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Maffei, Katko talk environment, but in typical tone

Ryan Delaney/WRVO and Katko for Congress
Left: Rep. Dan Maffei; right: John Katko.

The candidates for a central New York congressional seat are talking about their environmental platforms, but as with much of the campaign recently, it’s come in the form of barbs.

Rep. Dan Maffei, the Democrat trying to hold onto the 24th Congressional District against Republican John Katko, says Katko has environmental views that are dangerous for central New York. Maffei charges Katko doesn’t believe in climate change.

"He’s putting politics and this campaign ahead of public safety," Maffei said at press event in Syracuse's Thorndon Park Tuesday.

Maffei says he supports clean energy research and renewable energy.  

"All this kind of research is being done right here in central New York. And we have the opportunity, economically, to gain from renewable fuels as well, but we have to have the will and we have to stop denying the dangers of climate change," he said. 

Maffei has received high rankings for his voting record on environmental issues from advocacy groups.

Katko replied to Maffei’s remarks, saying the extent human activities have influenced climate change is unclear. And he says it would be unfair for the U.S. to undertake unilateral efforts to curb emissions. 

"If we go it alone, then it’s going to cost our manufacturers, our businesses and our people more money to comply with these restrictions," Katko said at his own press conference a few hours later.

Maffei says the federal government should push for tight regulation and information disclosure of the natural gas industry before allowing fracking to done in New York. Until then, he supports the state’s moratorium.

Katko says states should regulate drilling, but it should be allowed if it can be done safely and watersheds can be protected.