GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Fracking and mass transit for the new Tappan Zee Bridge were the hot topics among Greenburgh representatives at Wednesday night's "Meet the Candidates" event.
Sponsored by the Sierra Club in conjunction with the Greenburgh Nature Center, local candidates and candidate representatives took a stand on major environmental concerns at the Greenburgh Nature Center. All of the candidates who attended were endorsed by the Sierra Club.
Assembly member Thomas Abinanti (D-Greenburgh), representative of the 92nd District, said the most important environmental issue in the county right now is to keep hydraulic fracturing out of the state.
"I don't think you can have enough regulations protection against it," said Abinanti, who runs unopposed in his re-election to the state Assembly. "It's not a process I think we should be doing."
State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers), running for re-election in Greenburgh’s 35th District, is also active in the political agenda against fracking.
Stewart-Cousins, also running unopposed on the ballot, said that the fracking industry has spent millions of dollars on its commercials backing the gas-extracting method's safety, but when she personally reached out to talk to industry representatives to tell her about the benefits face-to-face, "not one person has showed up."
"I think that speaks volumes," said Stewart-Cousins, who co-sponsors the moratorium on Westchester County fracking. "We must use our considerable efforts to say, 'No. This is not the way for it to be done."
Stewart-Cousins also applauded Gov. Andrew Cuomo's announcement that the state must review fracking's potential public health effects before deciding whether the methods are allowed in the state.
She added that construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge is also an issue among Greenburgh voters — specifically whether the bridge's mass transit will be ready immediately.
"It's up to us to make sure transit-ready doesn't just mean transit-available," she said.
Though economics have dominated the discussion of the presidential campaign, Abinanti said a price needs to be put on things like air and water pollution.
"Businesses seem to think the environment is free, but pollution will cost us," he said. "We have to quantify what pollution means."