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Capitol Insider 3/5/07

Rumor Mill: What Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

Over the last couple of weeks, some sportsmen’s groups and gun advocates have been grumbling about Governor Eliot Spitzer’s nomination of Assemblyman Alexander B. “Pete” Grannis’ to head New York State’s environmental agency, the DEC.

This is curious stuff. As commissioner of the DEC, Assemblyman Grannis would have no say in gun control laws. He’s also publicly pledged not to limit hunters’ rights.

However, some members of the Senate Majority tasked with recommending Grannis’ nomination have gotten squishy on the Assemblyman’s qualifications. More than one Senator in the majority has spoken out against the Assemblyman as “anti-gun” and “anti-sportsmen” and, according to Senator Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn), the Assemblyman is also “anti-everything” (whatever that means). 


Among those questioning Grannis’ stance on gun control is Senator Carl Marcellino ( R-Oyster Bay ).  Ironically, Senator Marcellino was a co-sponsor of at least one of the laws the gun enthusiasts don’t like. So where does the “controversy” begin—with the gun advocates OR with members of the Senate Majority?  


It’s hard to say for sure.

Environmental Advocates of New York came out in favor of Grannis’ nomination back in January and we stand by his good works. The Assemblyman is arguably one of the best qualified legislators for the DEC job, having played key roles in measures that include the Clean Indoor Air Act, bills to address the threats of acid rain and fluorocarbons and to protect our air and water, and much, much more. He’s also an avid fly fisherman and outdoorsmen, even though his Assembly district is deep in the heart of New York City .  

The DEC needs a Commissioner pronto, and that means that Assemblyman Grannis needs the support of environmentalists like you. Click here to reach out to the state senators with the power to confirm or cancel out his nomination to head up the DEC.  

Show Me the Money:
Where Resources Hit the Road




In his first executive budget, Governor Spitzer tied an increase in the state’s Environmental Protection Fund—the trust fund that supports everything from landfill closures to invasive species research and Hudson River restoration—to expanding New York’s bottle deposit law and earmarking unclaimed deposits for the Fund.

Many New York consumers probably don’t realize that under our current bottle deposit law, millions in unclaimed deposits go right back to the folks at Coke and Pepsi.

While estimated revenues from an “expanded” Bottle Bill could add up to about $25 million this year, eventually the unclaimed deposits could add as much as $100 million to the Fund. However, we’ve heard some folks suggest that the state would do just as well to forget the Bottle Bill and pony up the proposed $25 million from the General Fund. In the long run, obviously, this won’t work.

And while the environmental community and hundreds of advocacy groups statewide including everyone from the League of Women Voters to the New York Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials support the measure, the Bigger Better Bottle Bill has come up against strong resistance.

Big bottlers and the Food Industry Alliance, as well as well-financed lobbying from “New Yorkers for Real Recycling” (who, incidentally, have no positions as to what constitutes real recycling) have jump-started a campaign based on misinformation and shaky numbers.

With the national market for non-carbonated drinks more than doubling in the last decade according to research from the Container Recycling Institute, and the vast majority of New Yorkers supporting an expanded bottle deposit law according to voter surveys, Environmental Advocates of New York thinks it’s time to use the deposits to protect New York’s natural resources rather than to support the bottlers’ bottom line. It just makes sense.    


Bills in Play

                              Nuclear Preparedness

Two trees for a bill that will require nuclear power producers to offset all costs currently borne by their neighboring communities to develop and implement nuclear emergency preparedness plans.

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