Press Release: Save the Sound disappointed by two of Gov. Hochul’s recent vetoes

Two bills poised to strengthen protections for waters across New York State were vetoed by Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday, forfeiting a critical opportunity to expand defenses after a Supreme Court decision weakened federal protections earlier this year.

Class C Streams (S1725A/A4601) sought to reclassify waters used for fishing and boating but not for drinking or primary-contact activities (such as swimming) so they could be afforded the same DEC protections as other streams. Freshwater Wetlands Protections (S5957/A5949) would have allowed local governments to decide whether to implement tighter restrictions than the state’s regarding the application of pesticides in designated wetlands areas within their jurisdictions.

“It’s never been more important to expand New York State‘s protections of all waters and wetlands,” said Save the Sound vice president of water protection David Ansel. “These consequential pieces of legislation would have benefitted the Long Island Sound watershed and protected tens of thousands of miles of streams and more than two million acres of wetlands across New York State.”

The timing of these vetoes is particularly concerning, considering the long-term ramifications of a Supreme Court decision back in May. When the Supreme Court ruled in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency that the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act did not extend to all waters of the United States, Save the Sound senior legal director Roger Reynolds called it “the worst-case scenario for federal wetland protection.”

“We will continue to advocate in Albany for our legislators to pursue the strongest possible protections for all waters in our region,” said Ansel.

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