ALBANY – Senator Craig M. Johnson applauded today's vote by the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee to confirm Alexander “Pete” Grannis' nomination for Commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Johnson, (D-Port Washington), the Ranking Member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, called Grannis “the right choice to lead this critically important agency at this critically important time.”
“Assemblyman Grannis' testimony has shown that he has the qualifications and the capability to lead the DEC,” Johnson said. “I was proud to vote for his nomination and I have no doubt that he will make an excellent commissioner.”
Johnson thanked Committee Chairman Carl J. Marcellino for conducting a fair and even-handed hearing.
Senator Johnson said he was particularly pleased to hear of Grannis' commitment to reversing the staffing shortages that has afflicted the DEC during the Pataki administration.
The DEC's workforce, which stood at 4,040 in 1994 was cut by more than 800 employees during the last 12 years. The cuts have raised concerns from environmental groups and the state Comptroller's Office that the agency's permit monitoring process has suffered.
Gov. Spitzer's budget proposal included funding for 109 new DEC employees, which Johnson said “would be a first step toward correcting this disturbing trend.”
Funding for these positions was slashed in the Republican majority's budget plan.
“I cannot stress how vital it is that this agency has the resources it needs to make sure that New York's skies remain clear and its land and water remain clean,” Johnson said. “The DEC's mission not only affects us, but future generations of New Yorkers as well.”
Johnson praised Grannis' 33-year record of public service that shows “his dedication to the environment and the concept of environmental stewardship.”
In the Assembly, Grannis has led the charge on passing Brownfield legislation, the original Bottle Bill and air emission standards. Grannis also led the Assembly's first Subcommittee on Toxic Wastes, sponsored legislation mandating that worker's are informed of hazardous materials in their work place and has worked to regulate the transport, storage and disposal of toxic wastes.
His efforts have earned him the Legislator of the Year award from the Environmental Planning Lobby three times. He has been similarly recognized by the Audubon Society, the Environmental Action Coalition and Environmental Advocates.