Environmental Leaders of New York State
June 12, 2012Honorable Andrew M. CuomoGovernor of the State of New York New York State Capitol BuildingAlbany, New York 12224Dear Governor Cuomo:
Our organizations write to express strong support for your efforts to enact public financing of elections
with strong enforcement and meaningful contribution limits for all candidates, “pay toplay” rules and robust d
in New York State in 2012.
As leaders of the environmental and environmental justice movements, we know too well that wealthyspecial interests often frustrate the implementation of sound policy.Specifically, their outsized efforts to influence policy
which include giving large campaigncontributions
have stalled or derailed legislation that would maintain the safety of our drinking waterand of consumer products, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve recycling laws. The results?Policies that benefit big developers and corporations at the expense of regular New Yorkers.Here are examples:
Preventing regulation of fracking waste as hazardous: The oil and gas industry is exempt fromstate laws governing hazardous waste transport and disposal, even though much wastewatergenerated by fracking meets the state definition of hazardous. The natural gas industry
whichmade over $1.34 million in contributions to New York parties and politicians between 2007 andOctober 2011
is vigorously opposing legislation (S.4616/A.5713) to require that all hazardouswaste resulting from gas drilling be subject to appropriate regulation.
Opposing renewable energy policies: N
ew York’s Solar Jobs Act (S.4178/A.5713) is a bipartisan
effort to jumpstart the solar industry in New York
s expected to create more than twentythousand jobs, spur billions of dollars in private green investments and help transition our state to
renewable energy. Why hasn’t
it passed? Power companies like Con Edison
which would beforced to purchase solar energy
have used their outsized influence to stall the bill. Con Edisonalone contributed a whopping $214,232 to New York political parties and campaigns from 2007through October 2011.
Stalling expansion of recycling programs:
New York’s Bigger Better Bottle Law, passed in 2009,expanded New York’s highly successful 5
-cent deposit law to include bottled water and forcedthe beverage industry to finally turn over unclaimed deposits to the state. This sensible policy,which ha
d widespread public support, was “bottled up” in Albany for years by beverage industry
giants and retailers who feared a decrease in profits. According to Common Cause/NY, from2003 to early 2007, more than $2.7 million was given in campaign contributions by the bottlingindustry, beverage distributors, food retailers and others opposing the bill.
Defeating efforts to protect wetlands:
New York’s wetlands are vital for clean drinking water,
flood prevention and wildlife habitats. However, hundreds of wetlands are at risk of destruction