Votes on clean energy, wetlands regulation, a battery collection program and disposable bags helped to separate high and low-scoring state legislators on an environmental scorecard.
The scorecard was released Wednesday by EPL/Environmental Advocates and includes all 213 New York legislators, who were evaluated based on their votes on 32 environmental measures (with some measures only counting for senators and others for assembly members.)
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Rome, received the only perfect score of 100 among local legislators. By contrast, fellow local Assemblyman Kenneth Blankenbush, R-Black River, received a 67; Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, a 62; and Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-New Hartford, a 72.
In the Senate, Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, scored a 68; Sen. James Seward, R-Oneonta, a 68; and Sen. David Valesky, D-Oneida, a 79.
Environmental Advocates included a state budget allocation of $25 billion for clean water infrastructure and the establishment of a Drinking Water Quality Council among environmental victories from the last legislative session. Eight more pieces of environmentally friendly legislation — including a prescription drug take-back program, rules for oil tankers on the Hudson River and a fund to support residential construction that meets green and affordable housing standards — wait for the governor’s signature, according to the group.
"One of the most important issues is protecting the environment for our generation and for future generations," Brindisi said. "I have always had a strong commitment to improving the quality of the water we drink, the air we breathe and the other common-sense measures that will improve the environment and public health in New York."
All three local senators voted for two measures to prevent fees being charged for plastic bags and for one to exempt some petroleum facilities from paying a portion of their fees to a state oil spill fund. The Republican senators also voted to have NYSERDA divert clean energy funding to subsidies for nuclear power plants and voted against a measure to require anyone getting certain state funds to use Energy Star equipment.
In the Assembly, all three local Republican members voted a bill to create climate and clean energy goals; add the right to clean air, water and a healthful environment to the state’s bill of rights; allow the state to regulate all freshwater wetland of an acre or more; and let the town of Bethlehem impose a real estate transfer tax for a community preservation fund.