North Country Public Radio
June 13, 2016

Stefanik on invasives, EPA carbon limits, and her environmental record

North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik has received mixed reviews from green groups on her environmental record. She bucked the mainstream of her party by saying Congress should take climate change seriously and supports legislation that would come up with a plan for reducing carbon in the atmosphere.

But she voted to block an effort by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce emissions from power plants. Power plants in the Midwest are known to cause acid rain and mercury pollution in the Adirondacks.

Stefanik’s latest effort is to use the mail to raise money to fight invasive species. She is cosponsor of a bill that would create an invasive species postage stamp. It would cost more than a regular stamp. Sales would help fund federal programs that try to curb the spread of invasive species. The plan is modeled on a similar stamp for breast cancer research.

Stefanik spoke with David Sommerstein about environmental issues:

David Sommerstein: How did you choose this approach to deal with invasive species, creating a postage stamp. Why not create new programs or reinforce funding for programs that already fight invasive species?

Rep. Elise Stefanik: We can do both. This is one of the efforts. The idea for the Stamp Out Invasive Species Actcame from a roundtbale that I hosted in Clayton, and it was suggestion by one of the former town supervisors in the Adirondacks from Warren County, who really led the effort in combating invasive species in Lake George, which is now a county-wide initiative. I am supportive of multiple efforts, whether it’s at the state level–I am supportive of the governor’s memorandum of understanding to combat invasive species and the funding that goes along with it. But this is a creative way to raise awareness about the issue, but also a creative way to fund programs to combat invasive species.

DS: So, what would the stamp look like? We have a picture of a sea lamprey on it, or an Asian horned beetle on it or something?

ES: Actually the stamp, the detail on the stamp is up for discussion. The bill does not include what has to be, what species is on the stamp. We have gotten tremendous support from the delegation of upstate New York on a bipartisan basis. But I have also gotten support from other members of congress from other states who understand that invasive species are in every congressional district across this country. The reason why New York is so important is often times we are the gateway, unfortunately, of aquatic invasive species. And a lot of that stems from the fact that we are the gateway for significant amounts of trade, whether it is along the Hudson River or the Saint Lawrence River.

Read the entire article here and follow Elise on Twitter and Facebook for more updates.