Hoylman: The polluter must pay. It’s outrageous that we’d let a $650 billion company off the hook and conceivably stick taxpayers with the remainder of the cleanup bill.

NEW YORK, NY – In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (E.P.A.) decision to permit General Electric (G.E.) to dismantle its PCB processing facility in Fort Edward, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) today submitted public comments calling on the E.P.A. to immediately halt the dismantling of the facility and require G.E. to execute a comprehensive cleanup the Hudson River.

G.E. is at the end of a six-year, $1 billion dredging operation agreement that requires the company to remove nearly 30 years worth of dangerous PCB chemicals that it knowingly dumped into the river.

In his comments, Senator Hoylman asserts that a report issued earlier this year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration demonstrates that the original models used by the E.P.A to plan the cleanup were “overly optimistic,” and necessitate that the E.P.A. “revisit the terms of the 2005 agreement.”

Senator Hoylman said in a statement: “It’s outrageous that we’d let a $650 billion company off the hook and conceivably stick taxpayers with the remainder of the cleanup bill. It is incumbent on G.E. to reverse years of dumping thathave directly contributed to the economic and environmental degradation of communities throughout the Hudson region. The bottom line is the polluter must pay.”

In June, Senator Hoylman, the Ranking Member on the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, convened a panel discussion with environmental lawyers and advocates on the state of the Hudson River. During the discussion, experts noted that G.E., one of the largest corporations on the planet, was planning to renege on its obligations well before removing enough PCBs. The toxins have been linked to myriad health risks including cancer, low birth weight, thyroid disease, as well as learning, memory and immune system disorder.

Senator Hoylmans full comments to the E.P.A. are included below.


September 28, 2015

Thank you for the opportunity to submit public comments on the E.P.A.s draft Processing Facility Demobilization and Restoration Plan, which outlines the proposed procedures by which General Electric (G.E.) will dismantle and decontaminate the 110 acre PCB processing facility in Fort Edward, New York along the Hudson River. As the ranking member of the New York State Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, and the representative of a senate district in Manhattan that abuts the Hudson River, I write to express my deep concerns with allowing the dismantling of the PCB processing facility to proceed and urge the E.P.A. to revisit the terms of its 2005 dredging agreement with G.E. (the 2005 agreement), in light of recent research that calls into question the efficacy of the agreements remedy.

In May of this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a report examining the model projections used as the basis of the 2005 agreement, finding that the original models used were overly optimistic, and overestimated the rate of natural recovery in the Hudson River. As a result, achieving the E.P.A.s remedial objectives will take longer than predicted. Ultimately, NOAA concluded, [a]dditional removal of PCB-contaminated sediment in the Upper Hudson River [is] needed to achieve [the] reductions in Lower Hudson River fish PCBs that were initially anticipated by the E.P.A.

In other words, because of the flawed modeling used by the E.P.A. over a decade ago, if G.E.s federally-mandated dredging is allowed to conclude this year and the Fort Edward PCB processing facility is dismantled, the E.P.A. will have fallen far short in achieving its intended remediation. According to NOAA, surface sediment PCBs in the Upper Hudson River will remain at higher rates longer than initially predicted and the reduction of PCB levels in fish found in the Lower Hudson River will take far longer  more than four decades  than the flawed models projected.

The Hudson River  from the foothills of the Adirondacks to Manhattans Battery  is where diverse populations, geographies, natural resources, and economic opportunities converge. Allowing the dredging of the Hudson to fall short of the E.P.A.s remediation goals puts the health of millions of New Yorkers along the 200-mile span of the river at risk. The PCB contaminants left behind are probable human carcinogens that have been linked to other adverse health effects such as low birth weight, thyroid disease, and immune system disorders.

It is incumbent upon the E.P.A. to ensure that the dredging of the Hudson River by G.E. actually meets the remediation goals it set out to achieve in the 2005 agreement. NOAAs analysis of the flawed projection models used by the agency raise sufficient questions about whether the efficacy of the remedial actions meet the standard set in federal law under 42 U.S.C. 9621(d),attain[ing] a degree of cleanup of hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants [] which assures protection of human health and the environment.

