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Peter Vallone For Governor

A Superb Environmentalist

By Daniel Van Riper

It shouldn't be a secret. Peter Vallone, Democratic candidate for Governor of New York State, has an outstanding environmental record and deserves to be our next Governor. Sure, he's from downstate, but his vision is clearly statewide. Here are some main points from Mr. Vallone's 13 page response to the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter Political Committee Environmental Questionaire. After he is elected Governor, Mr. Vallone plans to do the following:

1) Fight for the passage of the Private Environmental Law Enforcement Act (S.2981/A.1620) which would empower and protect citizens bringing suits to enforce environmental laws. A big plus for Save the Pine Bush.

2) Fully fund the Environmental Protection Fund and ensure that it is used exclusively for open space preservation and solid waste projects. No funds will be diverted to other agencies, like the current regime is doing.

3) Appoint an environmentalist as Department of Transportation Commisioner.

4) Fight to make General Electric clean up PCB's in the Hudson.

5) Support the plan developed by conservation groups to add 350,000 acres to Adirondack Park through purchase or easements.

6) Re-fund the State Superfund and expand it.

7) Support the Transportation Efficiency Act, which requires the DOT to consider mass transit before funding new highways.

"My highest environmental priority as Governor," writes Mr. Vallone, "will be to re-establish the state's environmental enforcement apparatus and protect New York State from polluters. How vigorous will I be? If I'm elected Governor, after four years of me, the polluters will be trying to get me out of office, not re-elect me."

His record on the New York City Council is terrific. He sponsored and pushed through the 1989 recycling law, which calls for 50% recycling of the city's waste stream, although the last 3 mayors have found ways to avoid the law's mandates. He is an enemy of burn plants, and has shut down thousands in the city. He pushed for and got passed a 1991 law that requires 80% of non-emergency city vehicles be powered by alternative fuels.

Mr. Vallone is a firm believer in the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) which is more good news for Save the Pine Bush. He writes, "As we know, state agencies will try to avoid SEQRA, and accede to performing the requisite assesments only after being 'caught' by an environmental watchdog. This is wrong and will not happen in a Vallone administration."

Why haven't we heard about Peter Vallone's environmental record? The media blackout on the Gubernatorial and Senate races is mostly to blame, particularly shameful is how the Hearst-owned Times Union has proven to be little more than a daily advertisement for Pataki and his party. But also, we have been informed that Mr. Vallone has recieved some bad advice (perhaps sabotage?) from some big time pollsters who have advised him that the public does not care about environmental issues! We certainly hope that misconception changes fast.

Clearly, the person who currently occupies the Governor's office, Pataki, has a dismal environmental record, despite his big-money ad campaign to the contrary. Environmental enforcement is off more than 50%. Land acquisition has been limited to massive corporate give-aways of tax dollars. The Environmental Bond Act has, as we predicted, turned into a shameful boondoggle, but it sure has funded a lot of marinas around Poughkeepsie and Kingston.

We need this guy. Let's make Peter Vallone our Governor.

published Oct/Nov 98 Newsletter

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