Monday, January 9, 2017

News From Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz

Dinowitz Named Chair of Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions

  Veteran Bronx Assembly Member tapped to lead influential committee tasked with oversight of Metropolitan Transportation Authority, state's telecommunications and energy infrastructure
Assembly Member Dinowitz State Assembly Chambers Vote Hearing
Dinowitz pledges "full accountability" of MTA
  Looking to build upon ongoing efforts to improve the lives of Bronxites and all New York residents and hold government agencies accountable, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz this week was named the Chair of the State Assembly's Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions. Dinowitz is pledging to use the influential new post to increase oversight and accountability of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which falls under the committee's purview, in light of the recent LIRR train derailment in Brooklyn, and ongoing concerns over limited public transportation options, particularly in the outer boroughs.

"I'm honored that Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie has entrusted me with this enormous responsibility," said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz. "The work of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions touches the lives of every New Yorker, from the trains we ride to the phones in our pockets and the utilities we pay for. I intend to use this new role to ensure full accountability of the MTA and all the public entities we rely on every day."
Assembly Member Dinowitz received word of the new committee assignment as legislators gathered in Albany this month for the start of the 2017 legislative session. The Bronx official replaces outgoing Chair James Brennan, who in May announced his retirement. Dinowitz most recently chaired the Assembly's Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee.
As Chair of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, Dinowitz will have jurisdiction over the laws concerning private, not-for-profit and public corporations in the state. This includes both the Public Service Commission, which monitors New York telecommunications and utilities, and, most notably, the MTA and its many sub agencies.
Dinowitz' appointment comes at a critical time for the nation's largest transit system. The MTA continues to face criticism following the derailment of a Brooklyn-bound Long Island Rail Road train that injured more than 100 commuters last week. Meanwhile, the agency is weathering the fallout from a report late last month that the engineer involved in the deadly 2013 Metro North crash in Dinowitz's Bronx district was given a lifetime pension. In the aftermath of both incidents, Dinowitz is pledging to apply rigorous oversight to the MTA.
Dinowitz also intends to use the new post to address the persistent transit woes in the borough widely considered to be a transportation desert. A major component of the committee's work in recent years has been the oversight of the ongoing 2015-2019 MTA Capital Program. While the agency recently saw the successful on-time opening of Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway, questions linger about funding for future extensions of the line, as well as other big-ticket transit projects in the city.

Assemblyman Dinowitz Applauds Decision to Close Indian Point

            Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz(D-Bronx), a longtime opponent of Indian Point Nuclear facility, applauds the recent deal made with Entergy Corporation, the facilities operator, to permanently close it by 2021.

Problems and incidents have plagued the facility, located in Westchester, for years including one as recently as February 2016 when a leak in the facility was revealed after radioactivity was detected in the groundwater beneath the plant. Governor Cuomo was forced to make a statement that this leak posed no immediate danger to public health and had not migrated off site, but this incident was merely the latest in a string of mishaps and problems that have occurred at Indian Point since it began operating in 1974.

Assemblyman Dinowitz has long opposed the plants continued operation given the facility’s problems and its proximity to the one of the most populous metropolitan areas on the planet.  In 2012, the Assemblyman opposed Entergy being granted an exemption from fire safety requirements  by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission without a public hearing, and filed a brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

“I have never opposed nor do I now oppose the use of nuclear energy or nuclear power plants. However, the consistent problems that Indian Point has had, the proximity of the facility to New York City, and concerns over safety procedures have caused me to oppose the continued operation of the plant. I am pleased that Entergy has made the decision to close the plant,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz.

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