On the basis of the foregoing, I once again strongly urge the E.P.A. to immediately halt the dismantling of the Fort Edward PCB processing facility and revisit the terms of the 2005 agreement to ensure that G.E. completes a thorough and effective cleanup of the Hudson River PCBs.

bh oil spill on hudson

Discussion features Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) lawyer Margaret Hsieh

Hoylman: “Monarchs are the canary in the coal mine, warning us about the devastating effect that human activity is inflicting on the environment, both through climate change and our over-reliance on pesticides like glyphosate.”

New York, NY – Last night, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) hosted a discussion at NYU Law School on the pesticide glyphosate and its devastating effects on the Monarch butterfly, human health, and New York’s environment. The event – the first in Senator Hoylman’s “Conservation Conversation” series –featured Margaret Hsieh, a member of the litigation team for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Earlier this year, NRDC filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claiming the agency has failed to heed warnings about glyphosate’s danger to monarchs, whose population, tallied at 1 billion in 1997, was down to a mere 56.5 million in 2015. Monarch butterflies are important pollinators that help sustain New York’s ecosystem and affect the economic vitality of both national and international agricultural markets.

In addition to its danger to monarchs, a recent meta-analysis study by the World Health Organization concluded that glyphosate “is probably carcinogenic to humans.” Glyphosate, first created by Monsanto 1970, is commonly known as Roundup and is the most widely-used herbicide in the world. Senator Hoylman, the Ranking Member on the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, is the main sponsor of two bills in the Senate that would ban the sale, distribution, or usage of glyphosate in New York State Enacts and create a Glyphosate Task Force to research and identify health and safety concerns with the pesticide.

Senator Brad Hoylman said: “As New Yorkers, we value the presence of natural beauty in our urban environment. Yet over the course of a decade we’ve witnessed the decimation of one of the most stunning and environmentally important creatures – the monarch butterfly. Monarchs are the canary in the coal mine, warning us about the devastating effect that human activity is inflicting on the environment, both through climate change and our over-reliance on pesticides like glyphosate. This Conservation Conversation series is an effort to speak frankly about these issues and figure out what we can do to preserve some of our most treasured natural species and environments.”

Assemblymember Deborah Glick, who attended the event, said: “During their seasonal migration, you used to walk on Fire Island and be enveloped by monarchs. Now, you’re excited when you see a handful. The loss of monarchs in the Northeast is dramatic and startling. We need to fight back and organize to protect the environment otherwise we will soon become the pests that disappear due to environmental degradation.”

Margaret Hsieh from NRDC said: “The pervasive use of pesticides like Roundup have had a devastating impact on monarch butterflies. Whereas migrating monarchs used to darken the skies, some people are now lucky to see five or ten butterflies in an entire season. State action, like the bill sponsored by Sen. Hoylman, is critical in reversing the 90 percent decline in the monarch population and pushing the federal government to respond to the harm posed by glyphosate.”

Last night’s Conservation Conversation was co-sponsored by Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Senator Daniel Squadron, Senator Liz Krueger, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, Council Member Margaret Chin, Council Member Rosie Mendez, Council Member Corey Johnson, Council Member Dan Garodnick, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Manhattan Community Board 2, Manhattan Community Board 3, Manhattan Community Board 4, Manhattan Community Board 5, Manhattan Community Board 6, Manhattan Community Board 7, Natural Resources Defense Council, and NYU Law Democrats.


Conservation Conversation 1

Huffington Post : March 19, 2015 : by Robbie Couch

Miley Cyrus is continuing to use her star power to advocate on behalf of young people in need.

The 22-year-old singer wrote a letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie earlier this month urging that they increase funding to help homeless kids, New York Daily News reported. Cyrus posted the letter to her Instagram account on Wednesday, saying she was “speaking up” for those without a roof over their head.

In the letter, Cyrus endorses a proposal by New York state Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), political advocacy group Empire State Pride Agenda and nonprofit Coalition for Homeless Youth that would ensure $4.75 million for homeless children in New York’s state budget. Hoylman voiced his thanks for Cyrus’ support on Twitter.

