Published on November 7th, 2013 | by growwny0
2014 WNYEA Action Agenda is Unveiled at Annual Meeting
BY THE GROWWNY TEAM
Last night, November 6, 2013, the Western New York Environmental Alliance (WNYEA) held its annual Congress. This annual meeting serves as a way for the over 100 member organizations, affiliates and supporters of the Alliance to gather in celebration of the past year, and to unveil the Alliance’s course of action for 2014. This year’s event took place at the newly-opened UB Educational Opportunities Center. The night opened with some food, drinks and networking while attendees enjoyed a slideshow of all the member organizations’ great work from 2013.
Robert E. Knoer, chairman of the WNYEA, called the meeting to order. Knoer took a moment to honor the previous Board Members:
- Anthony Armstrong
- Judy Einach
- Kerri Li
- Megan Mills Hoffman
- Thomas Herrera-Mishler
He also welcomed to newly elected Board:
- Robert E. Knoer
- Arthur Wheaton
- Loren Smith
- Justin Booth
- Jay Burney
- Brian Dold
- Erin Heaney
- Alexandra McPherson
- Ryan McPherson
- Micaela Shapiro-Shellaby
- Rebekah A. Williams
- Terry L. Yonker
- Lindsay Amico
- Andrew Goldstein
- Karen Wallace
Knoer then congratulated the group as a whole for the enormous amount of progress in 2013 and reminded us all that there is still work to be done in 2014. The Alliance is still GROWing (our favorite pun!), and you can be a part of that process by joining a Working Group or signing up for a listserv.
Knoer then turned the program over to the Issues and Advocacy Process Chair Micaela Shapiro-Shellaby. She explained the advocacy process of the Alliance and asked everyone in the room to congratulate themselves for another great year of hard work. She then called upon the Working and Process Chairs that submitted items to the Annual Action Agenda to come up and unveil their planks and explain them a bit. There are 10 action items on this year’s agenda, which can be viewed here.
Another piece that was unveiled at last night’s event was the Alliance’s new video, which is an overview of what the Alliance is and what it’s doing. Check it out below!
The event was then handed over to the Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Judith Enck. Enck also recognized the great work being done in WNY, and expressed interest in working more with the Alliance in the future. She also touched on some of the work the EPA is currently doing:
- President Obama announced a climate action plan that instructs EPA to conduct carbon reduction throughout industry in power plants for the first time ever. In September 2013, EPA began reducing carbon pollution for new power plants. The EPA hopes to start reducing carbon pollution from existing plants in 2014. Builds on what the EPA is already doing in regard to improving transportation.
- EPA is doing a lot of work to support renewable energy, and is hoping to lead by example. By 2020, 20% of the federal government’s power will come from renewable sources.
- The EPA is doing a large study on water impacts from hydrofracking that will be released next year.
- The EPA has recently released a report on CSOs, which can be found here. 120 tons of sewage is released through CSOs each year. It is an environmental and public health concern. Some of the best solutions are emerging in Upstate NY. Green Infrastructure is a vital component of the solution. Enck is optimistic that progress will occur despite the cost and work required.
- President Obama launched Great Lakes restoration initiative and is the largest ever investment in the Great Lakes.
She also recognized the work of the Alliance:
- The Tonawanda Coke case is a great example of how the EPA and community can work together to make a change. The company is on its way to improving plant operations, but the case is still ongoing.
- Mapping Waste, an official Alliance document that the Waste and Pollution Working Group has been using to inform elected officials of the waste burden in WNY, is a great project that needs to be replicated.
- Enck was glad that there is a clear focus on food and food policy. This is something she hopes to bring to the EPA.