Opinion: Stefanik failing to take stance on environment, says Canton resident
Monday, January 9, 2017 - 6:39 am

To the Editor:

From coursing rivers to high peaks, there is much to see and enjoy in the North Country. Considering the ecological gifts we have received just by living here, the least we can do is to instill in our children an appreciation, enjoyment and sense of stewardship concerning the outdoors.

At first glance, Representative Elise Stefanik would appear to agree with these sentiments. Her website states, "In the North Country, we are fortunate to be surrounded by many ecological treasures. Protecting these gems for future generations is a job I take very seriously."

Representative Stefanik made this statement in reference to Plan 2014, which is intended to regulate water levels in the St. Lawrence River so as to preserve access and prepare for climate change.

In light of Representative Stefanik's supposed support for ecological protections, it is troubling that she has refused to object to the incoming president's choice of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, a Department whose very mission of environmental protection Mr. Pruitt has vociferously opposed.

In fact, just this May, Mr. Pruitt denied the vast scientific consensus on climate change in an article he co-penned for the National Review. As Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt sued the EPA over clean energy initiatives. Not incidentally, the reckless disposal of fracking wastewater in Pruitt's state has led to environmental chaos, with impacts on drinking water and severe manmade earthquakes.

I tried repeatedly to get a straight answer from Representative Stefanik concerning the Pruitt appointment, but every time I called one of her three regional offices, her staffers responded that they were unaware of Stefanik's position on Pruitt.

At other times, I was told that someone from Congresswoman Stefanik's office would get back to me concerning her position. No one ever called back, leading me to believe that either the Congresswoman is uninformed about what is cooking in Washington, or she simply does not care all that much about the environment.

Perhaps she is so myopic as to believe that the only parts of the environment worth protecting are those she can see from her own backyard when she is occasionally in town.

We in the North Country deserve representatives who build upon ecological gains rather than undermine them. We need representatives unafraid to take positions that protect the environment, regardless of their party line. And we need representatives who have the guts to call us back.

Benjamin Landry