2012-04-13 / Community

Council Gets Green Grades

By Nicholas Briano

The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) says they hold City Council members accountable for their track records through an annual Environmental Scorecard, which was released this week with one of Rockaway’s council members scoring perfect, while the other, not so much.

NYLCV’s 2010-2011 New York City Council Scorecard examines voting and sponsorship records on 11 bills covering green buildings, transportation, sustainable food, waterfronts, clean energy and more. The Scorecard also offers an in-depth, qualitative assessment of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s approach to sustainability policies.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich was one of 22 members of the Council who scored a perfect 100. James Sanders Jr. scored a 73 after being absent during voting for two of the 11 environmental bills proposed during the surveying process and after voting against a green infrastructure bill, according to NYLCV. Some of the 11 environmental bills voted on included topics such as sustainable food, waste reduction, green buildings, illegal dumping and clean waterways. According to the group, Ulrich, along with the other council members who scored perfect, voted “pro-environmental” for all 11 bills and was never absent.

NYLCV says the scorecard is an indication of the gains the City Council has made on sustainability issues. The average score on NYLCV’s 2010-2011 Environmental Scorecard was 90 out of a possible 100. That is up from the average of 68 in NYLCV’s previous Environmental Scorecard, which covered 2008 and 2009. The 2010-2011 average was exactly double the average score of 45 back in 2005-2006.

“The current City Council is one of the most, if not the most, pro-environment Councils that has ever served New York,” said NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn. “Our Environmental Scorecard reflects the strong environmental leanings of individual Council members, but just as importantly, the willingness of this body to work closely with the executive branch of city government on critical sustainability issues that will benefit the lives of New Yorkers for years to come. Congratulations to the Council and to Speaker Quinn on a job well done.”

The Manhattan delegation scored highest, with a 95 average. Queens ranked second, with 93, followed by Brooklyn with 92, Staten Island with 88 and the Bronx with 76.

NYLCV selected the legislation in the 2010-2011 Environmental Scorecard after extensive consultation with partner organizations in the transportation, environmental justice, faith, conservation, parks and clean-energy communities. Relying heavily on their input, NYLCV drafted an initial list of more than three dozen bills. The final list was pared down to 11 to indicate the highest collective priorities.

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