31 Aug

Raise a Glass to Clean Water! Raise your Voice for Water Protection!

Did you know that August is National Water Quality Month?

As this month concludes, let us reflect on the history of water protection and take action for a clean water future. 

Founded in 2005 by the Environmental Protection Agency and backed by the United Nations, National Water Quality Month was established to promote ways to ensure universal access to safe, clean drinking water. In this newsletter, we share two ways that you can leverage your business voice to protect drinking water for generations to come.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, and it is now under attack in a case before the Supreme Court: Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  This case will determine how the EPA exercises its regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act and what land is subject to this regulation. Your business voice is critical in supporting science-based Clean Water Act protections. Learn more and show your support by clicking the link below.

Add your voice to protect the Clean Water Act

If you live or work in New York City or Westchester County, you may be surprised to learn that you get roughly half of your drinking water from the Delaware River Watershed, which originates in the Catskill Mountains. To protect this watershed, NYSBC works with businesses, nonprofit partners, and lawmakers in an ongoing campaign called “Clean Water is Good for Business.”  Learn more about this ongoing work and show your support by clicking the link below.

Add Your Voice to Protect NYC/Westchester Drinking Water

Clean Water is Good for Business is a multi-state effort organized by the American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN).  The objective is to build a coalition of businesses and business associations to make the economic case for drinking water protections and specifically safeguarding the Delaware River Watershed. We work with businesses and lawmakers to protect soil health, advance green stormwater infrastructure, support regenerative agriculture, and propose other measures to ensure clean drinking water for all.

New York State’s drinking water ranks seventh in the nation with almost  ninety-five percent of all New Yorkers receiving water from public water supply systems. These systems include New York City (the largest engineered water system in the nation), privately-owned water supply companies serving municipalities, schools with their own water supply, rural stores serving well water to their customers. In total, there are over 9,000 public water systems in New York State.

These complex and varied systems are increasingly vulnerable to threats of contamination from an aging and crumbling infrastructure, an industrial legacy of toxic sites, and eroding public health programs.  Two bills that NYSBC businesses and nonprofit partners helped advance through the New York State legislature this year could help address two very different water quality concerns:

  • The “PFAS in Apparel” bill (S6291a/A7063a) prohibits the production, distribution, or sale of common apparel with intentionally added PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) is a diverse class of chemicals that have polluted water supplies across the country and are used in a wide range of products, such as cookware, firefighting gear, and furniture. PFAS are hazardous and persistent chemicals that have been shown to accumulate in our waterways as well as in our bodies. 
  • The “Moratorium on Cryptocurrency Mining” (S6486d/A7389c) requires an environmental impact review before permitting future proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining operations, which are extremely energy consuming and many of which have cooling systems that directly increase nearby natural water temperatures causing harmful algal blooms (HABs).

If you are willing to speak with your representatives about these and other ways to protect your community and your natural resources, let us know.  We would be happy to connect you with key decision makers on issues that matter to you and your business. Your business voice is powerful, and essential to safeguarding our communities and natural resources.

10 Jun

2022 Legislative Victories

Last Friday, New York State saw the conclusion of an intense legislative session. We were thrilled to see the following 5 (FIVE!) of NYSBC’s priority bills pass–a couple on the final day and one in the final hour!

Read the blurbs below and learn more by clicking on the State Assembly and Senate links in orange. 

    1. The “Clearing the Toxic Air” bill is critical for setting and enforcing limits on toxic air pollutants that damage our health, further wealth inequality, and create more drag on our social services and overall economy. (S.4371b / A.6150b)
    2. The “Cumulative Impacts” bill ensures that cumulative impacts are taken into consideration in the State’s Environmental Quality Review process when considering new permits for potentially polluting facilities and siting new environmental facilities in economically distressed communities. (S.8830 / A.2103D)
    3. The “Carpet EPR” (extended producer responsibility) bill helps us transition from an extractive, linear economy to a circular economy by engaging carpet producers in creating a system for carpet collection and recycling. (S.5027C / A.9279)
    4. The “PFAS in Apparel” bill prohibits the production, distribution, or sale of common apparel with intentionally added PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances)—a persistent chemical that is harmful to our health, our environment, our food system, and our overall economy. (S.6291A / A.7063A)
    5. The “Moratorium on Cryptocurrency Mining” requires an environmental impact review before permitting future proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining operations that are extremely energy consuming—threatening local ecosystems and our local businesses and related economies. (S.6486D / A.7389C)

With thousands of bills under consideration, it is reassuring to see such political will behind these 5 bills that are essential to building a just and sustainable economy, but the work does not stop here. In order to become law, these bills must be signed by Governor Hochul this year or they will simply expire—a process known as a “pocket veto.”

