NYS Senators Receive Failing Grades in Preliminary Environmental Scorecard

State Lawmakers Must Pass Green "Super Bills" before Session's End to Raise Scores

ALBANY, NY (06/08/2011)(readMedia)-- Fifty eight members of the New York State Senate received failing grades today in a preliminary scorecard released by EPL/Environmental Advocates. The group tracks state legislators' votes on bills that would affect New York's air, land, water, wildlife, and public health to produce an annual environmental "Voters' Guide." The State Senate's preliminary scores for the 2011 Legislative Session are based on only six significant environmental bills. Currently, four senators enjoy passing grades: Thomas Duane, Mike Gianaris, Liz Krueger, and Jose Serrano. The complete environmental scorecard, including Assembly scores, will be released this fall.

"For a report card they'd be proud to take home to their constituents, the State Senate needs to pass a few key bills to benefit New York's air, water, land and families," said David Gahl, EPL/Environmental Advocates. "Otherwise, the Senate needs to come back for summer school."

The State Senate's average score stands at 32. The highest score is 67; the lowest is 13. Members of the Democratic Party Conference scored an average of 41. Majority Party Republicans scored an average of 24.

Improving scores will largely depend on support and floor action for legislation that includes the environmental community's Super Bills.

A lawmaker's score is determined by his or her voting record on bills that have received an evaluation memo from Environmental Advocates of New York. Scores are weighted by the number of "trees" (good for the environment) or "smokestacks" (bad for the environment) awarded to each bill. Scores are also heavily influenced by support for or opposition to the Super Bills. These bills represent the environmental community's top priorities identified annually by the leaders of organizations from across the state. The 2011 Super Bills include:

• 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.

So far, the failing grades are heavily influenced by senators' votes on legislation that would have a negative impact on the environment if the bills were to become law. These include votes on Article X (S.191), the Gas Tax Holiday (S.4880B), and the Farm Dam Safety Exemption (S.791). Passage of additional "smokestack" legislation, or bills with negative environmental impacts, such as the Vested Rights Bill (S.4554B), would further lower Senate scores for the year.

Preliminary scores have been calculated on votes for six bills, as well as co-sponsorships and committee votes on the Super Bills.

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.


Last Name - SCORE

Adams - 35

Addabbo - 48

Alesi - 26

Avella - 59

Ball - 26

Bonacic - 26

Breslin - 28

Carlucci - 20

DeFrancisco - 20

Diaz, Sr. - 28

Dilan - 41

Duane - 61

Espaillat - 33

Farley - 20

Flanagan - 20

Fuschillo, Jr. - 26

Gallivan - 13

Gianaris - 61

Golden - 20

Griffo - 26

Grisanti - 39

Hannon - 26

Hassell-Thompson - 37

Huntley - 22

Johnson - 26

Kennedy - 26

Klein - 26

Krueger - 61

Kruger - 33

Lanza - 26

Larkin, Jr. - 20

LaValle - 46

Libous - 13

Little - 26

Marcellino - 26

Martins - 13

Maziarz - 33

McDonald - 20

Montgomery - 57

Nozzolio - 26

O'Mara - 20

Oppenheimer - 57

Parker - 54

Peralta - 33

Perkins - 55

Ranzenhofer - 20

Ritchie - 20

Rivera - 48

Robach - 33

Saland - 20

Sampson - 43

Savino - 22

Serrano - 67

Seward - 20

Skelos - 13

Smith - 16

Squadron - 48

Stavisky - 48

Stewart-Cousins - 59

Valesky - 20

Young - 26

Zeldin - 26



Max Score 67

Min Score 13

D Average 41

R Average 24

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. Visit www.eplvotersguide.org to learn more.