“These young people are homeless through no fault of their own,” Cyrus wrote to the state officials. “They’ve been kicked out of their homes or are fleeing abusive parents. And too often they’re forced into dangerous situations just to find a place to sleep.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 7.34.37 PM

Cyrus points out that although youth homelessness is a problem throughout the U.S., it’s “especially serious in New York.” According to Empire State Pride Agenda, data from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services shows that kids were turned away from homeless shelters because there were no beds more than 5,000 times in 2012 — a fact the pop star highlights in her letter to Cuomo.

The organization also points out that funding for homeless youth shelters across the state has decreased by about two-thirds since 2009.

Cyrus — who launched her own nonprofit, The Happy Hippie Foundation, to advocate for homeless youths last year, according to MTV — has championed the issue in recent months. At last year’s MTV Video Music Awards, she took a young man who’d been homeless, Jesse Helt, as her guest. When Cyrus won a Moonman for Video of the Year, Helt accepted the award on her behalf and dedicated his speech to raising awareness on the issue.

The duo created a fundraising campaign for My Friend’s Place, a Los Angeles organization that helps homeless young people, and garnered about $200,000 in roughly one day.

The Villager : March 19, 2015 : by Zach Williams

In a year featuring renewed debate about community-police relations, a March 14 memorial held in honor of two auxiliary police officers recognized two of the best among New York’s Finest.

The annual event commemorated Yevgeniy “Eugene” Marshalik, 19, and Nicholas Pekearo, 28, who — like all auxiliary officers — were unarmed on March 14, 2007, when they were killed while trying to stop a rampaging gunmen near the intersection of Sullivan and Bleecker Sts.

Two corners of that intersection were subsequently co-named in their honor. Another result of the two officers’ tragic deaths was that the New York Police Department now issues bulletproof vests to all auxiliary police officers. But a bill in the state Senate that would increase criminal penalties for those who attack or kill auxiliary officers remains stuck in committee.

In addition, Pekearo, an aspiring writer, even had a novel, “The Wolfman,” published posthumously.

Members of the N.Y.P.D. Auxiliary Police Program — the largest volunteer law enforcement force in the country at more than 4,500 members — perform patrols in uniform but typically serve as observers for local precincts rather than directly confronting suspects. But Pekearo and Marshalik disregarded the danger when they tailed David Garvin, who had just fatally shot a pizzeria employee on W. Houston St.

They pursued him onto Sullivan St., and Garvin turned and killed both of them. Minutes later, their assailant died nearby on Bleecker St. in a hail of bullets during a shootout with police officers.

Many people say that without the intervention of Pekearo and Marshalik, more people would have died that day. Last Saturday, a group of 75, including police officers and auxiliaries, family members of the two men and community members marched from the Sixth Precinct station on W. 10th St. to Sullivan and Bleecker Sts.

James O’Neill, the N.Y.P.D. chief of department, said in his remarks that the two men were the quintessential police officers.

“For them to show the courage and strength to do what they did exemplifies not only what the auxiliary officers do but also what police officers do for this city,” he said. “They keep us safe. Sometimes people fail to acknowledge that there are people in this world that are looking to hurt people.”

O’Neill added that time does not necessarily “heal all wounds,” though the effects of selfless police work have brought change to the city.

“If you look at the city 10, 20 years ago, it’s just not the same place,” he said. “It’s safe, and it’s safe because of what you do and because of what the brave men and women of the N.Y.P.D. do,” he told the officers and community activists.

But department practices during that period, notably the use of stop-and-frisk as part of the “broken windows” theory of policing — which calls for enforcement against minor offenses — spawned resentment among many in minority communities. That anger, amplified greatly by the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, helped fuel the recent #BlackLivesMatter movement. Protests have lessened in recent months, only to re-emerge within City Hall itself during a recent hearing on police-community relations.

Protesters chanted, “No new cops!” at a March 12 hearing where Police Commissioner Bill Bratton testified in support of adding 1,000 more officers to the force. Two days later, though, the focus at the memorial was firmly on the sacrifices and contributions of the heroic auxiliary officers, Pekearo and Marshalik.

“What the police do, in general, is protect us, and how could that be under question for the auxiliary police officers who were uniformed but unarmed and gave their lives,” said Terri Cude, first vice chairperson of Community Board 2. “I don’t see that there is a relationship between national political issues and this memorial.” Cude added that she attends the event each year.

