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North Country News
Thu June 13, 2013
Senate Fails Environmental Scorecard
With barely a week left, Environmental Advocates of New York says the state Senate is ending the session with its worst environmental record in decades.
With a name like Environmental Advocates, you would expect its members to be upset if the legislature did not adequately address their priority environmental issues. The advocacy group routinely issues grades on Senate and Assembly members voting environmental records. Executive Director Dave Gahl released their latest assessment this week, saying the Senate’s grades are pathetic.
Environmental Advocates says the Senate voted on six pieces of environmental legislation, and claims two were environmentally hazardous. Gahl says most of their so-called “super bills” have yet to see action in the state Senate.
While the lowest scores of 28 points were shared by Independent Democratic Conference Senator David Valesky of Oneida and Republican Senators Cathy Young of Jamestown and Bill Larkin of Cornwall-on-Hudson, Gahl says it’s the senate leadership that has blocked action on environmental legislation.
New York Public Interest Research Group Senior Environmental Associate Laura Haight calls the results of he scorecard disturbing, especially in the wake of rhetoric that promised environmental progress.
While the environmental groups are disappointed by the lack of action in the Senate, they applaud the state assembly for its environmental actions this session. That includes passage this week of a bill creating a mandatory mercury thermostat collection program. And it’s a measure that New York League of Conservation Voters Legislative Director Ricardo Gotla says is one of the few that could pass both chambers.
Environmental Advocates annually identifies pieces of high priority legislation and ranks them with other significant bills. It then scores legislators on their activity on those bills.