Blogs > The Watchdog > Update: Senate passes regulatory-gutting bills, jeopardizing public health and the environment

Update: Senate passes regulatory-gutting bills, jeopardizing public health and the environment

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Late yesterday, the New York State Senate passed bills that would require the repeal of at least 1,000 rules and regulations and give the Legislature the authority to unilaterally review and invalidate rules and regulations. These bills have now been sent to in the Assembly. One bill (S.5166) would require Governor Cuomo to repeal at least 1,000 rules and regulations based on their perceived effects on economic growth and job creation; another (S.3462) would amend the state constitution to give the State Legislature the power to invalidate any rule or regulation deemed inconsistent with legislative intent. If enacted, these measures would result in a significant rollback of public health, safety, and environmental protections without the opportunity for meaningful public input.

By requiring state agencies, departments, public benefit corporations, and authorities to spend months undertaking what is essentially a paperwork exercise to justify their work, this legislation would further hinder the ability of already overburdened and underfunded agencies to dedicate their limited time and resources to protecting New Yorker’s health, safety, and environment.

As concerning, the Senate’s proposed constitutional amendment risks undermining the delicate balance of power between the three branches of government and could jeopardize the ability of administrative agencies to perform vital functions by subjecting their rules and regulations to legislative review and potential invalidation. Shifting political tides could lead to repeated changes in regulations, a lack of continuity and predictability for both individuals and the business community, and invalidation of regulations that appropriately place the cost of polluting activities on the source of that pollution, rather than on the public.

It’s deeply disappointing that the leadership of the Majority Coalition thinks the only way to promote economic growth is to risk our health, safety, and environment. If passed, these measures have the potential to cause long-term environmental damage and public health impacts that will cost the state and taxpayers more money in the long run.

While our leadership is purporting to cut red tape, what they’re really doing is gutting our basic health, safety, and environmental protections. This is no way for the leadership of our state to build a strong future.

View Riverkeeper memos opposing S.5166 and S.3462

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