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Harmful algal blooms, seen here at Ferril Lake in Denver, Colorado on June 30, 2016, are increasing in lakes and rivers across the U.S. Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post / Getty Images

During summer in central New York, residents often enjoy a refreshing dip in the region's peaceful lakes.

But sometimes swimming is off-limits because of algae blooms that can make people sick.

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People on the Seaside Heights boardwalk as New Jersey begins to reopen beaches and boardwalks amid the novel coronavirus pandemic on May 16, 2020. Yana Paskova / Getty Images

As the nation prepares for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer season, beaches have started to allow access to the public, but have asked people to maintain social distancing guidelines, as CNN reported.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

People wearing protective masks congregate in Times Square as New York continues to shelter-in-place during the coronavirus pandemic on April 19, 2020 in New York City. John Lamparski / Getty Images

One-fifth of New York City may have already had the new coronavirus, initial results of antibody testing suggest.

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A volunteer sets up beds in what will be a field hospital in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on April 8, 2020 in New York City. The cathedral has partnered with Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital and is expected to have more than 400 beds when opened. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

New York state now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any single country save the U.S. as a whole.

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A man carries plastic shopping bags in Times Square on May 5, 2018 in New York City. Kena Betancur / VIEWpress / Corbis / Getty Images

Nearly one year after New York became the second state in the nation to pass a ban on grocery store plastic bags — the law is going into effect on Sunday.

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Pump Train in Cranberry Street Tunnel after Hurricane Sandy. MTA New York City Transit / Leonard Wiggins / Wikimedia

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on New York City's transportation system. Storm surge pushed a flood of seawater into vehicle tunnels, railyards, ferry terminals, and subway lines.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act on July 18, 2019 in New York City. Scott Heins / Getty Images

By Cullen Howe

When Governor Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) into law in July 2019, it cemented New York State as a national leader in ramping up clean energy and the broader fight against climate change. In addition to reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050, the law requires that the state obtain 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 (and that it be emissions-free by 2040). No state has a more aggressive emissions reduction target.

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R.Tsubin / Moment / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

With industrial hemp becoming federally legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, research has had to work hard to catch up after decades of prohibition.

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Members of Fossil Free Tompkins march at a parade in Ithaca. Fossil Free Tompkins

By Molly Taft

Lisa Marshall isn't your typical activist. For one thing, she's not into crowds. "I don't really like rallies," Marshall, a mom of three from upstate New York, said. "They're a little stressful — not my favorite thing."

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Members of the NY Renews coalition gathered before New York lawmakers reached a deal on the Climate and Communities Protection Act. NYRenews / Twitter

By Julia Conley

Grassroots climate campaigners in New York applauded on Monday after state lawmakers reached a deal on sweeping climate legislation, paving the way for the passage of what could be some of the country's most ambitious environmental reforms.

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More than 700 New Yorkers marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on April 18 to demand Gov. Andrew Cuomo to block the controversial Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline. Erik McGregor / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

New York's environmental regulatory body rejected a controversial natural gas pipeline Wednesday, The New York Times reported.

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