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Microbead-Free Waters Act

June 11th, 2015 | Posted by admin

Companies are placing unnecessary tiny plastic beads into body wash, soaps and toothpastes, which then go down the drain, escape through wastewater treatment facilities unequipped to handle them, only to make their way into New York’s waterways where they wreak havoc on wildlife and the food chain.

With just days left in the 2015 Legislative Session, common-sense legislation to ban these beads deserves a fair up or down vote; the lead sponsor of the legislation chairs the Senate committee in which it’s stalled. To date, 37 of 63 Senators have signed on to cosponsor the bill. Just 32 votes are needed for Senate passage. Save The River is working with Environmental Advocates of New York and other conservation groups to bring this critical bill to the Senate floor where is will be approved.

The St. Lawrence River has some of the highest concentrations of microbead pollution of any of New York’s waterways. Save The River supports the Microbead-Free Waters Act as the most effective way to remove this bio-accumulating threat to the health of the river and the species and communities that depend on it. Its quick passage into law will set the example for other Great Lakes states to follow.

The bill overwhelmingly passed the Assembly earlier this year by a vote of 139-1, with all Democrats and all but one Republican supporting the measure. However, despite similarly widespread, bipartisan support in the Senate, lead sponsor Tom O’Mara has attempted to advance a competing bogus beads bill supported by the industry, which is not cosponsored by a single colleague. That bill was expected to receive a floor vote in late May until senators threatened to attach the widely supported bill as a hostile amendment during debate.

In addition to broad majority support Senate-wide, the bill is sponsored by nine members of the 13-member Environmental Conservation committee, 11 members of the 15-member Codes committee, 22 members of the 36-member Finance committee, and 12 members of the 24-member Rules committee. Alternatively, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan can pull the bill out of any committee and bring to the floor for a full vote via the Rules committee, which he chairs.

Save The River and students from TI High School’s SAFE club attended Microbead Lobby Day on May 5, 2015. The goal of Microbead Lobbying Day was to persuade 4 more Senators to sign on to sponsor the “good” bill (S.3932) vs the “industry” bill, and it appears the goal was met.  Hopefully it will be enacted into law by the end of this session. The Assembly already passed A. 5896, “The Microbead-Free Waters Act,” by an overwhelming majority of 139 to 1. The bill would prohibit the sale of personal cosmetic products containing synthetic plastic microbeads after January 1, 2016.  The TI Lobby Team met with Senators Golden, Marchione, Felder, Ritchie, Stavisky, and Griffo, or their chief counsels, and was successful in getting two of the Senators to agree to sign on to support the stronger of the two anti-microbead bills.

Dr. Sherri Mason, environmental sciences program coordinator at the State University of New York at Fredonia, who first mentioned the extent of microbead pollution in the Great Lakes at Save The River’s 2014 Winter Environmental Conference said, “I have not spoken to one person in my hundreds of public presentations reaching thousands of people who, after learning there is plastic in their consumer products, is okay with it. The people want these plastics removed and the point of the legislature is to respond to the desire of the people. And our representatives are responding to that by signing-on to the bill, but it needs to be called for a vote. We all get crunched for time, but this bill is an easy one. With so many co-signers it won’t require a lengthy debate. Just call it for a vote and move-on, and let the bill move on too. I was so proud when New York was the first state in the nation to call for a ban on these unnecessary pollutants, but now several other states have already passed the legislation that is stalled here. People expect more and the health of all people deserves more.”

Saima Anjam, environmental health director at Environmental Advocates of New York said, “The Microbead-Free Waters Act has a clear pathway to passage. If it’s not brought up for a vote, it means that industry has once again silenced the majority of New York’s state senators. It’s been just weeks since Senator Skelos resigned amidst allegations of using the legislative process to enrich his family. New Yorkers expect more from new leadership. This should not be excused as ‘the Senate being the Senate’ like the once august body is a temperamental teen. Senators Flanagan and O’Mara need to allow a simple up or down vote on bills supported by a majority of members.”

Letter to the Editor by Lee Willbanks
Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper / Executive Director

Published by the Thousand Islands Sun on June 10th, 2015

View the print article here.

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Save The River’s Summer Raffle!

June 10th, 2015 | Posted by admin

Raffle for Webpage

Click Here to get to a printable entry form. Just fill out all the contact information and return it with your payment to:

Save The River
409 Riverside Drive
Clayton, NY 13624

We will fill out the tickets so you too can be entered to win this exclusive, hand carved, hand painted wood duck decoy and support Save The River.

Drawing to be held on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015.

Good luck and Thank You for Supporting Save The River!

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Muskellunge & Bass Fishing Seasons Opens June 20 on the St. Lawrence River

June 2nd, 2015 | Posted by admin

Significant muskellunge regulation changes are in effect on New York waters for the 2015 season, NYSDEC reminds anglers.

“Although New York has become a destination for bass anglers from around the country, great fishing does not stop with bass,” said Commissioner Martens. “Fishing for muskellunge, northern pike, walleye and channel catfish is expected to be outstanding across the state this year.”11351209_495654987255259_3919474677204537444_n

Statewide (general) regulation changes for muskellunge covering the St. Lawrence River, Great Lakes and tributaries:

  • Opening date remains the same: third Saturday in June (June 20, 2015).
  • Minimum size limit has been increased to 54 inches on Lake Ontario and the Niagara and St. Lawrence rivers to make it consistent with Lake Erie.
  • Besides the muskellunge regulation changes, a number of other regulations changes became effective April 1.

These can be found in the 2015-16 Freshwater Fishing Regulations guide:

Like Save The River’s Catch and Release Program page for up to date fishing news on the River.

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Thank You Calendar Photographers!

June 2nd, 2015 | Posted by admin

2015-16 Calendar Cover

Thank you to all the photographers who generously shared their favorite River photos with Save The River.  We received hundreds of beautiful photos and now have an incredible calendar.

The 2015-16 Calendar is currently on sale and all proceeds directly support Save The River’s river protection programs!

Don’t forget! We accept photos all year long so if you have a favorite photo you’d like us to consider next year, please send it to Kate Breheny, Program Manager at or drop it in the mail to Save The River, 409 Riverside Drive  Clayton, NY 13624.

Thanks and keep up the great work!

To see the complete list of the 2015-16 Calendar Photographers click here.

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