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Oct 16, 2018 8:05 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Zeldin, Gershon Debate Environmental Issues In Riverhead On Monday Evening

U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin at Monday's debate in Riverhead.    DANA SHAW
Oct 17, 2018 11:04 AM

In the first of only a smattering of scheduled events on the East End featuring both candidates for the 1st Congressional District, U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin and Democratic challenger Perry Gershon on Monday evening answered a battery of questions about their environmental views, posed by some of the region’s most vocal advocates for environmental protection.

Mr. Zeldin, who has been given low grades by the event’s hosts, the League of Conservation Voters, for his voting record, admitted that he thinks protection of the environment nationwide has been weakened by Trump administration rollbacks of environmental regulations. He split from President Donald Trump’s stance on climate change by saying he believes the warming climate has been caused or exacerbated by human activity.

At the same time, Mr. Zeldin defended his own record while in Congress and spotlighted what he saw as environmental successes for the region—funding support for Long Island Sound and the National Estuary Program—and his own opposition to the administration’s proposal to open the Eastern Seaboard to offshore oil exploration.

“I believe it is hugely important that we have stringent standards to provide clean air and clean water,” he said. “We have to set ambitious goals, but they have to be attainable goals.”

Mr. Gershon, for his part, was resoundingly critical of what he repeatedly called the Trump administration’s “attack” on the environment and said that voters in the 1st District and elsewhere should elect representatives next month who will vote to stall the administration’s anti-environmental policies.

“Like many institutions in this country, the environment is under attack by the current administration,” Mr. Gershon said. “It used to be the role of a congressman was to ensure money flowing to the environmental projects in your district. But there is an attack on clean air and water standards, there is an attack on the [Environmental Protection Agency], and we need a congressman who is going to stand up to this administration.”

Mr. Gershon’s view was clearly shared by the hosts of Monday’s debate and the three environmental advocates who posed the questions to the two candidates.

“We think the environment is a bipartisan issue,” Adrienne Esposito, the executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said in posing one of her questions. “Yet the Trump administration seems to be working very hard at eviscerating protection measures while Suffolk County regularly receives an ‘F’ for air quality.”

Each candidate appeared separately before the panel and audience of 150 people for about 40 minutes each, answering the same questions.

Outside the event, which was held at the Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center on Main Street in Riverhead, dozens of Gershon supporters gathered holding signs, angry that they were barred from filling the only half-full room, because college staff had set a limit on the number of people. Nearby, a pickup truck with an American flag mounted in its bed and adorned with Zeldin banners played patriotic music.

Some Gershon supporters said that Zeldin supporters who had registered to attend the event through a link on the NYLCV website had unfairly been allowed to take up all the chairs in the audience before those who registered through Mr. Gershon’s site could get in. But the audience inside appeared about evenly split between supporters of Mr. Zeldin and those of Mr. Gershon.

Mr. Zeldin and Mr. Gershon are scheduled to hold only a handful of debates or forums at which they will both be in attendance—as compared to the dozens that have been the tradition between the candidates for the 1st District seat.

Both men are scheduled to sit for a forum hosted by the Press News Group and Sag Harbor Express on Thursday, October 25, that will not be open to the public but will be televised on LTV and SeaTV. There will be a public debate between both candidates at Hampton Bays High School on October 29, hosted by the League of Women Voters, with The Press participating.

On Monday night, Mr. Zeldin made nary a mention of his opponent, who a recent poll showed is trailing him by 8 percentage points, and actually toed some of the same policy lines that Mr. Gershon leapt across with both feet. Each man said he would support more federal funding for expanding sewer systems on Long Island to help improve water quality. Mr. Zeldin said there is also substantial state funding available for such projects.

The men differed on how to address sea level rise, with Mr. Gershon saying that moving development off the coastline must ultimately be the goal, while Mr. Zeldin said that sand replenishment projects and other protections, when suitable, could protect homes and businesses from sea level rise.

