Senate Rollback Plan Would Turn New York into West Virginia
Statement from Peter Iwanowicz, Executive Director
“One need only look at the state of West Virginia to get a sense of what happens when standards to protect public health and safety are too lax or are rolled back. Yet, leaders of the state Senate proposed setting New York on a similar path by prioritizing industry wishes over public interest.
This plan is as disappointing as it is tone deaf. Under no circumstance should public health and environmental protections be viewed solely through the lens of economic development.
Senators passed many of the laws that have imposed the regulations they now object. They are already empowered to identify regulations which do not match the intended spirit of their laws, and pass amendments to laws that are no longer workable or relevant.
For example, the report that was created to make the case for “reform” identifies the landmark Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2006 as a key target for rollbacks – a law championed by current Senator Carl Marcellino (R-Long Island). When the Senate passed it the law drew the support of health, environment and business interests because it would reduce dangerous diesel pollution from state vehicles while creating manufacturing jobs upstate. Since claiming credit for passing the law, senators have led efforts to delay its implementation. Its full rollback is now touted by these same senators as a benefit to industry.
The Senate’s report amounts to a list of the gripes and complaints conveyed by special interests who were specifically invited to attend the Majority Coalition’s regulatory hearings. Yet their legislation does not require any of these wish list items to be cut. It would instead saddle environmental, health, child welfare and other experts with justifying best practices, while placing final say over thousands of protections in the hands of Empire State Development.
You cannot put a price on healthy air to breathe, clean water to drink, or the sense of peace that comes from knowing our state does not allow polluters to ride roughshod through our communities. The Majority Coalition’s plan benefits special interests at the expense of our families and neighbors.”