Tonawanda News

October 9, 2012

Local pols ranked on environment

Staff Reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — An environmental advocacy group released its annual scorecard showing legislators had the least productive year for New York state’s ecological agenda in recent memory. 

The scorecard was formulated on a points system put together by Environmental Advocates of New York. The regional average based off a total of 100 points for all of Western New York’s senators was a paltry 32 points. The Assembly average, by comparison, was nearly

60 points.

While Democratic Assemblyman Sean Ryan (91) was ranked at the top of the list of pro-environment bills he backed, according to the report, Republican Sens. Michael R. Ranzenhofer (28) and Mark Grisanti (35) both came in toward the bottom. 

Assemblyman Sean Hanna, who represents the suburbs of Rochester and was a former regional director for the Department of Environmental Conservation, is considered to have the worst voting record. 

Grisanti, who holds a commanding lead over his Democratic opponent Mike Amodeo according to recent polls, is chairman of the state Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. 

Democratic Assemblyman Robin Schimminger scored just over the half-way mark at 52, while Sen. George Maziarz had one of the lowest scores in the local political lineup at 31. 

Overall, Western New York politicians’ scores were mixed with the Senate ranking near the bottom of voting records. Many in the Assembly were closer to the median range.  

The last year of legislative sessions was one of the “potentially most damaging” according to Rob Moore, executive director of Environmental Advocates. 

“Few regions had as dramatic a contrast in voting records as Western New York,” Moore said in a statement. “We saw scores fall across the board for each of the legislative conferences based on a variety of factors, including the lack of action on bills most critical to our environmental health, as well as an increase in the passage of bills that actually do harm.” 

The 2012 New York State Legislative Session was the first time since 2006 that none of the environmental community’s priority “Super Bills” made it to the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk. Additionally, Cuomo made little effort to prioritize any pro-environment legislation, waiting until late in the session to introduce his solar jobs proposal, according to Moore. 

“While the Assembly failed to act on the governor’s solar energy bill, which was not introduced until the end of session, their legislative agenda did recognize that environmental protections and economic development are not mutually exclusive,” Moore said. “Sadly, others members of the legislature not only voted against our environment, but sought to dismantle prior conservation victories.”

For the complete scorecard, visit www.eplvotersguide.org.