposed the ban since it was first introduced, saying it would hurt the state’s small farms. Jeff Williams, director of public policy at the New York Farm Bureau, said the state Legislature should not intervene in regulating public health threats handled by the federal government.

“Farms can’t afford to follow the whims of Congress every year regarding specific pesticide products,” Williams said, adding that neonics were developed to minimize overall pesticide use.

“While environmental groups want to raise money to ban pesticides, the agricultural industry is unable to keep up with new pesticides year after year, and farmers must fight to repeal this bill.” he added.

State Departments of Environmental Protection regulate pesticides in conjunction with regulations from the EPA, one of two U.S. states with additional oversight of pesticides.

“DEC is the agency that has the experts, the scientists, the regulatory form and the legal authority to register the required pesticides in the state after EPA does the same,” Williams said.

The sponsor, Sen. Brad Hoylman Sigal, is waiting to hear from Hochul’s office about the bill because time has run out.

The governor has not proposed any chapter amendments to the bill so far, but senators said Friday they were open to negotiations.

“This bill is very important,” he said. “We know that neonicotinoids are dangerous to the environment. We know that neonicotinoids affect human health. They’re just as dangerous as spraying seeds with nerve agents. It can be filtered into groundwater, transported by pollinators,” and ultimately ingested by humans. ”

Canada and the European Union have adopted policies to curb the use of neonics.

Given the current political climate in Washington, Hoylman-Segal argues that New York cannot wait for the federal government to take action.

Senators are holding their cards close to their vests to improve their chances of reaching a compromise and getting the bill signed.

Although Democrats hold a veto-proof supermajority in Congress, officials in Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ office say it is unlikely she will return to Albany before the end of the year. There is.

“I am confident that another veto consideration would send this bill back to both chambers for repassing and we would be back to square one,” Hoylman-Segal said.

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