By Victoria Merlino
Just how environmentally conscious are your state lawmakers? An annual scorecard from the the New York League of Conservation Voters has the answers.
The Queens delegation in the State Senate and Assembly received high marks on an annual scorecard published Tuesday by the NYLCV, a nonpartisan group devoted to promoting environmental causes.
Scores were based on a mix of which environment-friendly bills lawmakers voted for and which they co-sponsored. Decisions related to congestion pricing and the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act were worth double the points.
Queens assemblymembers received an average score of 88 percent, the second highest of the boroughs. Manhattan’s assembly delegation scored the highest with 96 percent, and Staten Island the lowest at 72 percent. State Senators from New York City received a total score of 93 percent.
Queens State Sens. John Liu, Michael Gianaris, Leroy Comrie and Joseph Addabbo, Jr., as well as Assemblymembers Nily Rozic, Daniel Rosenthal, Andrew Hevesi and Vivian Cook all received perfect scores.
“Protecting our environment is crucial to ensure a livable planet for future generations,” Gianaris said in a statement. “I am pleased to be recognized by the League of Conservation Voters for our achievements during the historic 2019 legislative session.”
Assemblymember Michele Titus received the worst score in the Queens delegation, netting 54 percent after only voting for six of the 16 bills deemed pro-environment by the League.
Though she did not garner a 100 percent rating, State Sen. Jessica Ramos was named a “rising star” by the NYLCV, thanks to her sponsorship of legislation that would legalize e-bikes and e-scooters, and her outspoken support for congestion pricing.
Environmentally conscious bills under consideration during the last legislative session included setting a low-carbon fuel standard, legalizing e-bikes, prohibiting the large-scale fishing of bunker fish, updating water saving standards and banning harmful chemicals from children’s products.
“New York’s environment was the clear winner in this session, the most pro-environment in recent memory,” said President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe in a statement.
“We celebrate several longstanding NYLCV priorities finally became law this year, including a bold nation-leading climate change law and congestion pricing. NYLCV will continue to fight for those that did not pass this session, like a low carbon fuel standard that would reduce transportation emissions and improve air quality,” she continued.
The environment has been a major talking point for certain Queens politicians on both a local and national scale. Astoria Councilmember Costa Constantinides has advocated for turning Rikers Island into a renewable energy powerhouse, while U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has championed a Green New Deal.