One preferred tactic for addressing laws you don’t like is to cut off funding to the point where those laws are no longer enforceable. Budgets are statements of priorities. The past ten years have seen sharp budget cuts at the NYSDEC — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. As a result, according to a report recently issued by The Environmental Advocates for New York, “The DEC is looking less, and finding less.”
Governor Cuomo has sought to compensate for the cuts by having businesses self-report. But it is a questionable strategy to expect polluters to report on themselves. It is also questionable to so slash staff that poaching can proceed practically unchecked. Easing up on environmental enforcement is seen narrowly as being ‘business friendly.’ But a ravaged environment, where the water is undrinkable, the water not fit to swim or fish in, is really bad business. If the appeal of living on Long Island vanishes, all businesses will suffer greatly. It is precisely by vigilantly protecting the environment that we can assure Long Island, New York, and this nation’s economic future.
With such a tremendous need for jobs, and with many many billions of dollars of environmental remediation to implement given all that we have done and are doing to despoil the environment, it would seem that Albany (and our nation ) has its budget priorities precisely backwards.