- Deeply Respected Environmental Leaders Join Green Watchdog Board

For Immediate Release: May 21, 2015

Deeply Respected Environmental Leaders Join Green Watchdog Board

Former legislative environment chair, White House official begin terms

Albany – The Board of Directors of New York’s green government watchdog – Environmental Advocates of New York – is proud to announce that two widely respected leaders in the state have joined the board: former Assembly Environmental Conservation Chairman, Robert Sweeney, and former Associate Director for Policy Outreach at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Amelia Salzman.

“It’s such a thrill to know that passionate, respected leaders like Bob Sweeney and Amy Salzman have joined our board to ensure state government is doing all that it can to protect our environment and public health,” said John Buttrick, chairman of Environmental Advocates’ board of directors. “The breadth of experience they bring to Environmental Advocates is enormous, not just from the policy and legal perspectives, but their unparalleled experience and connections within state and federal government. We are very proud to welcome them to the team, and thank them for their service to Environmental Advocates!”

Mr. Sweeney said, “I’ve worked with Environmental Advocates for decades, and together we accomplished a lot and have much to be proud of. This is an organization that is a watchdog in every sense of the word, that digs deep into the issues across state government. I am really looking forward to working with the whole team to ensure that New York is doing everything it can to protect our environment and public health.”

Ms. Salzman said, “I am thrilled to join forces with Environmental Advocates because it is a fierce and strategic advocate for the environment and public health and it gets the job done. The Environmental Advocates team calls it like it is and with their fingers on the pulse in Albany plays a critical leadership role in the environmental community."

About Robert “Bob” Sweeney

First elected to the Assembly to represent a district on Long Island in 1988, Assemblyman Sweeney became Chair of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation in 2007. In that position, he was the environmental community’s biggest champion on priority issues, including climate action, protecting children from toxic chemicals, and a moratorium on High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking), in New York State.

Although his legislative accomplishments extended well beyond environmental matters, Sweeney led passage of many laws that protect public health and the environment including: the Bigger Better Bottle Bill, e-waste recycling, the Sewage Pollution Right to Know act, as well as efforts to fight invasive species and requiring manufacturers to collect unused mercury thermostats. In 2009, Assemblyman Sweeney authored a state law allowing towns to finance homeowner’s home energy improvements by defining carbon emissions as “waste”. This idea was pioneered by the Town of Babylon, and greatly expanded energy efficiency projects there, lowering homeowner’s energy costs and creating new green jobs.

In 2005, Assemblyman Sweeney earned recognition as "one of Albany's most prolific legislators" by the Gannett News Service for his ability to sponsor bills that get signed into law. He was awarded Legislator of the Year from EPL/Environmental Advocates, the accountability arm of Environmental Advocates of New York.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Adelphi University and a Master of Public Administration from the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University.

About Amelia “Amy” Salzman

Amy Salzman has been working to improve environmental quality through policy change for over twenty-five years. She currently is principal at Lazer’s Bight, LLC where she provides strategic policy advice to a variety of non-profits and is an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Law.

Ms. Salzman served as Associate Director for Policy Outreach at the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Obama where she was responsible for engaging with stakeholders and citizens interested in learning about or shaping the Administration's environmental and energy policies and worked on a wide spectrum of issues including climate and energy, land and water conservation, endangered species protection, technology innovation, pollution, and scientific integrity. She also served on President Obama's transition team for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Ms. Salzman joined the board of Flora & Fauna, International in 2012 and also serves on the boards of the Open Space Institute, the Jamaica Bay-Rockaways Parks Conservancy and the Institute for Policy Integrity. She received a J.D. from New York University and a BA from Brown University.