BEDFORD, N.Y.— The New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund brought together Democrat Sean Maloney, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, and incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Nan Hayworth, for an environmental forum on Tuesday.
The league says that candidates have not made environmental conservation a significant issue this campaign season.
The candidates, who are competing in the newly redrawn 18th Congressional District, took turns answering questionsat the Bedford Historical Society’s Bedford Historical Hall posed by environmental experts.
The panelists, which included Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay, asked the candidates about climate change, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as a method of natural gas extraction, clean water and green jobs.
Maloney, of Cold Spring, N.Y., promised to close the nuclear power plant Indian Point and said that Hayworth has received money from oil, nuclear and hydraulic fracturing companies, so will not vote in the interest of putting strictures on company practices that might be harmful to the environment. He noted that Hayworth’s rating from theleague is 43 out of 100.
Maloney said he had hoped that his former boss President Clinton had “shattered the myth that we have to choose between environmental protections and economic growth.”
Hayworth said she would like to see certain government regulations in place for hydraulic fracturing, but these changes had to make sense given the current economic climate.
“As long as we rely on carbon energy, natural gas is an excellent source, it’s the best source we have,” she said.
“I’m hopeful that we can use the lessons learned in other parts of the country not only to create national standards which I think is a very wise idea,” Hayworth said, but also to create a process whereby the work “is continually monitored for any sign there has been a detrimental effect to the environment and that these processes are then continually improved.”
When asked how she would bring green jobs to her district, she said her first concern was bringing jobs to the district in the first place.
Hayworth, a Mount Kisco resident, cited introducing the PACE Protection Act of 2011 as one of the main achievements of her environmental record. The legislation allows municipalities to offer programs that allow property owners to finance energy-efficient and renewable-energy projects for their homes and commercial buildings, which she said is a boon for job creation.
To the same question, Maloney said that his partner of 20 years, Randy Florke, works to create green housing in the Hudson Valley with an eco-friendly modular home company New World Home. He added that much of the construction materials are made locally in a high tech factory, which has created good manufacturing jobs related to green technology. "If we can do that and build those kinds of things right here, then we both help the environment and help out economy grow jobs," he said.
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