“You can put Band-Aids—they work sometimes, they don’t work sometimes—but the real answer is to move back away from the shores,” Mr. Gershon said. “And the steps we should be taking to make our future better is to fight climate change.”

Mr. Gershon called for Congress to restore funding to the EPA and once again press for enforcement of clean air and clean water standards that have been abandoned by the Trump administration. “We need members of Congress that are making sure the EPA is doing what the EPA is supposed to do,” he said.

Mr. Zeldin pointed to Long Island, which draws much of its power from decades-old diesel power plants that are inefficient. Requiring upgrades would help efficiency, but would also require large, costly expenditures. “I don’t want to support something just because it sounds good,” he said.

Mr. Gershon said the federal government should entirely abandon Trump administration proposals to sell off some federally owned lands for mineral exploration and to turn control of others over to states to oversee. Mr. Zeldin said he agreed, but that such issues, particularly in the West, are more complicated than most Long Islanders understand.

He pointed to his own lobbying to keep Plum Island in federal ownership after the disease research labs are moved to new facilities in Kansas sometime after 2022, and said he wants to see public access to the property increased and the mostly undeveloped nature of the island kept intact.

While Mr. Gershon noted Mr. Zeldin’s legislative opposition to the Trump offshore drilling plan, he said that what Eastern Long Island’s congressman should be doing is advocating for incentives to boost the use of alternative energies like solar power as well as electric vehicles.

With a subtle hint at what he expects will be another successful reelection bid, Mr. Zeldin closed by urging supporters of both sides to start thinking about how they will comport themselves after Election Day.

“My message to anyone who is running … we need to do a better job of working together,” Mr. Zeldin said. “Regardless of whether you come in first or second, you accept those results and work together. This is what America is all about.”

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Most people don't vote in midterm elections. In the November 2014 election 36.7% of eligible US voters cast a vote, in NYS the rate was 29%.
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Oct 16, 18 3:02 PM
Accepting that human activity causes climate change and acknowledging that the Trump administration is anti-environment are no more than baseline good science and common sense. Lee Zeldin gets no special credit for these very passive statements. They’re not nearly enough.

What he has to do is get out there and actively fight for cutbacks in carbon emissions and other activities that contribute to climate change. He has to fight against all theTrump measures to eviscerate the agencies ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 16, 18 3:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
The local public boards and officials are the very government that makes the decisions and are part of the problem. Are you crazy?

Just look at SHTB, they wish to close a private facility for harm (Sand Mine) of ground water but yet its own facilities do the same along with over stepping their DEC permits! How about SHTB not following its own rules? Another example; directing the public to have advance septic systems yet it will not do the same with their projects. Drinking water issues ...more
By Hamptonsway (107), Southampton on Oct 17, 18 6:38 PM
So instead of making partisan jabs "mob lib demo" (good one by the way, very clever) what do you suggest to improve the efficacy of our local government?
By Enviro Guy (55), Southampton on Oct 18, 18 8:36 AM
If your party’s Paris Climate Accord required 400 private jets and 600 limos for the signature ceremony, perhaps it was a fraud
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Oct 16, 18 5:58 PM
9 per cent rating for Little Lee. He's killed our environment. He's killed our health
insurance. Let him move to Mar A Lago and work for the Orange Liar. Bye Little Lee, we hardly knew ye!
By allpeoplecount (69), eastport on Oct 16, 18 8:51 PM
2 members liked this comment
What is Perry’s voting record on the environment? Can you name anything he has ever done to further environmental causes? Anything in his personal life which would point to his concern for the environment? Anything specific he has ever stated he would enact? Is his carbon footprint 10x that of any middle class voter?
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Oct 17, 18 7:53 AM
Little Lee is the one with the record. Let me spell it our for you, N-I-N-E per cent. Trump-like pathetic!
By allpeoplecount (69), eastport on Oct 17, 18 10:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
.Little Lee
1. Pathetic on the Enviironment
2. Pathetic on Healthcare
3. Pathetic on SALT
By allpeoplecount (69), eastport on Oct 17, 18 10:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
Any website that takes the liberty to translate items such as the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015 to "Attack on Public Safeguards," and Tax Cut and Jobs Act to "Anti-Environmental Tax Bill" - just to cite two examples of countless slanted bias - isn't exactly taking a holistic non-biased view of the legislation and the potential benefits and focus.

