Assemblyman Steve Otis (D-Rye) has been appointed by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to serve on a newly formed panel focusing on climate change issues. The 10-member Climate Change Work Group will explore policy initiatives, at both the federal and state levels, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat the effects of climate change.
Otis, a member of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, has long championed environmental causes, including protection of the Long Island Sound, increased funding for the State Environmental Protection Fund and improved emergency preparedness and capability requirements for utility companies. In the Assembly, Otis has fought for increased state aid to localities for much-needed flood mitigation and disaster resiliency projects. He also co-sponsored the Community Risk and Resiliency Act, enacted in September 2014, which requires government planners to consider the impact of storm damage and climate change when making building or rebuilding decisions.
“The greater frequency of extreme weather events, like Superstorm Sandy, leaves no doubt that climate change is real,” said Assemblyman Otis. “I am grateful to Speaker Heastie for his leadership in recognizing that governments at all levels must do their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting our communities from the devastating economic and environmental effects of climate change events.”
The newly formed work group will be led by Assemblyman Steve Englebright, chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, and will make recommendations on potential changes in state law and regulations that can help minimize the damage from, and increase our resiliency to, natural disasters brought on by climate change. In addition to Assemblyman Otis, the work group includes Assemblymembers William Colton, Kevin Cahill, Fred Thiele, Jr., Barbara Lifton, Robert Rodriguez, James Skoufis, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, and Roxanne Persaud.
Noting the record heat waves of the summer months and the crippling snowfall of this winter, Speaker Heastie stated: “The economic and humanitarian costs of these weather extremes are growing and evidence is mounting that the longer we delay action on these measures, the harder it will be to prevent further damage….With the creation of this new work group on climate change, we will help to ensure that our choices moving forward are informed, responsible and in the best interests of our environment and our citizens.”