City Council Member Eugene Ranked One Of Worst On Environment

City Council Member Eugene Ranked One Of Worst On Environment
City Council Member Mathieu Eugene. (Photo: Ditmas Park Corner)

City Council Member Mathieu Eugene has just been ranked one of the worst members of the New York City Council when it comes to performance on environmental issues in 2015, according to an analysis released today by the New York League of Conservation Voters.

Council Member David Greenfield also received a failing score in the League’s assessment.

Why so much focus on the City Council? Legislative and budget actions by the Council are essential to accomplishing environmental goals like cleaner air or less trash on our streets.

“NYLCV looks forward to working closely with the Council to ensure that New York remains a thought leader on sustainability and commits the necessary resources to stay on a healthy and sustainable path,” the League said in a statement today.

Eugene — a Democrat — received a score of 27 (out of 100) from the NYLCV, one of the lowest in the entire Council. He represents City Council district 40, which covers Ditmas Park, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Prospect-Lefferts, and parts of Crown Heights and Kensington.

Eugene received the score because of his lack of support for environmental legislation that is currently moving through the Council but which needs more help in order to make it to the floor for a final vote. When environmental bills highlighted by the NYLCV did come up for a final vote in 2015, the Council Member voted in favor of them.

Eugene’s office did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Examples of still pending bills which Eugene did not support in 2015 include ones that:

  • Prohibit the sale and distribution of children’s products containing toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, lead, and mercury;
  • Mandate the use of building heating oils which release less air pollution;
  • Fix a flawed city rule that says people should not start to cross a street at any point after the pedestrian signal begins flashing red. The bill provides the right of way to pedestrians crossing from a median when a numerical countdown clock has already begun to count down;
  • Require City agencies to develop plans for promoting environmental justice in their programs and policies;
  • impose a 10 cent fee on plastic bags.

In its scoring, the NYLCV gave double points to three bills that they view as priority legislation: the ban on the sale of toxic children’s products; the 10-cent fee on plastic bags; and a ban on the sale of personal care products containing microbeads which kill marine life by absorbing PCB’s and other chemicals.

Council members in our area earned a wide range of scores. David Greenfield also received a 27. Council Member Brad Lander scored 87, while Council Member Jumaane D. Williams received a 73. The Brooklyn Delegation, with an average mark of 87, performed the highest of the five boroughs.

While over a quarter of the Council earned a perfect 100, the average ranking this year was 75, down from 80 last year. Twelve of the city’s 48 council members received a failing score.

Eugene and the rest of the Council will play an important role in the implementation and oversight of Mayor de Blasio’s “One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City,” which aims to make New York City more environmentally sustainable and climate resilient.

The Mayor’s plan focuses on reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, sending zero waste to landfills by 2030 and ensuring that New York City has the best air quality among all large U.S. cities by 2030.

Correction: A previous version of this article omitted Council Member Greenfield’s score, and did not expound on the metrics used to evaluate council members’ records. 2/1/16 at 2:25pm.