The New York League of Conservation Voters’ recently published 2017 Scorecard shows the majority of Brooklyn’s Councilmembers have perfect records supporting environmental legislation—but a few members of the delegation are well behind.
Laurie Cumbo, Robert Cornegy and Mathieu Eugene were all singled out in the report for their low scores—60 for Cumbo, and 62 for Cornegy and Eugene, against an average Brooklyn Councilmember score of 87. In 2016, Mathieu Eugene was similarly ranked as having one of the worst environmental records on the Council.
Ten of Brooklyn’s 16 Councilmembers were given perfect ratings of 100: Stephen Levin, Antonio Reynoso, Rafael Espinal, Carlos Menchaca, Brad Lander, Inez Barron, David Greenfield, Jumaane Williams, Mark Treyger and Alan Maisel.
The Councilmembers were graded according to their votes on 11 bills that the NY League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) determined to be key aspects of the year’s environmental legislation. By casting pro-environment votes or co-sponsoring legislation, Councilmembers earned points, while voting against the bills resulted in penalties.
The slate of 11 key bills was decided on through deliberation of a “Green Group” convened by the NYLCV, consisting of environmental, transit, public health and environmental justice organizations.
All three low-scoring Councilmembers were judged as against Intro 1765, which would require the DOT to install signal priority on 10 bus routes per year over the next 4 years, in an effort to sync traffic signals and speed up bus service.
Additionally, the report found they didn’t support a bill that would require the Department of Parks and Recreation to expand its online capital projects tracker. Intro 1680 would require more detailed information about delays, cost overruns and sources of funding for capital projects.
Finally, all three were rated as against Intro 1689, a bill that would require the Department of Environmental Protection to notify the City Council and nearby community boards when bodies of water were rendered unsafe by sewage overflow—often caused by rains that overburden the city’s drains—or the presence of harmful chemicals.
The committee determined that Councilmembers Cornegy and Eugene weren’t supportive of the bill to create standards for lead testing of the water at child care centers and require testing to occur every 5 years. The committee did see Cumbo as supportive of the bill, Intro 1545. (Cumbo’s lower cumulative score is due to a number of medical absences during voting.)
On a positive note, out of the 11 bills selected by the green committee as representative of the Council’s environmental priorities, three were sponsored by Brooklyn councilmembers:
Rafael Espinal passed both Intro 1514 and Intro 1661 in 2017 by unanimous votes. The former created a web portal to better organize food donations and create a system for reducing food waste. The latter bill was in an effort to promote urban agriculture, consolidating information online and informing residents about suitable sites for community urban agriculture projects.