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Eight Lawmakers Earn Eco-Stars For 2011 Environmental Achievements

Contact: Dan Hendrick, (212) 361-6350 ext. 206

Success due to both houses and political parties

NEW YORK --- New York State made significant progress on environmental issues in 2011 – and those successes would not have been possible without legislators on both sides of the aisle and in both houses of the Legislature.

To recognize their important accomplishments, the New York League of Conservation Voters today named eight “Eco-Stars,” presenting awards to four Senators, three members of the Assembly and one former legislator who each went above and beyond for New York’s environment in 2011.

“The contrast between this year and last is like night and day, and our 2011 Eco-Stars played a pivotal role,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Although there is still much work to be done, these eight leaders deserve a round of applause for their efforts to make New York State stronger, healthier and greener.”

NYLCV’s 2011 Eco-Stars are:

  • Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, for successfully negotiating a package of legislation that clears the way for clean-energy development while protecting overburdened communities; creates green jobs and puts energy-efficiency improvements within reach for more homeowners; and charts a path for rapid growth in solar energy production. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed this legislation into law on Aug. 4, 2011.
  •  Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, sponsor and primary advocate of “Complete Streets” legislation that requires the state to consider all users – including cyclists, pedestrians and transit riders – when designing and building roads. Gov. Cuomo signed this legislation into law on Aug. 16, 2011.
  • Senator Mark Grisanti, chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, who championed an important new law that ends the era of unregulated large-scale water withdrawals from New York’s lakes, rivers and streams. Gov. Cuomo signed this bill into law on Aug. 15, 2011.     
  • Senator Thomas O’Mara, who is actively working to save New York’s working farms by authoring legislation that identifies new revenue streams for farmland conservation. This innovative approach will be ready for adoption by the Legislature in 2012.
  • Assembly Member Steven C. Englebright, sponsor of the Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act, which sets a goal of developing 5,000 megawatts of solar capacity by 2025, thereby giving New York a competitive economic advantage, creating jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Neither house passed this legislation in 2011, but it made significant gains at the committee level and is poised for success in 2012.
  • Assembly Member Robert K. Sweeney, chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, who also sponsored the above-named water withdrawals legislation and aggressively lobbied for it among his Assembly colleagues.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Sam Hoyt, formerly a member of the Assembly and currently a Senior Vice President for Regional Economic Development at the Empire State Development Corporation. While in the Assembly, Hoyt led the charge for two landmark pieces of legislation that will promote sustainable development and downtown revitalization for years to come: improvement of the State Historic Preservation Tax Credit and the Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act. 

For more information on the legislation above and other recent environmental activities in the New York State Legislature, check out NYLCV’s 2011 Legislative Progress Report.

NYLCV will present awards in person to those Eco-Stars representing Long Island later today at the “Champions for a Greener Long Island” cocktail party at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, beginning at 6 p.m.


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