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Sweeney to chair Assembly EcCon?

Rumor Mill: We’re Not Taking Sides

While Environmental Advocates of New York is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, non-side-picking organization, these days it’s hard to steer clear of Albany infighting.


As many of you have heard, New York State lawmakers elected one of their own to head up the Comptroller’s Office. Their choice was none other than Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli (D-Great Neck), longtime environmental visionary and three-time “Legislator of the Year” award winner from our sister organization, EPL / Environmental Advocates. We wish Tom well because we know he’s earned the respect of his colleagues for a good reason—he deserves it.

On the other side of this equation, Governor Spitzer and others are not pleased that a majority of state lawmakers made an end run around recommendations from the committee tasked with identifying Comptroller candidates. Read more under “Show Me the Money.” 


Unfortunately, the Comptroller confirmation process has stalled the naming of some committee chairs in the Assembly. Because of this, we’ve been told not to anticipate any movement on environmental bills until next month.


However, there is talk of who might become the Assembly’s new Environmental Conservation (EnCon) chair. Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) is rumored to be at the top of the list.  


There is also buzz about shifting power in the State Senate, especially since a few senators didn’t go along with the pack on the Comptroller vote. With Craig Johnson’s (reportedly the newest ranking member on the Senate EnCon Committee) victory on Long Island for Senator Balboni’s (R-Garden City) seat, the Republican majority is narrowing. And with some Majority Senators rumored to be taking jobs in the Spitzer administration or switching parties, things could get interesting.      

Show Me the Money:
Budget Honeymoon is Over

The Governor has embarked on a statewide tour to sell his first-ever budget proposal. At some stops, he’s called attention to the vote of the local legislator on the Comptroller issue. And not always in a nice way, either.


While the sharper edge of his comments has dulled as the week since the Comptroller vote has passed, the Governor is making this out to be a matter of ‘either-you’re-a-reformer-or-you’re-against us.’ While we understand his point, this doesn’t ring true when it comes to Assemblyman DiNapoli and more than a few lawmakers we know on both sides of the aisle.

Those who supported DiNapoli and the runner-up, Martha Stark, had good reasons for doing so. But knowing Assemblyman DiNapoli as well as we do, it’s hard to see him put in such a bad light. As far as we’re concerned, he’s never been a go-along-to-get-along kind of guy.


How will this drama pan out? We can only hope it doesn’t wreck the Governor’s budget proposal. Environmental Advocates of New York found much to like in his proposed budget, and we’ll be sad to see it get bogged down because of political infighting—and not just because we liked the environmental provisions, either.   




 Bills in Play

Solid Waste Landfill Siting
One tree for landfill siting with environmental benefits. When deciding where to build a new landfill, this bill would require the state’s environmental agency to consider impacts on drinking water sources, community opinion, the presence of other landfills, and an area’s “natural character.”

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