Has any of it...any at all....been shown to actually be harmful to the environment or is it simply a carryover group "Advancing the ...more
Oct 17, 18 11:41 AM appended by Po Boy
I do love the "Our Mission" picture of LCV with "adults" pictured with fists clenched in the air in defiance with kids staged around them. Democrats sure do train the next generation of the Left-wing angry mob at an early age, I'll give you that.
By Po Boy (5299), Water Mill on Oct 17, 18 11:41 AM
Indoctrination begins with our public school system, steeped in liberal philosophy and union thuggery, followed by (some) attending college where anything other than far left speech and thought is not tolerated, is it any wonder that the Angry Mob has so many YOUNG adherents?
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 17, 18 7:14 PM
It sure is quite a coincidence how advanced education is correlated with Liberal views.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Oct 17, 18 7:18 PM
So, the more intelligent and better educated one is they are less prone to p****** on other people and telling them it's rain?

How interesting...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 17, 18 7:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
Bigfresh, explain all the right wing militias. Then groups like the kkk, proud boys and the various white nationalist groups. Did they all go to catholic school, or were they all home schooled?you post some of the most inflammatory comments that are backed up with your delusion thoughts. Post some kind of studies to back up your foolish accusations. Your an insult to every teacher and student in public schools. Get a life.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Oct 17, 18 7:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Klan pre-exists the liberal indoctrination of the public school system, they are a bunch of bigots , useless tools. The Proud Boys exist as a counter to the alt left shock troops of ANTIFA (anti first amendment) and BLM, obviously they were not brain washed by the liberal education system. Our colleges are populated by the extreme left wing, no tolerance for a conservative , that's for sure, does the name BERKELY ring a bell?
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 18, 18 11:36 AM
@bigfresh: Jaysus, "warped" doesn't suffice to describe this mentality. Special ed, was it bigfresh?
And now for your reading pleasure:
Proud Boys founder, Gavin McInnes: “What’s a matter with hate. I cannot recommend violence enough. It is a really effective way to solve problems."
Boy oh boy, those liberal public schools sure have produced a slew of Mensa members....And do tell us again about the violent, unhinged left.

By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 22, 18 12:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
Big duck, you are way way out there. There would be no antifa if not for your douche bag groups like the proud boys. You don’t have a clue.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Oct 22, 18 12:44 PM
Zeldin and Trump are both losers and enemies of the environment. Whatever damage Trump has orchestrated - from dumping coal sludge into our rivers and streams to selling-off our national parklands to drillers, loggers and miners - Zeldin has kept quiet about and never challenged. There are men who tell lies - Donald Trump is the most notorious ever - and there are men who let lies slide by as if they were the truth - like Lee Zeldin. Zeldin cannot be rewarded with another term of supporting the ...more
By Dodger (161), Southampton Village on Oct 18, 18 11:18 AM
The issue of anthropogenic climate change is literally bull-dung!

