Protecting Our Environment and Holding Polluters Accountable


The health of planet earth is under attack by the Trump Administration every day. With a philosophy of deregulation-at-all-costs and policies that put business interests ahead of public interests, forces in Washington, D.C. are jeopardizing decades of environmental progress and the health and safety of Americans. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the rest of his Administration have tried to undermine environmental protections at every turn. They’re working to change or withdraw regulations to the benefit of the fossil fuel industry and asbestos manufacturers at the expense of the safety of the American people.

At the same time, New York faces serious environmental challenges of its own, which impact communities throughout the state, particularly communities of color. Lead poisoning cases in black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Buffalo are some of the highest in the State, drinking water sources are contaminated in Newburgh, and smog-filled air in black and Hispanic communities leads to asthma rates in Erie County significantly higher than the national average. With that and damage resulting from climate change, our environmental challenges are growing by the day. At a time when the federal government is abandoning its responsibility to enforce the laws that protect our food, air, water, and the rest of our environment, the role of the Attorney General is vital to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers everywhere.

I have been an advocate for the environment throughout my career. As Public Advocate, I used my position as a trustee of the City’s largest pension fund to pressure the City to divest from fossil fuels -- the first trustee of a New York City pension board to call for such action. As a member of the City Council, I led the comprehensive rewriting of the City’s residential recycling program, the largest such program in the country, including expanding composting, simplifying and expanding plastics recycling, and significantly increasing the availability of recycling in public spaces. I have also been a staunch defender of environmental justice, ensuring that neighborhoods of color are not overburdened with more than their fair share of solid waste infrastructure.  

As Attorney General, I will not hesitate to use the courts to force the Trump Administration to enforce environmental laws and other federal protections, while holding polluters accountable here in New York, taking action to address environmental racism, and more. I will:

  • Investigate and take legal action to stop environmental injustices that exacerbate racial disparities in asthma rates, lead poisoning, and other environmental illnesses;

  • Advance legislation and take legal action that would ban fracking infrastructure in New York;

  • Lead the fight for the State to divest fully from fossil fuels;

  • Litigate to prevent the rollback of federal regulations that protect the our air, our water, and our food;

  • Investigate and prosecute corporate polluters who collude with federal officials to mislead New Yorkers about the risk of climate change;

  • Litigate to protect against toxic products that harm workers and consumers; and,

  • Advocate to strengthen New York’s environmental laws by increasing the penalties for illegal dumping.

Read my full plan to protect the environment and hold polluters accountable as New York State Attorney General.