An environmental group has given Senate Independent Democratic Leader Jeff Klein its 2013 Oil Slick award, claiming the Senate Co-leader has done more than any other state legislator to harm the environment.
Senator Klein, who has supported environmental issues throughout his career, won the dubious distinction for going along with Senate Republicans in a coalition government, says Environmental Advocates’ Dave Gahl. He says Klein refused to stick up for bills like a moratorium on hydrofracking, and legislation to protect children from toxic products, even though the bills had enough Senate sponsors to pass if the measures were allowed to come to the floor for a vote.
“We’re hoping that this is a wakeup call to the Senator,” said Gahl. “These issues matter and they’ve got to do better next year.”
Klein’s Senate leadership partner, Republican Dean Skelos did not share the oil slick award, but received a low grade from the group. Among the lawmakers with the highest score was Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who voted with the groups agenda 100% of the time.
In a statement, Senator Klein's spokesman Eric Soufer said: "Environmental Advocates is about as credible on climate policy as the Koch Brothers are on tax policy. Today's event was just another cheap gimmick brought to you by the tea party of the left. But we should expect nothing less from a group run by expendable ex-staffers from the Senate Democrats' failed turn in power. Senator Klein not only opposes hydrofracking outright, but has been endorsed by nearly every environmental group in every election he has ever run. We will let those facts speak for themselves."
Environmental Advocate's spokesman Travis Proulx used to work as a spokesman for the Senate Democrats, who have often been at odds with the Independent Democratic Conference.
Proulx responded:"Senator Klein made himself Senate leader, and neither he nor his staff should be surprised that New Yorkers now expect him to lead."