According to the USDA, animal agriculture is a leading cause of climate change and is often left out of policy discussion, accounting for nearly 30% of greenhouse emissions. 18% of greenhouse gas emissions are directly attributable to livestock production, which is more than the emissions attributable to the entire transportation sector. (A Leading Cause of Everything: One Industry That Is Destroying Our Planet and Our ...more
By SDG1776 (114), Southampton on Oct 18, 18 6:28 PM
Hey Fore1gn...advanced education in the country is overrated. It's an indoctrination into group think and the liberal world itself. If you disagree with your teacher or professor, especially on social issues, you are shunned and ostracized. Nothing wrong with a technical degree in a specific field or not going to college at all. Ted Turner, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell, David Geffen...or is that too many white males for you? Don't want you to get triggered
By DiseaseDiocese (668), Riverhead on Oct 20, 18 8:45 PM
Yes, I'm sure you pay no attention to education when seeking medical, legal, or financial advice.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Oct 20, 18 8:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
@ DiseaseDiocese


"[A]dvanced education in the country is overrated."

"Never underestimate the power of human stupidity." - Robert A. Heinlein
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Oct 20, 18 9:27 PM
@Disease: Ah, that old shibboleth.... Perhaps with a little education of your own you'd be up to date on what's actually happening in higher ed. Check out the following list of schools funded by those old liberal rascals, the Koch brothers. Think their donations might carry a bit of weight when it comes to curriculum???
And while I'm at it, Republicans have the Oval Office, the US Congress, the US Senate, the SC, most governorships and state legislatures and you STILL kvetch and ...more
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 20, 18 9:56 PM
1 member liked this comment

List of Supported Colleges
Updated January 2018

The Charles Koch Foundation has supported these schools. Funding for Kansas schools may be provided by the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation.

Academy of Art University
Adrian College
Alabama A&M University
American University
Amherst College
Anderson University
Appalachian State University
Aquinas College
Arizona Christian University
Arizona State University
Asbury University
Ashland ...more
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 21, 18 10:25 AM
that's one of the things PHILANTHROPISTS do JuneZ, they donate to colleges and universities. They don't control hiring and firing or setting curriculum. Are you saying that there are only conservative professors at these institutions and that open conservative speech is tolerated?
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 21, 18 11:03 AM
Flanders Duck , from the New York post......FAIRFAX, Va. — Virginia’s largest public university granted the conservative Charles Koch Foundation a say in the hiring and firing of professors in exchange for millions of dollars in donations, according to newly released documents.

The release of donor agreements between George Mason University and the foundation follows years of denials by university administrators that Koch foundation donations inhibit academic freedom.

University ...more
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Oct 21, 18 11:22 AM
@bigfresh: Really? No ____ Sherlock.
Said nothing of the sort. It's Disease who thinks there are only liberal professors in our colleges, and is so deathly afraid when he should instead be thanking liberalism that his kids don't work in sweatshops; his parents aren't destitute thanks to SS and Medicare; he gets a paid vacation; his drugs, food, air and workplace are regulated for safety; there are truth in advertising and consumer protection laws; he gets overtime pay; he can ...more
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 21, 18 12:31 PM
When liberals make donations you call them manipulative opportunists, but when conservatives do it they're benevolent philanthropists, is that about the size of it, BF?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Oct 22, 18 8:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yup. I'm doubling down on it too:

Study: Liberal Universities Indoctrinate Students Before They Even Arrive for the Fall Semester
Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2017 | By The Association of Mature American by Natalia Castro

It is no secret universities across the country are teaching America’s youth to adopt liberal ideology, but now they have taken this indoctrination a step further. Before students even enter college, university reading lists are promoting a progressive ...more
By DiseaseDiocese (668), Riverhead on Oct 21, 18 1:02 AM
@Disease: And apparently you enjoy looking doubly foolish.
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 21, 18 11:42 AM
@ DiseaseDiocese

Great example of the Heinlein quote, DiseaseDiocese

The article cherry-picks examples of "liberal" suggested reading in colleges, implies that it is ALL there is (without, of course, ANY substantiation), and ends with the Right-Wing argument clincher - - - that it's costing you MONEY.

In fact, the piece is sophomoric, tendentious baloney from yet another Right-Wing propaganda organ, the "Association of Mature American [Citizens]" (Your citation is wrong.), ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Oct 21, 18 8:39 AM
2 members liked this comment