Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo, At NYU, Calls For Action On Climate Change

Appearing at conference on climate change at New York University, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday afternoon called for an overhaul in favor of using clean energy, but warned it would be an uphill climb.

At the same time, Cuomo touted the state’s high-dollar investment in SolarCity to construct a factory in Buffalo, which is part of an inquiry being conducted by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Cuomo, in his remarks, warned the effort to shift to renewable and clean energy would be met with stiff resistance from “powerful special interests” — namely oil and coal companies.

“You are saying to them, basically, I want to put you out of business,” he said. “Don’t forget the political backdrop to this. The coal and the oil companies are going to fight change.”

Cuomo has often emphasized a push to prepare New York for rising waters and extreme weather events. The state is preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Joaquin, though it is likely the storm will not make landfall in New York as initially feared.

But Cuomo’s address on Friday afternoon at NYU focused heavily on the state’s push into clean energy, touting a plan to have 50 percent clean energy usage in the next 15 years.

The transition, in addition to the political forces, will be an expensive one, which Cuomo said required an investment of resources.

“You can prove savings with renewable savings,” he said, “but you can finance the transition to clean energy.”

Paired with his remarks came an announcement the state will launch a clean-energy competition for colleges and universities in the state focusing on student plans to develop “creative ideas” for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Three groups that submit the best ideas will be awarded $1 million to help implement the plans.

Basil Seggos Nominated For DEC Commissioner

seggosBasil Seggos, a top advisor to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the environment, has been nominated to become the next commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, the governor’s office on Friday announced.

Word of the Seggos’s nomination was first reported by Politico New York and later confirmed by the Cuomo administration.

“Basil is an exceptional public servant, a strong advocate for the environment, and is dedicated to serving the public both as a member of my administration and as a member of the U.S. military,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I am proud to nominate him as Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner, where he will continue to advance the agency’s critically important mission of protecting New York’s natural beauty and resources.”

Seggos joined the administration in 2012 and has been the deputy secretary for the environment since 2013. He is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and serves in a Schenectady-based JAG unit.

Before that, Seggos worked as a vice president of business development at the Hugo Neu Corp., a private-equity firm that focuses on recycling and sustainable industry. More >

Cuomo Reiterates Continued Support For Clinton

cuomobidenGov. Andrew Cuomo insisted in an interview on NY1 Friday morning that he will continue to support Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid even if Vice President Joe Biden enters the race.

Cuomo is close to the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, having worked in former President Bill Clinton’s administration and serving in his cabinet.

But Cuomo in recent months has been increasingly aligned with Vice President Joe Biden on key issues such as economic development, the overhaul of LaGuardia Aiport and increasing the minimum wage.

“I am also a friend of the vice president and a fan of the vice president. People talk about political choices like they are death matches,” Cuomo said, echoing comments he’s made before about the potential primary between the two political heavyweights. “If you support one then you have to hate the other person because they’re the enemy. I support Hillary, but the vice president is a good man.”

Cuomo had previously suggested he would welcome Biden’s late entry into the campaign, saying it would put Democrats in a bind because they would have a number of good choices for president.

But Cuomo insisted on Friday his support for Clinton wouldn’t shift to Biden were he to enter the race.

“I support Hillary Clinton and that’s not going to change,” he said, adding, “My opinion of him is not going to change if he gets into the race.”

Cuomo Wants Gun Control To Be Issue In 2016 Campaign

cuomoboltonAfter a community college shooting left 10 people dead, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the 2016 presidential candidates — both parties — should be talking about gun control.

At the same time, Cuomo is calling on Democrats nationally to take a page from the GOP playbook and threaten a government shutdown over gun control.

“I would like to see Hillary and the vice president and whoever else is in the race on both sides talk about this issue of guns and let’s have that as one of the top priorities,” Cuomo said during an interview on NY1. “Rather than the political blather that is now going on and let’s put some real issues on the agenda and let’s put at the top: What are you going to do about guns?”

Cuomo himself, of course, was listed as a potential presidential contender, but ultimately stayed on the sidelines and has endorsed Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York.

Cuomo condemned the latest mass shooting, saying it was “discouraging” lawmakers at the federal level are yet to act on stemming gun violence in the country.

“It is really sad and tragic and discouraging,” he said. “It is such a blatant failure of our political system and frankly such a blatant failure of the elected officials in this country.”

Cuomo touted the package of gun control laws he pushed through in 2013 as “the best” in the nation, which came in the wake of an elementary school shooting.

But the governor said that measure can only go so far, given illegal weapons can be driven in from out of state.

“I close the front door to guns, they open the back door,” Cuomo said. “We have learned nothing.”

The issue took on a new, more personal intensity for Cuomo following the death of Carey Gabay, an attorney in his administration who was killed after being shot in the head by a stray bullet in Brooklyn.

Gun control has become such a fervent concern for Cuomo — who has blasted Washington, D.C. gridlock in contrast to Albany’s recent legislative output — that he would support the risk of a government shutdown if it meant passing new federal legislation.

“I’d love to see the Democrats stand up and say we’re going to shut down the government or threaten to shut down the government if we don’t get real gun control legislation,” Cuomo said. “It should be that high a priority.”

Cuomo Blames Washington After Latest Mass Shooting

After the latest mass shooting at an Oregon community college killed at least 13 people, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday blamed Washington, D.C., for a lack of action on gun control.

“The prevalence of gun violence in this country is a sickness that continues to claim innocent lives and threaten our communities seemingly at random on a daily basis,” Cuomo said. “We have seen too many of these pointless, brutal tragedies, and the sad truth is that, in spite of it all, Washington has done nothing.”

