Oil Slick #1:
Senator John DeFrancisco: What does earning the lowest score in the Senate (38), outright denial of climate science, dismissing the well established health impacts (e.g. asthma attacks, lung cancer and premature deaths) of dirty diesel and being the lead sponsor of a bill to block advancements in clean energy lead to? The dubious distinction of receiving the 2015 Oil Slick Award: Senator John DeFrancisco.
In early 2015, we thought we had an emerging champ for environmental issues when he called on the Governor to address water infrastructure needs, but alas that seemed more about political hits on the Governor than wanting to protect the environment. For most of 2015, Senator DeFrancisco seemed to relish the role of proposing legislation to weaken standards and blocking efforts by colleagues to protect our health and the environment. For all of this he earns a 2015 Oil Slick.
Oil Slick #2:
Senator Dean Skelos: Courtesy of former Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos, the public may finally get a better understanding for why common-sense legislation that enjoys broad bipartisan support does not receive a Senate vote. In May, allegations surfaced that he put his family’s financial interests above pubic interest in determining which bills receive a vote – and several measures concerning the most pressing environmental issues of the day were stalled with an eye towards profit.
His colleagues in the Senate Majority ousted him in part due to the appearance that he blocked votes on bills including the fracking moratorium and climate action due to possible business benefits for a family member. We join the Senate Majority in condemning this behavior.
Due to the frightening nature of the allegations against him, the fact that he stalled action through much of the 2015 Legislative Session, and over the years consistently has one of the worst scores in the entire Legislature, Senator Skelos deserves his 2015 Oil Slick.
A note about this years Oil Slicks: we hope and urge new Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to move the Senate away from the dirty practices of the Skelos Senate, to instead be a body that allows votes on legislation that will lead to a cleaner and healthier future for all New York. While we remain optimistic, we’re sorry to say he’s off to a bad start by elevating a climate denier and Oil Slick awardee to the post of Deputy Majority Leader, but there is plenty of time and space for a course correction.