Look for future updates from NYSBC on how you can leverage your business voice to help each of these bills get delivered to the Governor’s desk and signed into law.

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29 Jan

Urgent Action Needed on NY’s Child Safe Products Act

The Child Safe Products Act (CSPA) is sitting on Governor Cuomo’s desk and we need your help to get it signed into law. The Governor has between now and February 7th to decide whether to sign or veto this bill, which has been a decade in the making.

This monumental bill, which passed the NYS Senate and Assembly with bipartisan support, lays out an intelligent framework for identifying and requiring disclosure of harmful chemicals in children’s products, and also bans the most harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, arsenic, and asbestos. Innovations in the chemical industry have far outpaced effective regulation of new chemicals and continue to negatively impact our most vulnerable, our future workforce, our economy, and the ability of responsible businesses to compete in a poorly regulated space.

This bill can break that cycle… IF it gets signed in the next week. You can help make that happen. As a responsible business owner, you offer a critical voice on this issue. Governor Cuomo has just a few days left to make a decision on this bill, and he is certainly under large corporate pressure to veto or dilute the bill. It is critical that his office also hears from business leaders like you.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. To better understand the business and economic benefits of the Child Safe Products Act, we invite you to review NYSBC’s one-page memo of support.
  2. If helpful for you: There are 6 bulleted points in that memo, some apply to specific sectors (eg, retail, manufacturing, green chemistry) and some apply to all of us. Identify the points that you can speak to from your own business experience and values.
  3. Call the Governor’s office at 518-474-8390, introduce yourself and your business, urge him to sign the Child Safe Products Act into law, and offer the reasons you’ve outlined above. If helpful, see sample script below.
  4. Then, please let us know that you took action. Contact us by email or comment on our facebook post and tag friends or share the post. Your action will inspire others!
  5. Are you on Twitter?  Here’s a sample tweet.  Add to it or modify as you see fit.
    Our company works to ensure products are safe, and customers deserve to know when harmful chemicals are in products for kids. That's why we stand with @NewYorkSBC & @ASBCouncil and urge @NYGovCuomo to sign the #ChildSafeProductsAct. #nontoxicny

Note: When calling the Governor’s office, know that there are thousands of parents and environmentalists calling for this bill and large corporations fighting it. That makes it appear to our lawmakers that this issue is parents/environmentalists vs business/economy. It’s not. By focusing on your business perspective, you have the power to dismantle that false narrative.

Do you have a business testimonial to share with us? Please email us. Your testimonials are gold!

Here’s a testimonial from a New York State skateboard manufacturer with a global market.

“It is entirely possible to build products—even durable products that require strong adhesives—without using formaldehyde. Since 1997, Comet Skateboards has been building skateboards to withstand constant thrashing from people of all ages and sizes. We do so using industry standard formaldehyde-free adhesives like Franklin Multibond 4000 FF. Avoiding the use of formaldehyde is not a barrier. It’s a decision. The more companies make this simple decision, the more options will arise from green tech innovators.”
— Jason Salfi, President of Comet Skateboards

Sample Business Script   (Add to it or modify with your reasoning from step #2 above.)

Hi, I am XXXX from XXXXX company, and we support the Child Safe Products Act. I’m calling to urge the Governor to sign the bill — because it will help create a level playing field for responsible businesses including the many companies that manufacture or carry sustainable products. We believe customers deserve to know when harmful chemicals are in products for kids.

It’s important to us that this bill achieve the following:

  • Require product makers to tell us if harmful chemicals are in what they sell.
  • Require manufacturers to phase out the most toxic chemicals—like formaldehyde, arsenic, and asbestos—in children’s products.
  • Create a way to report and restrict additional dangerous chemicals in children’s products in an ongoing process that solves this problem once and for all.
21 Nov

Making the Business Case for Health Reform

An evening with Wendell Potter
Monday, November 25, 2019
Good Work Greenhouse
65 St. James St, Kingston
Out of control health care costs are hurting our business community. Companies large and small can no longer afford the annual double-digit cost increases. Each year, our businesses and our employees pay more for less care. The employer-based health insurance system is unsustainable and it’s holding back a whole new generation of entrepreneurs.

