2017 Environmental Candidate Forums

2017 saw a range of local elections across the state, including in New York City, Long Island, the Capital Region, and Western New York. In all, we held six forums from East Hampton to Westchester County, for positions ranging from Town Supervisor to County Executive 

New York City Council District 18 Environmental Candidate Forum

Residents of Council District 18 in the Bronx gathered to hear from city council candidates on September 5th 2017. Candidates are racing to fill the open seat of Council Member Annabel Palma, who is term-limited. All candidates were invited, with Amanda Farias, Elvin Garcia, and Michael Beltzer in attendance. Learn more about the event here.

New York City Council District 35 Neighborhood Candidate Forum

NYLCVEF partnered with five local neighborhood groups– The Brooklyn Heights Association, The Crown Heights North Association, The Fort Greene Association, The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, and The Society for Clinton Hill– to host a candidate forum on Wednesday September 6th. The goal was to bring together community members and give them a platform to question candidates on policy matters of importance to them. Learn more about the event here.

Westchester County Executive Environmental Candidate Forum

Candidates Rob Astorino and George Latimer answered a series of questions from the board of panelists as well as some questions asked by audience members. The panelists, Victoria Alzapiedi, Tracy Brown, and Karl R. Rábago asked the two candidates questions relating to climate change, the Westchester County Airport, the closing of Indian Point and replacements for it, and renewable energy to get a sense of their opinions on environmental issues. Learn more and view videos from the event here.

East Hampton Environmental Candidate Forum

NYLCVEF joined Concerned Citizens of Montauk for an environmental candidate forum that engaged candidates running for town supervisor and board.  Learn more about the forum and watch videos from the event here.

Nassau County Executive Environmental Candidate Forum

On a Sunday evening at Adelphi University in Garden City, crowds gathered to hear Nassau County Executive Candidates Laura Curran and Jack Martins answer questions from the panel that included Eric Alexander from Vision Long Island, Adrienne Esposito from Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, and Nick Sifuentes from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. Moderated by the NYLCVEF’s President, Marcia Bystryn, the forum addressed a range of environmental issues including water and air quality, sewage management, offshore wind turbine installation, and public transportation. Read more here.

Huntington Town Supervisor Environmental Candidate Forum

The next day at the Huntington Library, Huntington Town Supervisor Candidates Tracey Edwards and Chad Lupinacci answered questions from Eric Alexander from Vision Long Island, Maureen Dolan Murphy from Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, and Beth Fiteni from Green Inside and Out. Among the questions asked by the panel included topics related to road safety in Huntington, pesticide use, high-density housing, and waste management. Click here to learn more about the event.

2017 New York City Green Guide

The New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund is pleased to present this 2017 Green Guide as a resource for all candidates running for public office in New York City. This document, released at our Environmental Candidate School, is a one-stop-shop for candidates to learn about new opportunities and approaches to persistent sustainability problems. It also provides contact information for citywide and local organizations that work on the front lines of these issues, available as a resource to any candidate. NYLCVEF developed this guide in close consultation with our environmental, transportation, public health, parks and environmental justice partners to embrace a wide range of views and perspectives.

Click here to download our 2017 NYC Green Guide

2017 New York State Policy Agenda

Each year, NYLCV and the NYLCV Education Fund work closely with New York’s leading environmental, public health, conservation, energy, environmental justice, and transportation organizations to identify the state’s most pressing priorities on fighting climate change, conserving land and water, and protecting public health. The result of that effort is our 2017 New York State legislative policy agenda. This agenda will drive NYLCV’s advocacy work throughout the legislative session as we push for legislation and appropriations in the budget that fulfill our policy goals.

Our 2017 agenda charges the legislature and executive with five distinct but interconnected directives: ensure adequate funding for the environment, address the causes and effects of climate change, protect the health of New Yorkers and their communities, protect natural resources, and invest in better, smarter infrastructure. Though there are nearly fifty policies we will support this year, there are three priority areas that are at the top of our list: clean drinking water, leadership on climate, and farms, food, and organic waste.

With progress stalled at the federal level, these problems must be solved at the state and local levels. Our leaders will need to be thoughtful, work across the aisle, and make tough compromises. But we fully expect them to do whatever it takes to create a greener, healthier and more prosperous New York in 2017.

