New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos


<P>While serving as Chief of Staff to <A HREF=" York State Assembly">Assembly Member Jonathan L. Bing</A> our office received an honor from the <A HREF="">New York League of Conservation Voters</A> for introducing environmentally friendly legislation that helped enable the <A HREF="">MTA's Select Bus Program</A>.</P>
<P>As someone who grew up in New York City and State the environment including our City and State parks, greenways such as running and bike paths, and waterways are of integral importance. As a child I grew up playing in <A HREF="">Carl Schurz</A> and <A HREF="">John Jay</A> parks, and as an adult I've hiked in our State parks with <A HREF="">Surprise Lake Camp</A>, biked over 75+ miles of our greenways with <A HREF="">Transportation Alternatives</A>, swam across the East River with <A HREF="">NYC Swim</A> and in the Hudson River with the <A HREF="">New York City Triathlon</A>, and trained everywhere with the <A HREF="">Asphalt Green Triathlon</A> team.</P>
<P>As an avid user of our City and States natural resources, you won't find a better advocate for our environment. After all what other candidate would fight to keep the City's rivers clean enough to swim in?</P>

$20 Billion in New York City Spending Directed to Save the Environment by New Law

Friday, September 24, 2021

During Climate Week the New York City Council passed legislation to overhaul an outdated Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) program that will direct $20 billion in city spending to save the environment. The program originally authored by Mayor Bill de Blasio as a Council Member in 2005 was never followed by his administration, which still included references to outdated VHS and cassette tapes, mini-discs, and answering machines. The laws authored by Contracts Chair Ben Kallos adopt new environmental goals, expands coverage to more contracts, and adds new major categories such as furniture and textiles.

TAPinto City Council Passes Bill to Ban Toxins in Parks by Marc Bussanich

City Council Passes Bill to Ban Toxins in Parks

New York, NY—The City Council, on Earth Day, passed unanimously Council Member Ben Kallos’ bill to ban toxic pesticides in parks, playgrounds and public spaces.

It’s a hard-earned victory as the Council Member first introduced the bill, which is sponsored by 31 other Council Members, back in 2015, so the passing of the bill on Earth Day is more than just symbolic.

At a press conference earlier today at the Stanley Isaacs Playground on East 96th Street and 1st Avenue, just before the council voted unanimously, Kallos stood with the Council Speaker, Black community and think tank leaders and environmental advocates to say that the bill bans all city agencies from spraying highly toxic pesticides such as glyphosate.

Kallos also noted it is the most far-reaching legislation to implement pesticide-free land practices in New York City Parks and public spaces.

NY1 City May Soon Ban Chemical Pesticides Like Roundup From Public Spaces by Ari Ephraim Feldman

City May Soon Ban Chemical Pesticides Like Roundup From Public Spaces

In 2015 and again in 2017, dozens of young students from the school came to the City Council to “testify” on behalf of a proposed law: a ban on chemical pesticides and herbicides in all public areas, including parks and public housing. 

They brought homemade posters and signs, and chanted: “Hey hey, ho ho, toxic pesticides and herbicides have got to go!” 

Yet for six years, versions of that ban languished in the chamber. The most recent ban, Int. 1524, submitted in April 2019 just a few days before Earth Day by Council Member Ben Kallos, now has 32 co-sponsors -- two shy of a veto-proof majority.

A main obstacle to the legislation, Kallos and one of the bill's authors say, is the city Parks Department, which is responsible for the vast majority of city pesticide and herbicide use.

“We’ve been unable to persuade the Parks Department that they don't need to spray toxic chemicals that can hurt their workers and our families and children,” Kallos said. “I’ll take weeds all day long over cancer. I don't know why this is such a big problem.”

AM New York These New York City lawmakers had the best environmental records in 2020 by Robert Pozarycki

These New York City lawmakers had the best environmental records in 2020

Manhattan’s 10 City Council members are keeping it 100 when it comes to protecting the environment, according to the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV).

The Manhattan delegation at City Hall scored 100% on the NYLCV’s annual City Council Scorecard for 2020, as the 10 members actively supported a dozen eco-friendly bills presented last year. It’s the first time in the scorecard’s history that an entire borough’s City Council delegation had a perfect rating, the NYLCV reported.

The grades were primarily based on the legislators’ support or opposition to a slate of 12 environmental bills before the City Council in 2020. The legislation included topics such as transforming Rikers Island from a jail to a green energy hub; boosting rent regulation; phasing out diesel school buses; banning plastic straws; permitting e-bike and e-scooter usage; and creating more organic waste drop-off sites and recycling programs.

New York County Politics Verdant Displays Latest Turbines on Roosevelt Island by Michael Rock

Verdant Displays Latest Turbines on Roosevelt Island

Meanwhile, Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side, East Harlem, Roosevelt Island), celebrated the latest development in Verdant’s RITE Project, expressing hope that it will inspire greater production and use of green energy in the city. “Expanding the ways our City gets renewable energy is a must,” he said. 

