Save The River sent a short questionnaire (shown below) on a variety of environmental issues to candidates for office in the 21st Congressional District, the 47th & 48th New York State Senate Districts and the 116th Assembly District:
21st Congressional District Candidates: Matt Funiciello, Elise Stefanik, & Aaron Woolf
47th NYS Senate District Candidate: Senator Joseph Griffo
48th NYS Senate District Candidate: Senator Patty Ritchie
116th NYS Assembly District Candidates: John Byrne, Russell Finley & Assemblywoman Addie Russell
We asked for their responses by October 20th and will post them Tuesday October 21st.
2014 CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE
1. Modern Water Levels Plan for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River –
After more than a decade of study and consultation with stakeholders the International Joint Commission unanimously voted to refer a modern water levels plan (Plan 2014) for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River to the U.S. and Canadian federal governments for their approval. Plan 2014, which will replace a 50-year-old plan (1958D), has clear benefits for wetland and species restoration and for recreational boating, hunting, fishing, and hydroelectric production.
Do you support Plan 2014, and will you work for its speedy implementation?
2.Microplastic / Microbead Pollution -
Many consumer products sold in the United States and around the world contain microplastic particles as abrasives and exfoliants. In most cases, these microplastic particles are intended to be washed down the drain after use, where most, if not all, pass through sewage treatment facilities into the receiving body of water. Recent studies found microplastics, including polyethylene microbeads, in high concentrations in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Do you support a ban on microbeads in personal care products?
3. Invasive Species Control –
The damage done to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River from the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species is well documented as costing millions of dollars annually due to a range of impacts from clogging intake and discharge pipes for municipal drinking and wastewater systems and industrial facilities, to recreational boating and fishing.
a. Ballast Water -
The U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency have finally adopted regulations designed to prevent the introduction and movement of aquatic invasive species in the River and Great Lakes, however some lawmakers have proposed blocking or weakening these rules.
Will you support and work to ensure stringent ballast regulations on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River
b. Asian Carp –
Many studies have shown that the only effective way to stop the spread of Asian Carp (silver and bighead) into the Great Lakes and eventually the River is the hydrological (physical) separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds.
Do you support physical separation as a way to prevent invasive carp introductions to the Great Lakes and, eventually, the St. Lawrence River?
4. Safe Shipment of Hazardous Liquid Bulk Cargoes –
The transport of highly volatile liquid bulk cargoes on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River is a new and emerging threat to the safety of the watershed. The U.S. Coast Guard has admitted that it does not have the equipment or plans to deal with a spill of “heavy” oils such as those being extracted in the U.S. Midwest or Canadian tar sands should one occur.
Do you support rules and regulations that will restrict the movement of such cargo on the River or through its watershed unless and until adequate safety and response measures are in place?
5. Climate Change –
Climate variability and change are driven by global-scale changes in the earth’s climate system, but impacts will be felt and difficult choices will need to be made locally in order to manage and mitigate the impacts to the St. Lawrence River and its watershed. Already sudden and intense weather events are occurring with increasing frequency, often with high costs in terms of infrastructure and human impacts.
Will you advocate for programs assist local governments in their efforts to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate variability and change?
6. Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) –
EPF programs provide communities the ability to use natural solutions to help reduce risk and plan growth in a way that improves sustainability and resilience in the face of more frequent extreme weather events. EPF programs create jobs, lower costs to taxpayers and protect clean water and other valuable community resources. The fund once stood at $255 million but was cut deeply during the recession, falling as low as $134 million. In last year’s budget the EPF was increased to $162 million.
Do you support restoring the Environmental Protection Fund to its pre-recession level of $255 million in order to addresses significant environmental, land protection and conservation needs throughout the state?
7. Additional Information –
Feel free to add any additional thoughts you want to convey to our members and followers.