Environment

Assemblyman Abinanti is pro-environment. He stands up for our comminity – clean air, water and land. Our future depends on what we do today.

Fracking

Assemblyman Abinanti is an outspoken critic of high volume hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in New York. The Assembly passed (for the fourth time) a 3 year ban on fracking.

Clean Water $ Raid

Partnering with environmental groups, Assemblyman Abinanti opposed the Thruway Authority’s plan to borrow $511 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to partially finance the Tappan Zee Construction project – diverting money that should be used for real clean water projects.

Motor Vehicle Idling

To improve air quality, Assemblyman Abinanti proposed a statewide law to prohibit motor vehicle idling for more than 3 minutes – modeled after the law he passed when he was a Westchester County Legislator.

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As a County Legislator, Tom was a leader in protecting our environment.
He didn’t just talk about it. He did it.

A Plan for Clean Air

Our region does not meet federal Clean Air Act standards for ozone and particulate matter. As Environment Committee Chair, Tom appointed a task force which developed a plan to make Westchester’s air cleaner by controlling diesel fuel emissions from local sources. The Environment Committee studied the report and discussed its implications. Tom drafted a package of legislation to implement the report’s recommendations.

The Westchester Legislature unanimously approved a two-part package:

– requiring that all diesel vehicles used by the county and contractors doing county work use ultra-low sulfur fuel and the best available technology to filter emissions

– limiting idling time for diesel trucks and buses to 3 minutes.

In addition, the Board of Legislators recently approved legislation that Tom proposed to decrease carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions into our air. The new law prohibits all drivers from idling their vehicles for more than three minutes. The law exempts emergency responders, hybrid vehicles and business vehicles operating auxiliary equipment (i.e. cement trucks, ice cream vendors).

A Plan for Clean Water

As Environment Committee Chair, Tom led the Board of Legislators to support a new law designed to encourage an estimated 7000 property owners in sewer districts who are not connected to sewer lines to reduce contamination that can compromise water quality. The new law gives them a partial tax rebate for the cost of inspections and maintenance.

Tom also led the Board of Legislators to approve a new plan to upgrade two sewage treatment plants that discharge into Long Island Sound. Environmental groups praised the new plan designed to reduce nitrogen discharges in waste water which contribute to a “dead zone” in the Sound. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation mandated the upgrade to comply with the Federal Clean Water Act. The largest capital project in Westchester history, estimated at $235 million– at least $100 million less than a 2004 plan– will be paid for by Sound shore residents.

Preserving Open Space

We must preserve as much open space as possible for all Westchester residents of today and tomorrow, and put the brakes on the unbridled development that is choking us with traffic and ever threatening our quality of life.

Westchester, particularly southern Westchester, desperately needs recreational open space. We must continue to protect open space.

Tom Abinanti pushed the County to participate in the purchase and preservation of numerous environmentally sensitive parcels, including:

– Taxter Ridge (200 acres in East Irvington)
– Westwood (30 acres in Irvington)
– Hillside Woods (Hastings-on-Hudson)
– Hartsbrook Park (130 acres of Hartsdale woodlands, formerly the Gaisman Estate)
– 39 acres on the Hudson, between Lyndhurst and Sunnyside (Irvington/Tarrytown), for a County passive recreation park (formerly owned by the Unification Church)
– a large part of Glenville Woods (on Tarrytown Road, across from the Marriot in Greenburgh)

Tom  has voted for every open-space acquisition/ preservation measure to come before the Westchester Legislature. Even when pressured by housing advocates, and even though others conceded, Tom continued to fight to preserve Rory O’Moore (Yonkers).

The County has budgeted for better upkeep of County parks and a special unit within our Parks and Recreation Department, just to  take care of the County’s open space and recreation holdings in southern Westchester. This means more enjoyable leisure time for you and your family, which  is especially important in our area since we will be adding more County open space in Greenburgh.

The surge in school-age population, the residential building boom, and the increasing popularity of soccer have combined to overwhelm our outdoor athletic fields. Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and Tom Abinanti are working together to identify suitable sites and to forge a County-local partnership to convert them to regional playing fields.

Protecting Community Open Space

We must protect smaller parcels as well. We now have a new law, which Tom Abinanti proposed, to require that the County first offer excess land to municipalities before selling the parcels to others. At his suggestion, the County legislature had asked the state to do the same.

Protecting You From Pesticides

The Board of Legislators has enacted a new County law to require that you get adequate warning about any nearby use of pesticides. All commercial pesticide applicators must now give at least a 48-hour warning to neighbors before spraying pesticides near their homes. This lets you take precautions to safeguard your children, pets and possessions. Another new law now mandates phasing out the use of pesticides on County-owned property.

Tom Abinanti strongly objected when the County sprayed pesticide–first by air and then by truck–as part of what he predicted would be a futile attempt to kill mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus. The County is now using the preventive approach that Tom called for almost 2 years ago–applying larvicides and helping the most susceptible avoid contact with the contaminated mosquitoes.

Protecting Our Environment


Tom Abinanti successfully opposed widening Interstate 287. While everyone else was promoting HOV-lanes or avoiding a public opinion, Tom used his position as Chair of the Board’s Community Affairs Committee to fast-track a Resolution against expanding I-287 – despite the county executive’s opposition–and it was passed unanimously by the Westchester Legislature!

Tom has been outspoken in his opposition to the addition of another “Tappan Zee Bridge.”

Tom sponsored the County’s Household Hazard Waste Notification law. He voted to initiate Countywide recycling, and for the historic Watershed Agreement to safeguard our drinking water.

Tom Abinanti is one of only three legislators who voted to require a full Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed GE Hangar at Westchester County Airport.