The New York League of Conservation Voters, which works to make environmental sustainability a top political and policy priority in New York State, has named Senator George Maziarz (62nd Senate District) a 2013 “Eco-Star” for his work on environmental initiatives in Albany.
NYLCV’s Eco-Star award is presented to those elected leaders who authored critical legislation, lobbied their colleagues and helped broker bipartisan, bicameral solutions to New York’s many environmental and energy challenges. Senator George Maziarz played a pivotal role in the Senate’s passage of the Mercury Thermostat Collection Act (S.1676/A.8084) that established a mandatory collection program for out-of-service thermostats that contain mercury. During the final hours of the legislative session when there is intense competition and limited time for bills to be placed on the voting calendar, Maziarz was successful in prioritizing this bill and lobbying his conference to pass it.
The Mercury Thermostat Collection Act, which sets a goal of collecting 15,500 thermostats in 2015, will establish and maintain programs for the collection, transportation and management of out-of-service, mercury-containing thermostats. It will also obligate manufacturers to create outreach and education programs for wholesalers, retailers, contractors and homeowners to ensure maximum participation. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that can damage the brain, kidney and nervous system and is particularly threatening to pregnant women and children.
“Until now New York has had one of the worst records in the nation in keeping mercury-containing thermostats out of the waste stream,” said NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn. “That will change with this new legislation, which protects the environment as well as public health. The passage of the Mercury Thermostat Collection Act is one of the most important environmental victories in Albany this year and would not have been possible without Senator Maziarz.”
Senator George Maziarz said, “I am honored to receive this award from the New York League of Conservation Voters, and I was glad to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this sensible bill passed. Getting old mercury thermostats out of homes will help reduce the public health threat posed by these devices. It will help keep families safe.”
A complete list of NYLCV’s 2013 Eco-Stars can be found at www.nylcv.org. NYLCV recently awarded the New York State Legislature an overall grade of “B-” for progress on environmental and energy issues in the 2013 legislative session.