June 27, 2013

Post NY Legislative Session

OK ... the Assembly and Senate have now gone home.  So what now? It is time to digest just where we are in the energy/environmental controversy for our state.  The WatchDog Report has an excellent article by Loren Baum digests what has happened on a full scope of topics over this past year.  The following is an excerpt about the gridlock that prevails and especially it's affects for New Yorkers concerned about fracking:
Entering the year we had high hopes for real action between the rhetoric pledging significant action following Superstorm Sandy and the Senate’s first coalition government. We had every reason to believe that environmental protections stood a better chance of passage with Democratic Senator Jeff Klein leading a so-called group of “moderates” alongside Republican Senator Dean Skelos and a conference which has historically been difficult to move on issues ranging from protecting New Yorker’s from fracking to our kids from toxic chemicals.

How wrong we were.

Instead, for the second year in a row, the state Senate will not deliver a single Super Bill (the highest priority item for the environmental community) to the Governor for his signature. These bills are common sense measures to deal with big environmental challenges: protecting against the dangers of fracking, building a future powered by clean energy, and protecting our families from toxic chemicals.
On issue after issue, Senate leaders Skelos and Klein refused to allow simple votes on legislation, and stymied proposals advanced by anyone other than members of their Majority Coalition. Worse yet, even many of those proposals sponsored by members of the ruling Independent Democratic and Republican conferences stalled in Senator Mark Grisanti’s Environmental Conservation Committee. Here’s a quick status report on where those issues stand in the upper house:
Fracking
We continued to lead diverse coalitions opposing irresponsible fracking in New York. We garnered 34 cosponsors for the Hazardous Waste Loophole Bill and 24 on the fracking moratorium bill. Despite broad recognition that both bills would pass if brought to a vote, Senator Grisanti kept both off the Environmental Conservation Committee’s agenda. And Senators Klein and Skelos refused to allow a vote on either. Thousands of our members emailed and called Senators Skelos and Klein in the final weeks of session demanding a simple up or down vote on the fracking moratorium.
The state politicians are home for the summer and this is a particularly good time to contact their offices to 1) obtain schedules for town all meetings and 2) visit your representative to express your views.  The politicians may be out of session but frack-activists never are! 

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