– Environmental Advocates Calls for July Senate Session

June 26, 2013

For Immediate Release: June 26, 2013
Travis Proulx: (518) 462-5526 x238, [email protected]

Environmental Advocates Calls for July Senate Session

Statement from Dave Gahl, Executive Director

“In recent years, Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders would high-five and highlight their achievements in the Governor’s office at the end of each session. But the silence from the leaders this year speaks volumes about the mood in Albany.

While the Senate has historically been obstinate about environmental protections, the situation has worsened in the years Dean Skelos has controlled the chamber. We had every reason to believe a coalition of Republicans and moderate Democrats would finally break the logjam, but the Senate’s failure to move environmental and public health legislation shows how wrong we were.

Instead, 2013 is a year that stands out for a number of reasons, including:

·       The devastating toll of recent storms on the districts of the very senators who blocked legislative progress.

·       The disregard for democracy that Senators Skelos and Jeff Klein demonstrated in stalling two pieces of legislation which both had more cosponsors than were needed for passage.

Legislation to close the loophole that allows fracking’s hazardous waste to be disposed of differently than other energy industries had bipartisan support from 34 cosponsors. It is a bill those for and against fracking could unite behind. It never saw the light of day.

And legislation that would remove the most dangerous chemicals from children’s products in 2018 had a remarkable 37 cosponsors, including seven Republicans and three members of the Independent Democratic Conference. The bill never made it out of Mark Grisanti’s Environmental Conservation Committee.

There is no excuse for killing non-controversial legislation that would very likely pass with unanimous support. The Senate’s functionality fell to historic lows in 2013, and we will all pay the price if they do not return to work.

The Senate’s work is not done. State legislators can return to Albany at any time of their choosing, and they should return to Albany this July to complete the tasks before them.”