Queens city officials rank high in environment votes

By Sadef Ali Kully

The New York League of Conservation Voters released its 2014 environmental scorecard for elected officials in the city which highlights the performance of lawmakers on the past year’s key environmental votes.

New York League of Conservation Voters is an environment advocacy that maintains an independent assessment of the City Council’s record of voting on bills that support initiatives for a better environment.

Overall one third of the City Council members scored a perfect 100, but the average score this year was 80, down from 92 last year. Despite the drop, the Queens delegation, with an average score of 86, scored the highest out of the five boroughs.

The highest score holders in Queens at 100 are Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale), Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Peter Koo (D-Flushing), Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) and Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside).

Other Queens Council members were ranked as follows: Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) scored an 83; Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) scored a 75; Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) scored a 75; Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) scored a 83; and Eric Ulrich (D-Ozone Park) scored a 67, on the scorecard.

The lowest score holder in Queens was City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica), who scored 50 on the scorecard.

“The City Council will continue to play an outsize role in enacting and supporting the initiatives that will allow New York to meet the ambitious goals it set this year for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the league. “NYLCV looks forward to working closely with the Council to ensure that New York stays on its increasingly healthy and sustainable path.”

The league’s scorecard examines voting and sponsorship records on nine key environmental bills covering green buildings, transportation, clean energy, and more. Priority bills included legislation to charge a 10-cent fee on single-use plastic bags, a mandate to reduce New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, and an expansion of the popular pre-tax transit benefit program for workers.

NYLCV selected the legislation in the 2013-2014 Environmental Scorecard after extensive consultation with partner organizations in the transportation, environmental justice, faith, conservation, parks, and clean-energy communities. Relying heavily on their input, NYLCV drafted an initial list of more than three dozen bills. The final list was pared down to nine to indicate the highest collective priorities.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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