Tag: Politics

Lawn Litter Law Goes Into Effect!

Mark Levy represented Sustainable Flatbush at Sunday’s Lawn Litter Law press conference. Here’s his report from the event:

New York State Environmental Politics

For those of you who are interested in following New York State environmental politics, a great online resource is Environmental Advocates of New York. I also receive their email alerts, and was pleased to learn that my State Senator, Kevin Parker, supported all four Environmental […]

Petition in support of Repowering America

“America must commit to producing 100% of our electricity from cheap, clean renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, within 10 years.”

If you are onboard with Al Gore’s challenge, let Obama, McCain, and your elected officials know by signing the MoveOn petition here. Let’s do this!!

Repowering America, Locally

Our Sustainable Flatbush Neighborhood Solar Forum on Wednesday was a great success. This was the first of what I plan to be a series of forums on energy-related topics, and the timing is clearly right: the very next day Al Gore made his speech urging […]

NY Times Quotes of the Day

Obama Assails Remarks by McCain on Offshore Oil Drilling Obama laid into McCain over his proposals to ease energy prices through offshore oil drilling, specifically his statement that it would provide “psychological benefit” — since the oil industry is already leasing land that it for […]

Let ‘Em Know!

Lots going on (or trying to!) in Albany and beyond on environmental issues. Here are just a few links to support important legislation being considered:

Solar Energy
This week the State legislature approved new tax incentives to encourage the installation of more solar electric (photovoltaic) panels in New York. This is great news, but the lack of opportunity for net metering (selling excess power back to the grid) remains been one of the biggest impediments to the growth of solar in New York State. Under current laws, home solar systems have limited net metering abilities and commercial installations have NONE. This is a huge lost opportunity to ease strain on our electrical grid and prevent power outages during the summer, since the peak demand for power (particularly in NYC) occurs at the time when solar panels are at their most effective: in the middle of the day. What can you do?
Send a message to Albany to loosen restrictions on net metering!

  • UPDATE from Vote Solar: New York is on a roll. The state also just passed legislation to update its net metering standard, from a claustrophobic 10 kW cap for solar installations, limited to residential only, up to a gold-standard 2 MW, open to all customer classes. This significantly opens the market for large scale solar in New York, and is a critical step towards building a major solar market in the Empire State.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Under the RGGI, New York will make dirty power plants clean up their act by requiring them to cut carbon dioxide emissions and pay a price for any remaining pollution. Polluter Pays… what a concept!
Tell the Department of Environmental Conservation that you support the RGGI

Bigger Better Bottle Bill
A favorite at Sustainable Flatbush (see here and here), this bill passed the State Assembly on June 11th, and must now pass the Republican-controlled Senate. The bill would add 5-cent deposits to non-carbonated beverages such as bottled water, iced tea, and sports drinks, whose market share was nonexistent when our current bottle bill was enacted in 1982. According to NYPIRG, “nearly 3 billion non-carbonated beverage bottles and cans end up in the trash or polluting our state’s rivers, beaches, and neighborhoods each year because they don’t have a deposit”… so the bill’s potential to reduce litter and increase recycling is huge. I don’t have a link to email your Senator, but will update the post if I find one.

Okay, this one is federal, but also very important:
Green Jobs Act and “Green Block Grant” Program
Activist Van Jones (if you don’t know him yet, check him out!) has this to say about the legislation:

A fully funded Green Jobs Act will distribute $125 million per year to identify needed skills, develop training programs, and train workers for jobs in a range of green industries. That’s enough money to train 30,000 people in green trades – every year. It targets a broad range of populations for eligibility, but it has a special focus on creating “green pathways out of poverty.” In other words, this Act can connect the people who MOST need work – to the work that MOST needs to get done.

A fully funded Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program will distribute $2 billion per year to cities and local governments for energy conservation, energy audits, fuel conservation programs, and the use of renewable energy. These “Green” block grants could create tens of thousands of green-collar jobs – accessible to low-income city residents who most need opportunities and careers.

Urge your Congressperson and Senators to support these programs!

Now go have a beer!

Brooklyn Blogfest 2008

photo by Flatbush Gardener When I attended last year’s Brooklyn Blogfest at the Old Stone House in Park Slope, Sustainable Flatbush had been online for only a few weeks. Most of the names and people and language of the blogging world were very new to […]

Petition: Bring “Gold Standard” Streets to Brooklyn!

This afternoon I received word of a petition supporting a re-design of Vanderbilt Avenue (Prospect Heights) to include separated bike lanes. By providing designated space for cars, bicycles and pedestrians, this design would meet what the Department of Transportation calls the “gold standard” for safety. […]

Congestion Pricing Countdown



Congestion Pricing Ad, originally uploaded by wka.

As a supporter of Congestion Pricing, I felt that this week was the time to do whatever I can to help get this legislation passed. So last Saturday I spent some time in Crown Heights (Brooklyn) asking people to take the time to compose a personal letter in their own handwriting to their local representatives (in that case State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and State Senator Eric Adams). I was quite amazed at how many people were willing to do this (it’s not an easy thing to ask for!). On Monday morning I went to City Hall for the Council hearings (wearing the green t-shirt pictured below) and heard testimonies from Speaker Quinn and DOT Commissioner Sadik Khan. Yesterday morning I was part of a small group that met with an aide to City Council member Kendall Stewart, who represents the 45th District (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands), and I also spoke briefly with Stewart himself afterwards.

What I can attest to from talking to ordinary citizens (meaning, NOT politicians) is that even those who weren’t sure where they stood on Congestion Pricing (or knew nothing at all about it) were in favor when told that the revenue would be dedicated to improving subway and bus service. A few expressed understandable skepticism that the money would actually be used for transit improvements, but were somewhat reassured when told that it would go to a dedicated lockbox.

As for our elected officials, many of them seem to be earnestly asking for the data and information that will enable them to answer their constituents’ doubts. Questions about neighborhood parking permits and whether New Jersey and Long Island commuters should pay more than those from the five boroughs seem to be sticking points for some people. But for those of us who don’t drive – a solid majority in all five boroughs – the need for better bus and subway service is not in question.

More posts on Congestion Pricing and Transit Equity in New York City:

Obama Supports Congestion Pricing!
Enrique Peñalosa on Transit Equity for NYC
A Brooklyn Youth’s View on Congestion Pricing
More Supporters for Congestion Pricing
Brooklyn and Congestion Pricing: The Numbers

Client 9

Okay, since I promised to keep politics out of the discussions here, I won’t write about how disappointed I am in Eliot Spitzer. Except to say that as a registered Democrat who voted for him, I feel completely betrayed. And, that I am beyond appalled […]