Click here to view our 2017 NYS Agenda

Getting NYC to 80×50 Series: Summer 2017

In September 2014, Mayor de Blasio announced an aggressive carbon reduction goal for New York City to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. In order to address some of the key topics and major challenges to reaching these goals, NYLCVEF hosted a 4-part forum series this summer to address the 80×50 targets in the sectors of transportation, buildings, waste, and energy. Experts representing a variety of stakeholders debated and discussed the future of the city and the most effective way to achieve these goals, guided by questions from both the moderator and the audience.

The transportation forum focused on topics of equity, transportation availability, and infrastructure so that New Yorkers in all boroughs will have access to low-carbon transit. Buildings, as the largest contributor to greenhouse gas in the city, focused on the costs of improving energy efficiency particularly in existing buildings that have high retrofit costs. In the waste forum, panelists tackled the daunting question of how the city will completely eliminate waste sent to landfills and where waste will be sent instead. Finally, the energy forum looked at the challenge of transmission and connecting New York City with clean energy upstate.

The city officials, experts, advocated, and private sector leaders all added valuable insight into the feasibility of 80×50 and the best way forward. The conversations mimicked the type of cross-sector collaboration needed to craft the most effective policies, and NYLCVEF is hoping to make recommendations based on this dialogue that will shape the city’s path to achieving 80×50 with maximum stakeholder engagement. Learn more about any of these forums by clicking the links below.

Getting to 80×50: Transportation
How can we ensure sustainable mobility for all New Yorkers?
Download the Background Paper

Getting to 80×50: Buildings
Getting to Net Zero: What needs to be done to radically improve efficiency of heating and cooling systems in buildings, and how will it be funded?
Download the Background Paper

Getting to 80×50: Waste
Reimagining the waste stream: If we send Zero Waste to Landfills, where will it go instead?
Download the Background Paper

Getting to 80×50: Energy
The transmission challenge: How do we get enough clean energy to New York City?
Download the Background Paper


Green Infrastructure Recommendations for Western NY

On October 11, 2016, in partnership with local officials and community-based organizations, NYLCVEF hosted a forum on the topic of green infrastructure in the Buffalo-Niagara metropolitan region. The forum featured two panel discussions of policymakers and green infrastructure experts:

Panel 1: Lynda Schneekloth, Professor Emeritus at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning (Moderator)
Julie Barrett O’Neill, General Counsel, Buffalo Sewer Authority
Maris Grundy, Sustainable Landscaping Manager, PUSH Buffalo
Kathleen Buckler, Wetland Ecologist, Army Corps of Engineers
Scott Rybarczyk, Associate Principal and Senior Stormwater Engineer, Wendel
Sean Burkholder, Professor of Landscape and Urban Design, University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning

Panel 2: Carley Hill, Safety Director and Environmental Officer, Union Concrete and NYLCV Education Fund Board Member (Moderator)
Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director and Riverkeeper, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper
Justin Booth, Executive Director, Go Bike Buffalo
Brian Kulpa, Mayor, Village of Williamsville
Bart Roberts, Associate Director of Research and Faculty Engagement, UB Regional Institute

The first panel discussion reviewed the innovative work of the green infrastructure work being done by the Buffalo Sewer Authority, PUSH Buffalo, the Army Corps of Engineers, Wendel and the UB School of Architecture and Planning. Each panelist emphasized the importance of collaboration, and the City of Buffalo was recognized for its innovation and continued leadership on the issue. Drawing from varied experience in wastewater treatment, workforce development, wetland ecology, engineering and design, the multidisciplinary panel identified some early successes in the region’s efforts to capture and control stormwater runoff. Panelists also discussed some of the key challenges to implementing these projects in the future, including the need for maintenance funding and civic engagement to broaden public understanding of the importance of investing public funds in green infrastructure projects.

The second group of panelists from Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Go Bike Buffalo, the Village of Williamsville and the UB Regional Institute followed this conversation by taking a bigger picture view of the role that green infrastructure could play in future regional planning efforts and watershed management. Despite this different focus, panelists echoed many sentiments of the previous group. Specific projects such as the Niagara Street Gateway were lauded for including a complete streets model in design and implementation, a feature that can maximize the multiple positive effects of green infrastructure investments in the future. The importance of leadership from policymakers, another recurring theme from the first panel, was also raised as a significant opportunity for envisioning and implementing green infrastructure in local municipalities and across the region. Panelists agreed that continued public engagement will be essential for all of these reasons, ultimately enabling the region to capture the benefits of the One Region Forward planning process.

The forum was hosted by the Buffalo History Museum, generously sponsored by Roux Associates and Union Concrete, and featured by WBFO Buffalo.

Download our reccomendations here!

