Volume 73, Number 25 | October 22 - 28, 2003

Lopez gets an ‘F’ on environment

Of all city lawmakers, City Councilmember Margarita Lopez ranks toward the bottom of the class on environmental issues for failing to actively support City Council measures on key issues, according to a recent evaluation by the New York League of Conservation Voters. Lopez received an “F” on the league’s first annual scorecard. On the other hand, Councilmembers Alan Gerson and Christine Quinn got a gold star for their perfect record of signing on to or voting for environmental bills or resolutions.

For its first annual City Council Environmental Scorecard, the league gave lawmakers a score based on to what degree they supported 11 bills on issues ranging from lead paint to park preservation to diesel pollution. The average “passing grade” was 53 percent. Lopez racked up only 27 percent, while Gerson and Quinn each scored a perfect 100.

All city councilmembers are up for reelection this fall.

“We’re hopeful the councilmembers who scored lower down see this as a wakeup call,” said Neill Coleman, a spokesperson for the New York League of Conservation voters. Some councilmembers signed on to more environmental bills after learning about their score, but Lopez was not one of those, said Coleman.

However, Lopez said that the League of Conservation voters overlooked her environmental activism in her district and beyond. For example, Lopez said she has worked to limit the negative impact of the E. 14th St. Con Edison power plant in her neighborhood, and has introduced a bill to designate asthma-free zones in area schools.

“Although I respect this organization very much, their methods of evaluation of councilmembers is very poor and unfair,” Lopez said on Tuesday. Lopez also noted her partner had been going through serious health problems, which had distracted her from addressing the league’s report.

Of the 11 bills chosen by the New York League of Conservation Voters, Lopez actively supported three: one on strengthening laws against lead paint, one requiring the city, when feasible, to purchase and use refined motor oil in its vehicle fleets and the third creating an Adopt-A-Park program.


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