|RADON IS NOT A NEW ISSUE. BUT IT COULD BE ONE WHOSE TIME HAS COME.
Since 3 winters ago, Sane Energy Project has run an annual volunteer citizen radon test to establish baseline readings in NYC kitchen gas and to measure any elevations as the gas supply changes. Radon was an issue in lawsuits against the Spectra pipeline, and it has been part of many public comments since. Two years ago, Damascus Citizens petitioned then-City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to hold hearings on radon in shale gas. Quinn refused. But early in 2012, Sane visited Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and explained our concerns about radon.
AND THEN AN EXTRAORDINARY THING HAPPENED: She didn't bat it away. She didn't say it was out of her jurisdiction. She didn't hesitate. Assemblymember Rosenthal said, "We should write a bill about it." And then she did. Maybe you're not impressed that a legislator in Albany took positive, meaningful action, but we sure are.
Even more extraordinary? The "same-as" cosponsor is Diane Savino, member of the IDC, which controls the State Senate. The Senate has become known as the place where "good bills go to die." But maybe not this time. Why? Senator Savino represents Staten Island, a place with existing high radon levels and very high cancer rates as is. In her district, they can't afford any additional radon, so if you're from Staten Island, please contact her, thank her for her support, and ask her to get the rest of the Senate behind the bill.
It's simple: just show up on Friday: 250 Broadway, across from City Hall, 19th floor at 10am.
Tomorrow, the hearing on radon that we have wanted for years will finally take place. This public hearing will serve as a prelude to bringing the bill to a vote in Albany. WE NEED ALL HANDS ON DECK FOR A BIG SHOWING AT THE HEARING. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
Getting this bill passed this session is crucial, because the Spectra and Transco pipelines are already in service and if the Rockaway pipeline gets built, that could mean three new pipelines feeding high-radon Marcellus gas to NYC by winter, 2015. Other proposed pipelines statewide would have the same issues should they be built.
Radon is a public health issue, whatever side of the fracking debate one is on. If you cook with a gas stove, do laundry with a gas dryer, or run a gas boiler, you want to have the minimal assurance that the gas being delivered does not contain elevated radon levels. This is a simple matter of consumer protection and basic precaution.
Details of the hearing and the application to testify can be found here. Citizens are encouraged to submit written comment at the hearing or by May 16th. (Sane Energy Project will be testifying.) Attendees must pass through a security screening at 250 Broadway, across from City Hall, on the 19th floor, from 10am until testimony concludes, or by 2pm latest. Wheelchair accessible.
If you can't attend, please do this instead:
Call your representatives (state and local) and make sure they know about the hearing. Ask them to attend and to cosponsor the bill. Here's a suggested call script, please adapt to your own words. It's especially important to call if you live upstate, where fewer legislators are yet aware of the radon issue and how all the planned infrastructure makes this as big an issue for rural residents as city dwellers.
If your rep has already signed on as a cosponsor, please call and thank them for doing so, and remind them to vote YES when the bill comes to the floor (hey, legislators see more than 2,000 bills each session, sometimes they need a reminder which ones the public thinks are important).
The hearing will also be live streamed:
The link has not yet been published but if you can't attend the hearing, you can still watch it. Check our facebook page Friday morning for the link. And while you're on facebook, be sure to extend thanks to Assemblymember Rosenthal for getting the bill this far (also congratulate her on getting the GMO bill out of committee, another effort we heartily support)!
A City Council resolution is also in the works!
Brooklyn Councilman Steve Levin has sponsored a City Council resolution in support of the State bill. The reso is undergoing some updates for the current session. Please alert your local council rep about the resolution and make sure they support it. We've never had a city council as progressive as the current one, so again, WE ACTUALLY HAVE A SHOT HERE!