2017 Environmental Candidate School

On Thursday, May 4th, 2017, candidates for City Council, Borough President and all citywide offices gathered for a morning of discussions on critical environmental issues facing New York City. The event, designed to improve understanding of environmental and public health issues facing our city, featured two panels of environmental experts and advocates in conversation about some of the most pressing topics facing our city.

A third panel featured four current City Council members: Mark Levine, Costa Constantinides, Rafael Espinal, and Donovan Richards, who provided their own insights and experience on running for office and working in City Hall. NYLCVEF also presented our 2017 Green Guide, a comprehensive source for candidates to learn about opportunities and approaches to persistent environmental issues in the City.


With water contamination issues on the rise, we are actively advocating for the protection of our waterways and their cleanliness. This includes both marine habitats and our precious drinking water. We are in a continual push for investments to repair our aging water infrastructure, with an emphasis on management, incorporating green infrastructure, support programs and incentives for clean water – both for daily living and recreational uses. 

Our priority is to prevent against water contamination before it occurs. NYLCV and NYLCVEF have advocated for and won significant victories for clean drinking water in the past year including $2.5 billion in state funding and a requirement to test for certain unregulated contaminants in small public water supplies. While we are headed in the right direction, these successes are a down payment on the greater long-term needs to protect our water. 

In addition to protecting our drinking water sources, we are advocating for local bans or fees on single-use bags which plague our waterways. Clean water is especially important in our most treasured open spaces, which is why we support protecting 31,000 acres of Adirondack forest in the MacIntyre East/West and Boreas Ponds tract in order to promote clean water, encourage healthy and abundant wildlife populations, and support vibrant communities.

On the federal level, we are advocating for maintaining funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (CWSRF), which provide low-interest loans that leverage state and private money to a wide variety of water projects, including wastewater treatment, green infrastructure, pipe replacement, and source water protection. The CWSRF is incredibly efficacious, returning $2.31 for every $1 invested.

Learn more about our Programs focused on Water

Green Infrastructure in the Capital Region

Upper Delaware River Watershed

Green Infrastructure in the Buffalo-Niagara Region

Dig Deep for a Greener New York City Policy Forum Series

Nitrogen Pollution on Long Island

Water Quality on Long Island

Choose Clean Water Coalition

Climate Change

Here in New York, we are fighting climate change by holding both the state and localities accountable for implementing the necessary actions required to meet their ambitious goals. The most significant are the stated goals of New York State and many county and municipal governments to reduce emissions 80% by 2050.

We are continuing our efforts to advance policies, administration, and funding to fight climate change. We are working to ensure that the Clean Energy Standard meets its goal of generating 50% of the state’s energy needs from renewable source by 2030. We are also working at state and local levels to secure funding, gain support from officials, and change local laws and policies to provide for the installation of more charging stations for electric cars. Another main push is our proposal of changes to be made to local laws and rules that will modernize codes and procedures for the allowance of residential solar installation.

The NYLCV Education Fund has taken a particularly close look at these issues in New York City through its four-part “Getting NYC to 80×50” forum series held in June and July of 2017. NYLCVEF is working to tie together the issues and ideas raised in the forums into a package of recommendations to be released this fall. 

Learn more about our programs focused on Climate Change:

Implementing the CLCPA

Getting NYC to 80×50 Policy Forum Series

Parks and Open Spaces

New York’s spectacular open spaces not only provide awe-inspiring views and recreational opportunities, they help keep our children and families healthy. Our parks, rivers, lakes and oceans should be protected so future generations can enjoy them.

When addressing contaminated land, we were successful in our fight to renew and reform the state’s programs that assist in cleanup of contaminated lands and abandoned buildings. Part of this included the extension the Superfund Program, expanding the Environmental Cleanup Program, and making changes to the Brownfields Cleanup Program. From here, we plan to encourage and work towards the funding to revitalize municipal parks at the local, regional, and state levels. Included in this will be our goals to hold government accountable for alienation of parkland, as well as provide for protective rights of land swaps and sales. In order to reduce contaminated land, we are eager to implement organic waste diversion to composting and biodigesters.

We have long advocated for a Wilderness Classification for 35,000 acres of Adirondack forests, thus promoting a clean and healthy environment. We are also seeking to strengthen the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda and other private initiatives to encourage the protection of scenic areas while promoting an increase in the recreational opportunities and communities in the Hudson Valley. Included in this is our goal to fund and implement programs battling the onslaught of invasive species.

Learn more about our programs focused on Parks and Open Spaces:

Dig Deep for a Greener New York City

Get Involved