The New York State Senate has killed a water quality
improvement bill, by refusing even to bring it to the Senate floor
for a vote before adjourning the legislative session. The State
Assembly approved the same measure by a margin of 112-24.
The proposed legislation was introduced in the Senate
by Senator Kenneth P. Lavalle and in the Assembly by Assemblyman
Robert K. Sweeney. Titled the Long Island Wa-ter Quality Control
Act, the bill would have reduced the discharge of contaminants
into groundwater and established a regulatory framework to improve
the quality of drinking and surface waters on Long Island. The bill
was in response to concerns from scientists and environmentalists
about declining water quality across the Island.
After nine months of input from citizens, businesses
and government officials, and a five-hundred to one ratio of supporting
versus opposing comments to Albany lawmak-ers, the State Senate
left the bill to die in committee.
Supporters of the bill included all of Long Islands
water suppliers, dozens of groups who support improved water quality
and thousands of Long Islanders who drink, wash or swim in Long
Island water. The Senate chose to protect the polluters, particularly
the developers and the agriculture industry, instead of the quality
of water affecting nearly three-million Long Islanders its
outrageous. The measure had been opposed by the Long Island
Farm Bureau and the Long Island Builders Institute.
The farmers said simply that they wanted no additional
regulations to prevent the dis-charge of fertilizers and pesticides
into groundwater. The developers promised last January, that they
would oppose water quality improvement unless the bill provided
for the construction of 50,000 new houses. They basically told Long
Islanders that their group would oppose improving water quality
unless the bill allowed them to continue polluting Long Islands
The Long Island Environmental Voters Forum has taken
the position that those who did not vote to support the clean water
bill, no matter what the reason, are ineligible for endorsement
in the state-wide elections, this fall. Environmentalists vowed
to pursue the legislation.