Key environmental issues have a new avenue to reach the floor of the state Legislature with the recent formation of the New York State Caucus of Environmental Legislators.
The 33-member group is made up of lawmakers from both parties and both houses. Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, NYSCEL’s chair, expects discussions within the caucus to help build consensus on which environmental issues are important and which ones can be accomplished.
“A lot of the work in the Legislature happens within conferences or very formal settings like public hearings or committees,” Kavanagh said. “We think there’s a lot of value in getting people in the room from different parts of the state, different expertise, different houses and parties and sharing perspectives and possibly identifying ways we can act together.”
Though high-volume hydraulic fracturing has taken center stage, Kavanagh said that issue alone was not the impetus for the group, nor its sole focus.
“I expect we’ll be working on issues involving exposure to various toxins, urban sprawl (and) some of the issues that arise in agriculture settings,” he said. “We really do expect this to be addressing the full range of environmental issues.”