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Local Lawmakers Get Failing Grade From Environmental Group

Environmental Report Card
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Utica, NY (WIBX) - Several local officials received failing grades from an organization that tracks state legislators’ votes on bills that would affect New York’s air, land, water, wildlife, and public health. EPL/Environmental Advocates produces an annual report card to inform the public about environmental decisions elected officials are making. Today, the group named 58 members of the State Senate who received failing grades. Saima Anjam, Program Associate for the group said, “We like to put this out and to just let them know that they should pass more good bills and really have an opportunity to change things.”

She said Senators Joseph Griffo, James Seward and David Valesky all made the bad report card list. “Senator Griffo’s score is actually above the Republican average but it’s still failing. If they were to pass another couple of bills before they leave for the year they could really do so much better. Senators Seward and Valesky are also in the same boat but they have this really great opportunity to do something more for the environment,” she said. Anjam said if the lawmakers work to approve the environmental bills currently awaiting passage, it would not only improve their scores–but also protect the environment.

The 2011 Bills Supported By EPL/Environmental Advocates Are:

  • The Water Withdrawal Permitting Program (A.5318A Sweeney / S.3798 Grisanti) would protect New York’s waters from wasteful withdrawals by requiring anyone with the capacity to withdraw more than 100,000 gallons of water per day to first obtain a permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • Closure of the Hazardous Waste Loophole for Fracking Fluid Disposal (A.7013 Sweeney / S.4616 Avella) would end special exemptions that allow the gas industry to circumvent requirements for hazardous waste disposal. This bill would update state law so that all waste resulting from gas drilling that meets the definition of hazardous waste be treated as such and subject to all regulations related to its generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal.
  • Complete Streets (A.1863 Gantt / S.5411 Fuschillo / S.1332 Dilan) would ensure that New York’s future roads take into account the needs of all users-bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and passengers, motorists, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities-and help reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Solar Industry Development & Jobs Act (A.5713 Englebright / S.4178 Maziarz) would create new jobs and jumpstart investment in New York’s growing solar energy industry by requiring state utilities and energy service companies to purchase solar renewable energy credits.
  • The Global Warming Pollution Cap (A.5346 Sweeney / S.2742 Avella) would require that climate-altering pollution from all sources is cut by 80 percent by the year 2050. These are the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say will help us avert the worst impacts of climate change.

Anjam says the highest score a lawmaker can receive is 67 and the lowest is 13. Griffo received a 26; Seward and Valesky received 20 points each–all failing grades. Overall the group says when it comes to environmental issues, Democrats have a 41 point average, while Republicans have a 24 point average.

The complete report can be found by following this link: http://readme.readmedia.com/NYS-Senators-Receive-Failing-Grades-in-Preliminary-Environmental-Scorecard/2509118. To learn more about EPL/Environmental Advocates visit, www.eplvotersguide.org.

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