NYS Senator Bill Perkins Recognized for Going Green in 2010 Environmental Voters' Guide
Senator & AG Hopeful Eric Schneiderman Among Top Scores
ALBANY, NY (10/05/2010)(readMedia)-- In the only scorecard that grades New York State lawmakers according to their votes on bills that could help or harm our air, land and water, today EPL/Environmental Advocates honored Senator Antoine Thompson (D-Buffalo) and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) as "Legislators of the Year" for 2010. Legislator of the Year honors are awarded to the public figures that have done the most to advance environmentally beneficial policy. EPL also honored Senator Bill Perkins (D-New York) as a driving force behind several environmental successes in the 2010 Legislative Session, most notably requirements to clean up home heating oil that will help millions of New Yorkers breathe easier. Senator Perkins was also instrumental in helping stop plans to expand a garbage incinerator on Long Island and was the co-author of a bill that would prohibit the use of wheel weights containing lead. For details and individual scores, visit www.eplvotersguide.org.
"Ensuring a clean environment is a public value we all have a responsibility and interest in protecting; not just for our benefit, but for generations to come," said Senator Bill Perkins. "I look forward to continuing the fight for sound environmental policy, both in the 30th senatorial district, and throughout the state."
"Despite a bruising state budget battle that gouged environmental funding, the 2010 New York State Legislative Session included important victories. EPL/Environmental Advocates commends Senator Perkins as one of the lawmakers who stood up for New York's air, land and water," said Robert Moore, executive director of EPL/Environmental Advocates. "The Voters' Guide is New York's one-and-only scorecard that grades state lawmakers according to their votes on environmental bills. This year's scorecard also takes a critical look at how fiscal decisions set back environmental protections."
Sharing Legislator of the Year honors are Senator Antoine Thompson (D-Buffalo) with a score of 82 and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), who received a score of 90. Among other good works, the two Legislators of the Year were recognized for their efforts on the environmental community's priority "Super Bills," including a new law that requires electronic waste recycling.
And to celebrate his last year in office, Senator George Winner (R-Elmira) earned this year's Oil Slick for unwavering support of the oil and gas industry while he benefited from their business and welcomed their political contributions. As the threat of the environmentally questionable practice of fracking for natural gas grows, Senator Winner's misdeeds shed light on his true allegiance-to the oil and gas industry.
State Senator Eric Schneiderman (D-New York) was among the top scorers with an 85. Scores for other New York City legislators include: Senator Thomas Duane, 85; Senator Liz Krueger, 85; Senator Jose Serrano, 85; Senator Daniel Squadron, 82; Assembly Member Jonathan Bing, 90; Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat, 89; Assembly Member Herman Farrell, Jr., 90; Assembly Member Deborah Glick, 90, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, 90; Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, 90; Assembly Member Micah Kellner, 89; Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, 90; and Assembly Member Kenneth Wright, 90.
Every member of the State Legislature was dinged for their failure to restore Governor David Paterson's big cuts to environmental funding in the state budget this year, resulting in lower scores across the board. And although the Governor is not scored, the Voters' Guide places the blame for this year's environmental budget debacle squarely on the Governor's shoulders.
On average, Republican senators scored worse than their Democratic Party colleagues (53 to 81). Senate Conference Leader John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) received a score of 78, while President Malcolm Smith (D-St.Albans) received a 79. Minority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) received a 49, up from 21 last year.
In the Assembly, Republican members scored a 57 on average, while their Democratic Party colleagues scored an 88. Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-NYC) is among top scores with 90, Majority Leader Ronald Canestrari (D-Albany) received an 86, and Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Geneva) received a 43.
As in past years, the Assembly passed all three of the environmental community's Super Bills; one became law. Electronic waste ("E-waste") recycling requirements will keep toxic chemicals from used electronics such as PCs and TVs out of our landfills. The Super Bills are selected by the Green Panel, which includes groups from across the state, as the environmental community's legislative priorities.
In addition to the E-waste bill, the 2010 Super Bills include the Global Warming Pollution Control Act, which would reduce climate pollution 80 percent by the year 2050 and the Environmental Access to Justice Act, which would restore New Yorkers' right to enforce environmental review laws.
EPL/Environmental Advocates calculates lawmakers' scores using the ratings of its sister organization, Environmental Advocates of New York. Legislators earn between one and three points respectively for votes in support of bills that received one, two or three "trees." Tree-rated bills are those deemed beneficial to the environment. Likewise, legislators earn between one and three points for voting against bills that were give a rating of one, two or three "smokestacks." Smokestack-rated bills are those deemed detrimental to the environment. Votes on priority "Super Bills" are given extra weight in the guide.
The Voters' Guide is the first and only record of New York State lawmakers' votes on legislation that will impact the environment. The Guide has been produced and distributed statewide for more than 40 years.
EPL/Environmental Advocates was founded in 1969 as one of the first organizations in the nation to advocate for the future of a state's environment and the health of its citizens. Through lobbying, advocacy, coalition building, citizen education and policy development, EPL/Environmental Advocates has been New York's environmental conscience-ensuring that environmental laws are enforced; that new measures are enacted when necessary; and that the public is informed of, and participates in, important environmental policy debates.