PLATTSBURGH, NY—Today, Aaron Woolf announced that the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) has endorsed his campaign for Congress. At today’s press conference in Macdonough Park, Woolf also called on his opponent, Elise Stefanik, to stop supporting policies that would hurt the North Country’s environment, and as a result, the region’s economy.
“The Adirondacks and our local waters not only make our region one of the most spectacular in the world—they continue to be a leading driver of our economy,” Woolf said. “Our small businesses, tourism, fishing, and farming depend on clean water and land. That is why our district deserves a Representative who will protect our environment and the jobs they support, and fight to invest in our renewable energy sector. For these reasons, I’m honored to be endorsed by the New York League of Conservation Voters and I thank the organization for its support.”
NYLCV was represented by one of its board members, Lawrence Schillinger. In a statement, LCV Action Fund President, Gene Karpinski, said “As someone who has spent his career seeing how government policies impact people, Aaron Woolf has demonstrated an inquisitive nature that will serve him well in the halls of Congress—he’s a thoughtful environmental ally who will facilitate practical bipartisan solutions to problems like climate change. Both New Yorkers and Americans across the county can rest assured that Aaron Woolf, a long-time outdoorsman, will help preserve the spectacular natural resources of the Adirondack Mountains.”
In order to protect the North Country’s environment, and help strengthen its economy, Woolf would:
• Fight for Investments in Renewable Energy. Woolf understands that up to 94 percent of the district’s electricity is generated by renewables; and that about a third of the state’s renewable electricity is produced in the North Country. To boost this sector, he would fight to reauthorize the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit which provide investment in renewable energy.
o Elise Stefanik, on the other hand, has said that she opposes “all federal subsidies to companies for alternative energy projects.” The question is why a prospective representative would reject the government’s help in promoting our local economy and protecting our environment? Especially when Stefanik refuses to support closing tax loopholes for Big Oil companies.
• Urge the U.S. Transportation Department to immediately prohibit oil companies and rail roads from shipping explosive crude oil or any other hazardous liquids using the old-style model DOT-111 rail tanker cars that are prone to leakage. These cars caused the Lac-Megantic tragedy in Quebec last summer and set the James River on fire in Lynchburg, Virginia in May.
• Fight for the U.S. Government to provide funding to help communities apply for and develop clean water infrastructure. Federal support for such a basic community need as clean water and sewage has fallen precipitously over the years. As a result, the development of clean water infrastructure now comes largely at the expense of local taxpayers. We have to reverse this trend and at the same time make it easier for local communities to take action. Right now there are at least four separate federal agencies that provide support for water and sewer infrastructure. The grant application process can be so trying that many of our smaller communities simply don’t have the staff or expertise necessary to get support. Woolf will put facilitating this process at the top of his priorities.
• Work to prevent the spread of invasive species. The spiny water flea is now a confirmed infestation in Lake Champlain. While the state has implemented new rules to help combat invasive species, there is little funding for widespread boat inspections or for a team of experts who can investigate and control or eradicate terrestrial infestations. Instead, local communities like Lake George, Lake Placid, and Upper Saranac Lake are spending millions of dollars a year to protect their tourism economies from invasive species like Eurasian milfoil, zebra mussels, and hydrilla. Most of the park remains free of invasives. But keeping them out is cheaper and easier on the environment than trying to rid them in the future.
• Fight for the Land & Water Conservation Fund. This program was designed to provide $900 million a year for conservation easements and public lands. Conservation easements help timberland owners and farmers stay in business, keeping their lands intact and undeveloped, while creating new jobs and producing local wood, food, and feed products. The Republican controlled House, however, has starved this program. Woolf would work across the aisle to ensure that this important program receives the funding in order to protect the North Country’s economy.
Conversely, Stefanik supports the expanded use of coal power. She uses Washington speak concerning “clean coal,” which is expensive and impractical to implement. Her position on coal also indicates a lack of understanding of the district and its energy history. Airborne pollutants threaten the Adirondacks and the jobs and dollars it supports.
Stefanik also is an unabashed supporter of fracking without strict regulation. Woolf has made it clear that if companies choose to frack, they must abide by laws such as the Safe Drinking Water Act; and local communities must have meaningful input and access to information. This is the only way that we can truly measure the long term effects of fracking on our environment and communities. Stefanik, however, has yet to advocate for any restraints—a proposition which threatens the health of our environment, including our farming land.
Because agriculture represents $5.7 billion of New York’s economy, North Country farmers and citizens can’t afford to elect a Representative like Elise Stefanik. Helping to make this point was Simon Conroy, a local farmer who depends on a clean environment to produce a safe and sellable product and therefore supports Woolf for Congress.
Woolf was also joined by Tim Burke, of Whallonsburg, who owns an apartment complex in Plattsburgh and depends on clean drinking water and a sanitary sewage system to ensure his property is attractive to prospective tenants. Burke also is the former Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner in the State of Vermont.
“I trust Aaron Woolf to get us the environmental infrastructure investments that will bolster our economy and create jobs in the North Country,” Burke said. “He understands that a clean environment is important to a thriving economy.”
Paid for by the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund and authorized by New York League of Conservation Voters Federal Fund and Aaron Woolf for Congress.