Meanwhile, a bill announced at last year’s memorial by state Senator Brad Hoylman has continued to slowly make its way through the legislative process. If signed into law, the measure would make the penalty for killing an on-duty auxiliary officer as serious as killing a police officer.

“If you wear the uniform to safeguard the public, you should be protected from deadly assaults,” Hoylman said in a statement.

The bill was reintroduced this legislative session and referred to the state Senate’s Codes Committee on Feb. 20. A hearing has yet to be scheduled.

The singer makes good on her promise to help homeless youth.

MTV News : March 18, 2015 : by John Walker

Breaking news: someone under the age of 42 wrote a letter. But seriously, that someone is Miley Cyrus, and her reason for writing that letter is super important.

The 22-year-old singer penned a letter on behalf of her Happy Hippie Foundation to three New York state officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging them to provide “more funding” to assist their state’s homeless youth shelters.

Here’s a picture of the letter, which Miley posted to Instagram on Wednesday (Mar. 18).

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 7.34.37 PM

“1.6 million kids across the United States are homeless, and the problem is especially serious in New York,” she writes. “Between 2009 and 2012, the number of kids turned away from homeless shelters in New York grew from 570 to more than 5,000.”

The letter continues: “That’s why I’m speaking up to support a request by Senator Brad Hoylman…to include $4.75 million for homeless youth in this year’s New York State budget. This money would have a direct impact — 1,000 new [badly needed] beds to help make sure every young person has a place to sleep at night.”

I’ve reached out to Senator Hoylman’s office for comment on Miley’s support of his initiative (and to confirm just how far the Smiler fandom has infiltrated the New York State Legislature), but I’ve yet to get a substantive answer. I’ll keep you updated if I hear more.

UPDATE! Senator Hoylman has since released a statement thanking Miley for her support. It reads:

“I’m incredibly grateful to Miley Cyrus for her support of our campaign to restore funding for homeless youth shelters in our state budget. It’s unconscionable that thousands of New York kids each year are turned away from homeless youth shelters because there aren’t enough beds. We must act now to bring these kids in from the cold by increasing funding for homeless youth shelters.”

This isn’t the first time Miley’s used her platform to raise awareness of the plight of homeless youth.

In 2014, she founded the Happy Hippie Foundation, a non-profit focused on fighting youth homelessness.

She also used her Video Of The Year win at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards to shine a light on the problem. In lieu of giving an acceptance speech, she asked her date for the night, Jesse Helt, to accept the Moonman in her place.

Once at the podium, Helt, who has been homeless at various points in his life, urged the music industry and viewers at home to get involved: “Los Angeles, the entertainment capital, has the largest population of homeless youth in America. The music industry will make [billions of dollars] this year and outside these doors are 54,000 human beings who have no place to call home.”

Helt, who met Cyrus through a Hollywood homeless shelter called My Friend’s Place, was later sentenced to six months of jail time after a past probation violation resurfaced. In an effort to keep the conversation she’d sparked about youth homelessness from getting derailed, Miley defended her VMA date, tweeting, “People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included.”

People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included.

— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) August 26, 2014

She echoes that compassionate sentiment in her letter to Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Dan Skelos, and Speaker Carl Heastie: “These young people are homeless through no fault of their own. They’ve been kicked out of their homes or are fleeing abusive parents. And too often they’re forced into dangerous situations just to find a place to sleep.”

All in all, Miley’s actions are pretty inspiring — and I don’t just mean the, like, “actually writing a letter in 2015″ thing.

For more information on youth homelessness, check out the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Gothamist : March 19, 2015 : by Jen Chung

The 37-year-old woman killed by a four foot-by-eight foot piece of construction fencing that struck her as she was walking on a Manhattan sidewalk was remembered by her fiance as “the woman of my dreams.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Tina Nguyen was in front of 175 West 12th Street when the huge piece of plywood somehow came loose from the condo conversion, The Greenwich Lane, in the old St. Vincent’s site, across the street. The plywood slammed Nguyen into the building’s brick wall. According to NBC New York, “The plywood hit her at a high rate of speed, police said, causing her to hit her head. She suffered severe head trauma, bruising and lacerations, police said.”

