By Madina Toure
A bill introduced by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) asking the state Department of Environmental Conservation to reconsider its plan to eradicate the state’s mute swan population has once again passed in the state Senate.
The bill, which passed the Senate by a vote of 61-2, previously passed the Senate in 2014 and 2015.
There is a mute swan population in Jamaica Bay.
In 2013, the state announced plans to exterminate the mute swan population by 2025 on the grounds that the species is “invasive.” Avella, along with animal rights activists and groups, has questioned the argument that mute swans pose a serious risk to the environment..
Avella’s legislation would require the DEC to hold two public hearings before finalizing their plans to manage the mute swan population and create a two-year moratorium on any action.
The bill mandates that the DEC provide scientific evidence for the environmental damage caused by the birds. Even if the DEC provides the necessary proof, the bill would require the DEC to seek alternatives to euthanasia.
The legislation passed the state Assembly, where state Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) carried the companion bill to Avella’s legislation. It will now go to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk where it will need to be signed before becoming law.
Cuomo has vetoed the bill twice, but the senator said he believes the unrelenting support for the mute swans will pressure him to sign it.
“I urge Governor Cuomo to finally sign this bill into law and join in the fight to support those who cannot fight for themselves,” Avella said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour