ALBANY (TNS) — Say goodbye to those tiny plastic containers of shampoo and body lotion found in many hotel rooms. A bill restricting the use of the bottles is among a package of environmental bills that Gov. Kathy Hochul signed last week.
”Climate change and pollution are two of the most serious issues affecting New Yorkers’ health and quality of life,” Hochul said in a statement after the bill signing. “These pieces of legislation will ensure our state remains a national leader, not only in the fight for clean air and water, but in securing a cleaner, more sustainable future for generations as well.”
Eliminating the bottles, a source of plastic waste, should give way to placing permanent soap and lotion dispensers in hotel bathrooms, say supporters.
Another bill establishes a list of emerging contaminants, which will be updated every three years. These are unregulated chemicals that, based on federal law, have to be considered for a new list of regulated substances that the EPA updates every five years.
By establishing a list, the state will be better positioned to regulate these chemicals if they show up in drinking water supplies.
Also approved was the Soil Health and Climate Resiliency Act, which directs the Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, to adopt policies to maximize soil health and hopefully cut down on the chemicals used in agriculture.
The Lead-Free Water in Schools bill reduces from 0.015 milligrams per liter to 0.005 milligrams per liter that level at which action must be taken for lead in school water supplies. Part of this should be paid for by the state’s Clean Water Infrastructure Act and the new federal Infrastructure and Jobs Act.
For summer camps, a new law prohibits pesticides on playgrounds or athletic fields on summer camps.
Another bill directs the state Health Department to conduct a study on the incidences of asthma in cities and towns having a population of more than 90,000.
A bio-heating bill establishes minimum levels of bio-diesel used for heating. By July 2022 heating oil must contain 5% bio-diesel with the rate going to 10% by July 2025. Switching to bio-heating fuel reduces the emissions of multiple pollutants and greenhouse gasses.
One bill, which the governor didn’t publicize but was also signed, was a measure setting up a framework for cement-makers to look at ways of lowering their carbon footprint during the manufacturing process. While drawing support of many environmentalists, some activists fear it could eventually facilitate waste incineration at cement plants.