Criticizing federal lawmakers for not passing gun control measures in the wake of shootings has been a common, if frustrated, refrain for Cuomo.

His signature legislation on gun control, the SAFE Act, has been the source of political controversy for him, especially upstate.

And Cuomo knocked lawmakers in Washington on gun control following the death Carey Gabay, an administration lawyer, who was shot in the head in Brooklyn while walking home.

“At what point will Congress wake up and pass real, sensible gun control that keeps guns out of the hands of criminals and people who are dangerously mentally ill?” Cuomo said. “How many more families will have to endure this kind of senseless, avoidable tragedy while our elected officials in Washington continue to sit on their hands?

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences to everyone who has been impacted by today’s tragedy.”

Cuomo: Lessons Learned, Post-Sandy

In conference call with reporters on Thursday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said state officials have learned “the hard way” how to prepare for potentially devastating storms.

Cuomo’s call came as Hurricane Joaquin is on a path to slam into the northeast and possible New York state, though it remains unclear which portion of the state will be hit the hardest, Cuomo said.

“Sandy was a historic storm and we did learn from that and we did prepare for that,” Cuomo said. “But, again, I’ve learned the hard way.”

State emergency officials are beginning to mobilize for the effort and 3,000 National Guard members have been told they could be deployed in the coming days to deal with the storm and its aftermath.

The storm is expected to hit landfall on by Monday or Tuesday in New York.

For upstate, Cuomo said the Department of Environmental Conservation is at work to clear stream beds and conduits of debris. The DEC starting Thursday is waiving its permit process in order to clear the debris, a precaution to guard against flooding. More >

On Nuclear Power, Cuomo Differentiates

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is no fan of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester County.

But on Wednesday, the governor differentiated between that facility — which is in close proximity to New York City — and the Oswego-based James FitzPatrick plant that is in danger of being closed.

“Indian Point is different. It is the nuclear plant located in the densest location on the globe, literally,” Cuomo said. “There is no nuclear plant that close to that kind of population center. Questions of safety and evacuation of New York City are highly problematic.”

Asked about his view on nuclear power overall, Cuomo indicated it’s a plant-by-play basis. The fate of FitzPatrick would be decided on “the economics,” he said.

“We’ve supported them,” he said when asked about nuclear plants. “It’s not nuclear or not. It becomes the economics of each plant and if there’s a question of Fitzpatrick, that’s going to be the question.”

Cuomo Touts Buffalo Billion, Opens Door To Change Pending Investigation

CuomobuffaloGov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday once again praised the progress being made by the economic development program known as the “Buffalo Billion” but he also did not rule out adjusting the program pending the outcome of the federal government’s investigation into contracting.

“The Buffalo Billion has been a phenomenal success,” Cuomo told reporters in Syracuse today during the “Capital For A Day” events in central New York. “If you look at the front page of The Buffalo News today, they’re talking about the number of jobs being created.”

The program is under scrutiny from U.S. Attorney Preet Bhrara, who is reportedly reviewing the contracts won be developers who have contributed to the governor’s campaign, as well as the work being done by a key architect of spreading high-tech jobs in the state, Alain Kaloyerous, the head of SUNY Polytechnic.

And while the program has been a source of pride for Cuomo (this summer he insisted he had put his “thumb on the scale” for upstate New York in Albany), he acknowledged some changes to contracting could be made, depending on what the probe finds. More >

Contractors Knock RFP Process At State Fair

cuomobridgeThe Associated Builders and Contractors is criticizing a request for proposal process it says was amended in effort to exclude non-unionized companies from winning contracts for the renovation at the state fairgrounds outside of Syracuse.

The group in a statement released on Tuesday compared the change in the RFP to reported investigation into the contracting process for the construction of the SolarCity facility in Buffalo, part of the “Buffalo Billion” economic development program.

“We applaud the efforts of New York State to modernize and provide much needed improvements to the State Fairgrounds, and certainly support continued investments that can spur further economic benefits. Having said that, and in light of the investigation into the awarding of contracts at the Solar City facility in Buffalo, we hope that New York State and relevant agencies do everything in their power to provide a transparent bidding process,” said Joshua Reap, a government affairs director for the group. “Unfortunately, based on documents we have reviewed, it looks like not much has changed as it’s clear that a similar bidding approach to the one being used in the ‘Buffalo Billion’ is being considered for this project.”

The group criticized what it saw as “restrictive measures” that it said would exempt “the vast majority” of local contractors from bidding for the project.

The Office of General Services, however, said the use of Project Labor Agreements in such cases is a common practice. More >

Fiala Downplays Cuomo’s Role In Senate Campaign

fialaDemocratic Senate candidate Barbara Fiala in an interview downplayed the involvement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the campaign, saying she has not spoken to him.

“Certainly, I have not had a conversation with the governor,” she told TWC News. “I was at a state meeting and I’ve talked to Democrats on a state level and they support me and continue to support me. But I have not had a conversation.”

Cuomo quickly endorsed Fiala’s bid for the 52nd Senate district a day after a felony conviction ousted longtime GOP Sen. Tom Libous from office. A former Broome County executive, Fiala served during the governor’s first term as his Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner.

“People made a lot that they did endorse me,” Fiala said. “Well, I was part of his cabinet. Who would he endorse?”

Nevertheless, Cuomo has reportedly helped raise $100,000 for Fiala, who trails Republican opponent Fred Akshar by 28 percentage points in a TWC News/Siena College poll. The same survey released this week found 59 percent of likely voters in the race hold an unfavorable view of the governor, including 60 percent of independent voters.

Fiala knocked the assistance Akshar has received from the Senate Republican conference in Albany, which she said ran as high as $500,000, allowing him to air multiple TV ads in the race so far. More >