WAMC News, North Country News
5:17 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Environmental Advocates Rate New York Legislative Session Poorly

New York Legislators are working through a sea of bills in an attempt to adjourn the session today.  But as they wrap up their work, environmental advocates are already saying it is one of the worst sessions for environmental stewardship in years.

Fracking dominated the public consciousness during this legislative session, but there were a host of other environmental issues that the state Senate and Assembly reviewed.  Most did not pass.   The New York League of Conservation Voters worked with a coalition to develop their priorities. Spokesman Dan Hendrick says what started out as a very promising session for all things green, withered away as the session progressed.

New York Public Interest Research Group Senior Environmental Associate Laura Height says this is the least productive session on environmental issues she can recall.

Height says one of the problems was that the Senate and Assembly bills often did not contain matching language.

Adirondack Mountain Club Executive Director Neil Woodworth says there were a few important bills that passed

Woodworth says the biggest environmental issue in New York has been hydraulic fracturing.  He is not pleased that the state Senate failed to act on some key legislation related to that process.

He adds that the Assembly passed a hydro-fracking health assessment bill that the Senate did not act on.

Advocates are hopeful that a bill pending on today’s calendar, the sewage pollution right to know act, will pass. It would tighten rules regarding notification of communities when sewage spills into waterways.