The Department of Buildings issued a stop work order for The Greenwich Lane, where the luxury apartments start at $3.65 million and top out at $26.5 million, and is investigating the incident. The DOB said, “It is the responsibility of building owners and construction site managers to ensure their properties are safeguarded and in code compliant conditions at all times. A failure to do so can result in enforcement action by the department including the issuance of violations.” One spokesman told the NY Times that while there were a 11 open violations at the site, “That’s pretty much normal to have open complaints and violations.”

The Daily News reports:
The National Weather Service notified the city Office of Emergency Management on Tuesday about a special weather statement regarding high winds at 5:18 p.m.

The emergency office notified the Buildings Department at 6:25 p.m. — more than 30 minutes after the deadly incident. Buildings Department officials opted not to send an advisory because it was after business hours.

Workers were reinforcing the fencing yesterday.

Developers Bill and Eric Rudin said, “What happened is tragic and devastating. We extend our deepest condolences to the family,” while a spokesman for Turner Construction, which is overseeing the building, said, “We are deeply saddened by the death of a pedestrian who was walking near the construction site on West 12th Street. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this very difficult time.”

Nguyen, who lived on West 4th Street, had just started working for Keller Williams, a real estate agency. Her former boss Chris Morley at Bien Realty spoke to the Times, “She was extremely excited” about her upcoming wedding this summer to Alejandro Beitler. Morley added that she had wanted to start a family, noting that on Halloween, she dressed up to hand out candy, “She was excited to talk to the kids.”

Beitler, who also works in real estate, was too distraught to speak, and a friend read a statement from him, “She always saw the best in everyone. She was always reminding me to see the same. We were together for five of the best years of our lives. We planned to be married in July of this year. The family and I have decided to bury her in Philadelphia. This is the most devastating loss. She was the woman of my dreams. I hope people will remember her by seeing the best in one another and treating each other with true kindness.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman was “angry,” noting, “The proximity of this construction site to 800 elementary students at a local public school on the block and thousands of residents and workers in the area makes this a matter of the utmost importance.”

Other pedestrians were also horrified about Nguyen’s death. One told NBC New York, “This street is a wind tunnel and it’s been rather dangerous,” while another said to WCBS 880, “Now, I’m not walking down 12th Street. I’m going around.”

One fearful woman said she was scared of falling debris hurting or killing her, “Not from burglars, muggers or terrorists, but construction.”

Daily News : March 19, 2015 : by Kenneth Lovett

ALBANY — Miley Cyrus is now wagging her famous tongue for the homeless.

The singer, who on her last tour slid down a giant tongue, has written a letter to Gov. Cuomo and state legislative leaders asking for more funding in the state budget for homeless youth.

Cyrus is backing a proposal by state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), Coalition for Homeless Youth and Empire State Pride Agenda to include $4.75 million for homeless youth in the upcoming state budget that is being negotiated.

The 22-year-old star says that the number of homeless youth turned away at shelters between 2009 and 2012 grew from 570 to more than 5,000.

“These young people are homeless through no fault of their own,” Cyrus wrote. “They’ve been kicked out of their homes or are fleeing abusive parents. And too often they’re forced into dangerous situations just to find a place to sleep.

“But it doesn’t have to be like this, and there’s a clear way to make an impact right now: more funding for homeless youth shelter beds.”

The one-time “Hannah Montana” star said her call for the funding is tied to the “Happy Hippie Foundation” she founded last year “to rally young people to fight injustice, starting with youth homeless.”

“I’m proud of the work that we’ve done, but we need leaders like you to help,” she wrote.

New York Times : March 16, 2015 : by Jesse McKinley

ALBANY — Staking out a broad vision of ethics reform amid a swirl of other proposals in the capital, New York’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, called for an elimination of all outside jobs for state legislators and the end of a widely criticized system of per diem payments.

In remarks to a panel in Manhattan on Monday by Citizens Union, a government watchdog group, Mr. Schneiderman articulated a deeply pessimistic view of Albany, calling it “the nation’s most consistent epicenter of public corruption,” which has left New Yorkers “living in a golden age of graft.”

He cast doubt on whether promises of reform by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and others would be substantive enough, characterizing past ethics initiatives as “one charade after another.”

