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For Release: Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Statement from NYS DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos on Earth Day 2020 and 50th Anniversary of DEC

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the creation of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Because we mark these milestones during the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, today is less a celebration of our accomplishments over the last five decades and more a sober recommitment to move forward using science to guide us. As Governor Cuomo has powerfully stated, we have entered a new normal with the environment. The state's abundant fresh water is threatened by emerging contaminants, communities are burdened by air pollution, and we face an existential threat from climate change. New York has taken historic steps to protect our environment, but we cannot safeguard it for future generations without strong and dedicated partners.

New York is the birthplace of the modern environmental movement. For five decades, we have used science to guide our decisions, policies, and regulations. The ongoing response to COVID-19 should remind us all to let science guide us to best address the challenges of the next 50 years. I thank DEC's dedicated staff, past and present, and our many public and private partners, for providing the strong foundation that will help us continue our legacy of environmental protection for all New Yorkers.

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