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Governor signs law to protect waterways

On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation to protect New York’s waterways and natural habitat from the environmental effects of invasive species.

“This legislation ensures that the regulations governing invasive species are appropriate for New York’s farming community and plant nurseries, while also protecting the environment,” Cuomo said.

Invasive species threaten New York’s environment by out-competing native species, diminishing biological diversity, and changing whole ecosystems, according to a release. Invasive species are widely available in commerce for landscaping and aquaria, and include hydrilla, an aggressive aquatic invader that chokes out native plants, clogs water intakes and impedes recreation.

Other invasive species, such as the emerald ash borer and the Asian long-horned beetle, can devastate New York’s timber and forest products industry. Millions of dollars are spent annually in the United States to control such species.

The new law provides the departments of Environmental Conservation and Agriculture and Markets with the authority to regulate the sale, purchase, possession, introduction, importation and transport of invasive species and establishes penalties for those who violate such regulations.

The law takes effect in 180 days.

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