“Sadly, every time incremental reforms have been called ‘sweeping’ or ‘groundbreaking’ — billed as a solution to the problem — those words have been proven false,” Mr. Schneiderman, a Democrat, said. “In fact, the primary impact of many highly touted, marginal reforms has been to allow business as usual.”

To that end, Mr. Schneiderman suggested a series of changes, including a ban on outside jobs for legislators, who work part time and earn a base salary of $79,500. He said that it was “impossible to avoid conflicts, or the appearance of conflicts, if legislators have outside employment.”

Mr. Schneiderman also proposed ending per diem payments to legislators, who receive $172 each day they are in Albany and are not required to submit receipts — an honor system which has been cited as ripe for abuse. Under Mr. Schneiderman’s plan, legislators would instead be reimbursed for their travel costs, with such payments capped.

But those restrictions would be coupled with a salary increase of between $33,000 and $94,500 a year, equivalent to the base salaries earned by members of the New York City Council and Congress, respectively. Cost-of-living increases would be automatic, avoiding what the attorney general called “the vicissitudes of Albany sausage-making.”

Mr. Schneiderman made his comments as ethics have taken center stage in budget negotiations in Albany. Last month, Mr. Cuomo, also a Democrat, said he would not approve any budget that did not include his five-point ethics plan, including proposals on income disclosure.

Several of the attorney general’s proposals echoed similar calls from government reform groups, including lowering campaign contribution limits and drastically limiting campaign contributions from any entity with business before the state. Mr. Schneiderman also called for matching public funds for all state elections, like the system used in New York City elections.

But public financing, and several of Mr. Schneiderman’s other proposals, are unlikely to get much traction in the Legislature, where Republicans control the State Senate and oppose using public funds for elections.

Another of Mr. Schneiderman’s ideas, to extend legislative terms to four years from two, would require a constitutional change. It was met with a muted response from a prominent Democrat.

“There may be members who support it; it depends what other reforms it’s tied to,” said Joseph D. Morelle, the State Assembly majority leader. He observed that the two-year term “does require you to be out in your community, at community events, to continue the engagement with voters.”

“And I see that as a positive thing,” he said.

Mr. Schneiderman is far from the only lawman to rail against ethics in Albany, and he made a point in his speech of praising Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Bharara is investigating the Cuomo administration and recently brought an indictment against Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat who stepped down last month as speaker.

But, the attorney general said, “Prosecutors can only respond to the symptoms of a very, very sick system.”

Mr. Cuomo’s ethics proposals also called for greater disclosure of outside income and campaign spending, stiffer penalties and reform of per diems.

In his speech, Mr. Schneiderman praised the governor’s efforts but chided him for not expanding the attorney general’s powers to investigate public corruption.

Mr. Schneiderman’s call to professionalize the Legislature and raise legislators’ salaries could help him find lawmakers willing to sponsor bills with his changes.

State Senator Brad Hoylman, a Democrat from Manhattan, said Mr. Schneiderman’s speech came at a “real Watergate moment” in Albany, and praised the comprehensiveness of the reform ideas.

“These are really the least we can expect from our legislators,” Mr. Hoylman said.

Mr. Schneiderman also appeared to anticipate a guarded response from some legislators, asking them at the tail end of his speech “to set aside the instinct to defend the system.”

“You are not being attacked,” he said. “It’s the system that’s being attacked.”

Capital New York : March 13, 2015 : by Scott Waldman

ALBANY—Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Senate are calling for millions of dollars in clean energy funds be diverted from a key program that controls carbon emissions.

Environmental groups and some lawmakers say that sets a dangerous precedent.

Legislators have regularly attempted to divert money from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a program created by northeastern states that generates money by selling air emissions credits to industrial polluters. The R.G.G.I. program provided almost $100 million to support the state’s clean energy programs last year and is generally controlled by the New York State Research and Development Authority.

Budget proposals from the governor and the State Senate call for money to be moved into the state’s general fund so that it can be distributed to the Environmental Protection Fund, which supports farmland conservation and habitat restoration, among other causes.

Cuomo’s budget calls for $36 million to be taken from the R.G.G.I. program, with $23 million placed in the general fund, and $13 million for the E.P.F.