[ Business for Medicare for All ]This event is hosted by Business for Medicare for All, a new independent and non-partisan business organization making the economic case for reforming our broken health care system. The organization is growing fast and now has nearly 3,000 members across the country.Join Wendell Potter, a former Cigna insurance executive turned health care reform whistleblower, to hear more about the organization and how you can harness your voice as a business leader, CEO, entrepreneur, or sole proprietor in support of creating a health care system that works for businesses and employees. 

Potter, the president of Business for Medicare for All, will also reveal the propaganda techniques and talking points that the insurance and pharmaceutical companies will deploy to stop proposals like Medicare for All. After the presentation, Potter will engage in a Q&A and discussion on how to mobilize other businesses in your community.  

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

About Wendell Potter
Wendell Potter - Montrose Street - cropped.jpgPotter has been called the “Daniel Ellsberg of corporate America” by Michael Moore and “a straight shooter” by Bill Moyers. After resigning from his job as the vice-president of corporate communications at Cigna in 2008, Potter became a single-payer advocate and activist. He testified before the U.S. Congress in 2009 on tactics used by the health insurance industry to advocate against healthcare reform. He’s the author of several books, including 2009’s “Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans.” He lives in Philadelphia.About Business for Medicare for All
Business for Medicare for All is a national 501c3 non-profit organization that is educating and organizing the business community in support of fixing our broken health care system. Founded in 2019 by Richard Master, the CEO of MCS Industries in Easton, PA, and Wendell Potter, a former health insurance executive turned whistleblower, the organization now represents nearly 3,000  business leaders in 49 states. Learn more: www.businessformedicareforall.org
23 May

Energy Democracy Advocacy Day

[ New York Energy Democracy Alliance ]On Wednesday, May 29th, NYSBC and other members of the Energy Democracy Alliance (EDA) will be hosting a gathering in Albany, NY to advocate for a resilient, localized, and democratically controlled clean energy economy in New York State—the unifying purpose of the 25 member organizations of the EDA. We see tremendous potential this year, so we are pooling our efforts around this one powerful day in Albany.  We hope you can join us!
  • 10am — Orientation
    • Energy Efficiency policy overview
    • Renewable Energy policy overview
    • How to advocate
    • Developing your personal story for Energy Democracy
  • 12pm — Lunch Break
    • Healthy food provided by the EDA
    • Small group discussions
  • 1pm — Legislative Meetings
    • Facilitated meetings with legislative offices
  • 3pm — Report Backs & Debrief
Your voice is critical. As outlined above, we will learn about relevant policies and hone our personal stories before meeting with legislative offices to present our case. Each of us brings an important story to these meetings, and this will be your opportunity to convey your story to the very people who make the laws in New York State.

We are finalizing a shortlist of bills that have the best chance to further our goals for energy democracy.  In the energy efficiency arena, we are working on a bill that would codify the state’s energy efficiency standard with a focus on environmental health and would mandate equitable building energy efficiency work and jobs training.  On the renewable energy front, we are evaluating several bills that aim to increase solar energy and make solar energy more equitable.  To address the broader and more long term impacts, we will be advocating for the Climate & Community Protection Act (CCPA), which would rapidly transition the state’s economy off of fossil fuels, invest 40% of the state’s climate fund into low-income communities and communities of color, and set high wage standards to make green jobs good jobs. 

Do these issues resonate with you?  If so, we hope you can join us in this important fight.  Please RSVP and we will hold a seat at the table for you.

As many of you know from our previous email, we will be in Albany Tuesday through Thursday of next week.  If you wish to lend your support on any or all of those days, please follow the links below for details, RSVP, and share with others.

Your business voice is critical to this advocacy work.  Together, we bring a much needed counter narrative to debates dominated by the largest profit-driven corporations that claim to represent businesses—including yours.  NYSBC can help you explore how you and your business relate to the above issues and hone your story to have the deepest impact.