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These New York City lawmakers had the best environmental records in 2020

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Manhattan’s 10 City Council members are keeping it 100 when it comes to protecting the environment, according to the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV).

The Manhattan delegation at City Hall scored 100% on the NYLCV’s annual City Council Scorecard for 2020, as the 10 members actively supported a dozen eco-friendly bills presented last year. It’s the first time in the scorecard’s history that an entire borough’s City Council delegation had a perfect rating, the NYLCV reported.

The grades were primarily based on the legislators’ support or opposition to a slate of 12 environmental bills before the City Council in 2020. The legislation included topics such as transforming Rikers Island from a jail to a green energy hub; boosting rent regulation; phasing out diesel school buses; banning plastic straws; permitting e-bike and e-scooter usage; and creating more organic waste drop-off sites and recycling programs.

“Our primary tool for holding Council Members accountable for supporting the priorities included in the agenda is our annual New York City Council Environmental Scorecard,” wrote Julie Tighe, president of the NYLCV. “2021 will be a big year for New York City. We will elect a new Mayor, Comptroller, and two-thirds of the City Council. It is more important than ever for the City to remain committed to the
environment and serve as a role model for other cities to follow. We hope candidates for office will look at this year’s Scorecard as a guide to inform their positions during their campaigns and their time in office if elected.”

In all, nearly half of the 51-member City Council scored a 100% rating — including the chairs of the City Council Committees on Resiliency and Waterfronts (Brooklyn’s Justin Brannan); Environmental Protection (Queens’ Costa Constantinides); Health (Manhattan’s Mark Levine); Sanitation and Solid Waste (Brooklyn/Queens’ Antonio Reynoso); and Transportation (Manhattan’s Ydanis Rodriguez).

“I never got a 100 on anything in school — even when I had the answers beforehand — so this is a big deal for me,” Brannan joked in a statement, “especially since this is ultimately about climate change, the greatest existential threat of our time. Elected officials have an obligation and responsibility, not only to divorce ourselves from industries that are destroying our collective future, but to fight for clean air, clean water, renewable energy, and more open space. I’m thankful to work alongside NYLCV.”

Former Bronx City Councilman and current Congressman Ritchie Torres, and former Queens Councilman and current Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, also earned a 100% mark from the NYLCV for their 2020 service to the City Council. 

Other City Council members with a perfect score on the NYLCV’s 2020 scorecard were:

  • Brooklyn — Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Laurie Cumbo, Brad Lander, Farah Louis, Alan Maisel and Mark Treyger
  • Manhattan — Diana Ayala, Margaret Chin, Ben Kallos, Bill Perkins, Keith Powers, Carlina Rivera and Helen Rosenthal
  • Queens — Adrienne Adams, Barry Grodenchik and Jimmy Van Bramer

On the flip side, 10 City Council members citywide flunked the NYLCV scorecard, earning a failing score of under 70%.

The lowest-rated lawmakers on the scorecard was Staten Island’s Joe Borelli and Steven Matteo; they each earned just 33%, with the NYLCV pointing out their opposition to expanded rent regulation, the Renewable Rikers plan, the diesel school bus ban, the prohibition on plastic straws and the expansion of organic waste drop-offs.

The other eight City Council members who didn’t make the grade were: 

  • Bronx — Andy King (50%, he was expelled from the Council last fall); Mark Gjonaj (64%) and Ruben Diaz Sr. (42%)
  • Queens — I. Daneek Miller (58%), Robert Holden (67%) and Eric Ulrich (58%)
  • Brooklyn — Kalman Yeger (50%) and Chaim Deutsch (50%)

Visit the NYLCV’s website, nylcv.org, to read the full 2020 scorecard.

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