The Senate budget calls for a sweep of more than half of that amount, or $64 million. Of that, $49 million will go to the E.P.F., most of it for projects that abate greenhouse gas emissions. The GOP-controlled Senate also wants to fully fund the E.P.F. at $200 million.

State Senator John DeFrancisco said the Legislature wants more control over R.G.G.I. funds to better account for how the money is actually spent.

“We put [it in the] budget in order for the legislature to have more control over how that funding is used rather than sole control by the administration over whatever project they want to use it for,” he said during a floor debate for the Senate approved its budget.

Of course, both positions are likely to change during the budget negotiations this month. Other attempts have failed in the past.

And while environmental groups don’t support the sweep of R.G.G.I. funds, it’s a unique recognition of the dangers of climate change from Senate Republicans, who have previously been reluctant to address global warming, said Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of the Environmental Advocates of New York.

Senator Brad Hoylman, a Democrat from Manhattan, questioned whether diverting R.G.G.I. funds was legal. He said the money should not come from a program meant to grow renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. He said he supported a fully funded Environmental Protection Fund, but not at the expense of other programs.

“This is really about combatting climate change and I don’t think there are any climate change deniers in this chamber,” he said.

The Senate also proposed creating a Clean Water Fund that would use $800 million, to be diverted from bank settlement funds, as grants for sewer and water infrastructure. The Assembly proposed $250 million for a similar program, though it would rely on matching grants, for clean water funds. Cuomo has said money from his $1.5 billion upstate economic revitalization competition could be used for infrastructure funds.

“Both houses are now acknowledging there is a shortcoming in the governor’s thinking on clean water infrastructure,” Iwanowicz said. “This is an important recognition.”

Cuomo called for a reform of the state’s Brownfields program, which encourages redevelopment of polluted areas through tax credits for developers. In the executive budget proposal, Cuomo’s reformed Brownfields program will target properties that are “upside-down,” or more expensive to remediate than they are worth. It will also award tax credits to projects that include affordable housing . The credits will be tied to actual clean-up costs.

Senate Republicans balked at similar reforms proposed by Cuomo last year, and agreed to a short-term extension of the current program. Cuomo vetoed the extension bill late last year because he wanted a more thorough reform of the program.

The Assembly did not call for any changes to the program , but proposed extending it for another decade. The Senate would target the Brownfields program to upstate communities.

CORRECTION: The original version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote from Senator John DeFrancisco to Senator John Flanagan.

Saratogian New York : March 12, 2015 : by David Klepper

ALBANY >> Transgender Americans are more likely than others to be harassed at work, denied housing or become the victims of sexual assault, research shows, and they have higher rates of homelessness, unemployment and attempted suicide.

Advocates for the estimated 60,000 transgender residents of New York state say the statistics underscore the need to include gender identity and expression in the state’s civil rights law to make it illegal to discriminate against a transgender person when it comes to jobs, apartments, schools and public accommodations, like hotels and restaurants.

The measure, which has the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has repeatedly passed the New York Assembly but has yet to get a floor debate or vote in the Senate. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have similar laws.

“Trans rights are the unfinished business of the civil rights struggle here in New York,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat.

Opponents say the bill isn’t necessary or could create confusion over the use of gender-segregated public bathrooms. Lawmakers in some states have introduced bills making it illegal for someone to use a bathroom that doesn’t match their biological gender.

New York Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long said he doesn’t believe greater protections are needed. He called the measure a “feel-good” bill that makes for good press releases.

“All human beings should be treated equally,” he said. “I don’t think you need to create special legislation or special categories of human beings.”

New York state now prohibits discrimination based on factors including race, religion, disability and gender. More than half of the state’s population lives in cities that have already enacted local bans on transgender discrimination, including New York, Buffalo and Albany.

Eoghann Renfroe said he has had to worry about whether he would lose his job because he is transgender, and he’s tired of wondering whether his status is protected depending on which city he’s in.

“My humanity cannot be conditioned on a zip code,” he said.

The bill is expected to pass the Assembly again this year, but its fate in the Senate remains unclear. Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos of Long Island said he’s met with supporters of the measure.

“I said I’d review it,” he said Thursday.