Crystal Clear: Protecting New York’s Clean Water

Perhaps no aspect of our environment is more at risk and more important to protect than our water. New York’s oceans, rivers, lakes, streams, and drinking water are all at risk under the Trump Administration. The Trump Administration is threatening to roll back regulatory protections, walk away from its Superfund cleanup obligations, and use the Long Island Sound as a dumping ground. As Attorney General, Tish James will prioritize protecting water in several important ways. She will:

● Sue the Companies Responsible for Contaminating Drinking Water Sources: New York’s Attorney General has the authority to legally pursue the companies responsible for polluting our drinking water sources and to hold those companies financially responsible. As Attorney General, Tish James will use the power of the office to hold those companies accountable, to ensure clean water is restored, and that impacted communities are given the resources necessary to make them whole. In communities like Newburgh and Hoosick Falls where the local water source became so contaminated that it was undrinkable, residents need an Attorney General willing to take on powerful industries -- not someone who has spent their career representing them.

●  Establish a Water Safety Fund: Towns and localities that discover that they have unsafe drinking water should be able to address those problems as soon as they discover them. The Water Safety Fund will provide towns and localities with the resources they need to begin to address problems as they find them. Attorney General Tish James will then use courts to ensure polluters are held to account and to pay the full cost of cleanup and penalties for their actions.

●  Protect New York from Fracking Infrastructure: New York has banned hydraulic fracturing (fracking) -- but that ban does not apply to the development of fracking infrastructure like pipelines, power plants, and compressor stations. Companies in New York still contribute to the production of shale gas and feed an industry that is contributing to the destruction of our natural environment. As Attorney General, Tish James will use all tools available, including legislation and litigation, to stop fracking infrastructure from being built in New York.

●  Fight to Protect Buffalo’s Children From Lead Poisoning: Buffalo has a dangerous lead poisoning problem. Each year, hundreds of children in the black and Hispanic neighborhoods in the East and lower West Sides are found to have unsafe levels of lead in their blood. Past reports have questioned the testing techniques used to determine lead levels, alleging that lower income communities of color -- where higher levels of lead poisoning were documented -- were under-represented in the studies.1 As, Attorney General, Tish James will investigate these disparities and take legal action to prevent further tragedy.

●  Litigate to Protect the Hudson River from EPA Neglect or Malfeasance:The Hudson River is one of New York State’s greatest treasures ,but for decades it was polluted by General Electric (GE), which dumped millions of pounds of carcinogenic PCBs in the river. GE has asked the EPA to declare the multi-year cleanup project to dredge the Hudson River to eliminate PCB contamination complete. But the cleanup has not fully restored the river, and has only focused on the upper Hudson and not the lower part of the river. Separately, the EPA has floated the idea of building structures in or near the Hudson River that could affect the recovery and long-term health of the river’s environment. As Attorney General, Tish James will take legal action against the EPA if it grants GE a certification of completion, as well as challenge any other EPA action that will threaten the Hudson.

●  Litigate to Prevent the Long Island Sound from Being Used as a Dumping Ground: In December 2016, the EPA approved a site in the Long Island Sound as a disposal site for tens of millions of yards of dredged sediment from Connecticut waters. The dredged materials could contain contaminants that will affect the Sound’s marine life food chain. The move poses a major threat to the water that thousands of New Yorkers enjoy for swimming, boating, and fishing. The New York Attorney General has sued the EPA to overturn the designation, and as Attorney General, Tish James will continue that fight.

●  Litigate to Stop EPA from Gutting the Clean Water Act: The Clean Water Act is a critical piece of legislation that has protected our nation’s surface waters for almost 50 years. The EPA has proposed regulations that would destroy decades of progress in safeguarding our waters by narrowing the scope of the law, to the delight of developers. Tish James will continue to lead the fight in the courts to stop the erosion of these vital protections.