News > News > Riverkeeper > Riverkeeper Opposes Mandate of Governor Paterson’s Executive Order 25

Riverkeeper Opposes Mandate of Governor Paterson’s Executive Order 25


Tina Posterli, 914-478-4501 x 239

For Immediate Release:

New York’s leading clean water advocate calls on Department of Environmental Conservation to open regulatory review process to public scrutiny

Tarrytown, NY – March 1, 2010 — Riverkeeper has submitted comments to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), opposing the mandate of Governor Paterson’s Executive Order 25 (“the Order”) and urging the DEC to fully include the public in all stages of the review of its regulations mandated by the Order.

The Order, signed by Governor Paterson on August 6, 2009, grants almost unlimited power to a small group of political appointees led by Secretary to the Governor Larry Schwarz to remake the state’s regulatory system to serve their own political interests. It mandates the following:

  • The DEC, Department of Health and other agencies must gather public comment on regulations that are deemed “unduly burdensome” and submit a report to the “Review Committee’ listing which regulations should be revised or eliminated.
  • The Order is biased in favor of business and anti-environmental interests, because it does not require DEC to consider or solicit comment on strengthening current regulations that do not adequately protect the state’s environment.
  • If the DEC declines to recommend any changes, the Review Committee claims the authority to direct agencies to “reappraise or repeal” regulations.
  • The Order does not require further public comment until regulations are actually proposed for repeal or revision—Riverkeeper is calling on the DEC to publicly disclose its draft report to the Review Committee for public comment.
  • Riverkeeper strongly opposes the Order, because it allows a handpicked group of top aides to ignore the expertise and advice of the DEC Commissioner and revise or repeal state regulations considered outdated or overly burdensome to businesses, without regard to how well they protect the state’s natural resources.

    “In one of the most aggressively anti-environmental schemes ever dreamed up by a sitting governor, David Paterson has effectively invited the business community to assist the Governor’s top aides, few if any of whom have any environmental expertise, in rewriting or eliminating the very rules designed to safeguard our natural resources and protect the health and safety of the State’s residents,” stated Alex Matthiessen, Hudson Riverkeeper and President. “Rather than streamlining the regulatory process, this Regulatory Review and Reform program places further strain on the DEC’s beleaguered permitting and enforcement staff, by forcing them to review thousands of regulations that have already undergone extensive public review.”

    “The DEC should view this executive mandate as an opportunity, however unwelcome, to engage the public in a meaningful dialogue that will lead to improving, not reducing effective environmental regulation in New York,” said Phillip Musegaas, Riverkeeper Staff Attorney and Hudson River Program Director. “It is critical that the DEC, the agency with the expertise and experience to protect the environment, be in charge of periodically reviewing and revising its own regulations; this responsibility should not be delegated to a politically motivated and economically driven review committee that has neither the experience nor the perspective needed to make sound decisions regarding environmental protection.”

    Riverkeeper’s Full Comments

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