“I am proud to represent an area harnessing the power of the East River for energy,” said Kallos. “It is a brilliant idea that perhaps the rest of New York City can consider when deciding how to power our neighborhoods. If we are going to reach all of our environmental goals this is one way we can get there faster.” 

Letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio proposing $15.24 billion in potential savings and revenue in order to invest $827 million in spending on programs that support children, families, seniors, and our planet

Monday, June 15, 2020

As we face unprecedented times and a budget that must-see painful cuts, we should look for possible waste and opportunities for revenues and savings. I have proposed $15.24 billion in potential savings and revenue for our city’s budget in order to invest $827 million in spending on programs that support children, families, seniors, and our planet that will reduce costs and generate revenues. 

AM New York C.B.5 Parks and Public Spaces Committee votes to support chemical pesticide ban by Chriss Williams

C.B.5 Parks and Public Spaces Committee votes to support chemical pesticide ban

Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Carlina Rivera’s bill banning the use of chemical pesticides in city green spaces is gathering community support. 

Manhattan’s Community Board 5 Parks and Public Spaces Committee, which covers a center slice of Midtown from 59th to 14th Sts., unanimously passed a resolution in favor the legislation on Monday Feb. 3. 

“It’s a very dangerous chemical,” said spokesperson for Councilmember Rivera Jeremy Unger. “This is long overdue.” Under the bill, the Parks Department would be prohibited from using pesticides with glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular weed killer Roundup. In 2013, Parks sprayed Roundup 1,300 times. Since 2014 the agency has cut their use of glyphosate-based weed killers by 70 percent, a spokesperson said. When Parks does use glyphosate, it does not spray the chemical inside of playgrounds, dog runs or “when the public is in the immediate vicinity” the spokesperson added. 

At the meeting, Unger cited a 2015 World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC) study which linked glyphosate to cancer as evidence to do away with the synthetic weed killer. But there is not a complete consensus in the scientific community on the effects of the compound on humans which some members of the community board brought up. 

“There is substantial debate and controversy and it’s not settled,” said committee member Tod Shapiro. He then asked Unger if the “feel good legislation” was sort of a liberal “hobby horse political thing, divorced from actual substance?”

Two years after the WHO study, the European Commission reauthorized the pesticide until 2022. And earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reiterated their 2019 stance on the chemical stating that there are “no risks of concern to human health” when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label.  The EPA decision comes a year after high-profile case were a California couple claimed they got non-Hodgkins Lymphoma after using Roundup for years. 

The Verge New York City is cracking down on plastic bottles by Justine Calma

New York City is cracking down on plastic bottles

New York City is cracking down on plastic bottles

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order to eliminate plastic bottles from city agencies and properties

USA - Technology - Wired NextFestPhoto by Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order yesterday banning the sale of single-use plastic beverage bottles on city-owned and -leased properties — which means the bottles could vanish from an area nearly equivalent to a quarter of the city. The move also bars city agencies from purchasing or selling beverages packaged in single-use plastic containers.

The move would eliminate at least 1 million single-use plastic beverage bottles that the city buys each year, according to the executive order. It could also have wider-ranging effects since the city owns or leases over 17,000 properties spread over an area about twice the size of Manhattan (roughly 43,000 acres). That includes city parks — and, by extension, The Trump Organization’s two skating rinks in Central Park and golf course in Ferry Point Park in the Bronx.


“Take that Trump,” city councilman Ben Kallos tells The Verge. Kallos introduced two bills in 2018 that would stop the city from selling single-use plastic bottles on city property. He’s still pushing for the city council to pass legislation to codify the ban into law, in case another mayor down the line tries to undo de Blasio’s executive order.

“We can change what normal is and get to a more sustainable future,” Kallos says. “We don’t have a choice because there is a climate emergency and we can show Trump the right way to do it.”

In 2017, Donald Trump ended restrictions on bottled water sales in US National Parks that had been in place since 2011. He’s also rolled back dozens of environmental protections since taking office. The Verge reached out to The Trump Organization’s golf course and ice rinks in Manhattan and did not receive a response by time of publication.

The new ban in New York City would go into effect by January 1st, 2021. It applies to bottles 21 fluid ounces or less, and some exceptions would be made “where reusable options are infeasible,” according to the executive order. It’s also important to note that New York City tap water is considered safe to drink, which makes the transition to reusable containers more feasible than in places like Flint, Michigan, where tap water has made residents sick.


New York City would likely become the first municipality to limit plastic bottle sales for not just water, but all beverages. San Francisco decided in 2014 to stop selling bottled water on city property and expanded that policy to San Francisco International Airport last year. Concord, Massachusetts, passed a city ordinance in 2012 ending the sale of bottled water anywhere in the town.

Plastic pollution is covering the planet, making its way into the bellies of sea life and exacerbating the climate crisis because it’s made with fossil fuels. Less than 10 percent of all plastics that have been thrown away have actually been recycled.

“They are hurting the earth,” de Blasio said as he signed the executive order yesterday. “We don’t need them. Time to get rid of them.”