FOR THE 21st CONSECUTIVE YEAR, SCHUMER COMPLETES TOUR OF ALL 62 NEW YORK COUNTIES; ANNUAL TOUR OF STATE FINISHES IN WASHINGTON COUNTY; 2019 ENDS WITH 152 TOTAL VISITS TO UPSTATE NY & LONG ISLAND
During Schumer’s 1998 Senate Election, He Vowed To Visit Every Single New York County Each Year—At The Close Of 21 Years, The Tradition Continues
Even As Senate Democratic Leader, Schumer Staunchly Believes That Visiting Every Single New York County Is Imperative To His Daily Work In U.S. Capitol; Vows To Continue This Tradition In 2020
After 21 Years, Schumer Continues To Honor His Pledge & Listen To And Deliver For Constituents In All 62 Counties
At the close of the decade, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Senate Democratic Leader, today completed his 21st consecutive tour of all 62 New York State counties—an accomplishment that continues his track record as the first New York State public official to visit every single county in New York each year he has been in office.
Over the course of the year, Schumer made 152 county visits to Upstate New York and Long Island. He visited counties in the Capital Region 22 times; Western New York 16 times; Central New York 19 times; the Rochester-Finger Lakes 25 times; the Southern Tier 13 times; the Hudson Valley 22 times; the North Country 8 times; and Long Island 27 times.
“21 years ago, upon my election to the United States Senate in 1998, I promised that each and every year I served I would visit all 62 of New York State’s diverse counties. Not only has this ritual remained a steadfast passion of mine because I get to see the absolute best that New York has to offer, but because of all I learn from my constituents and bring to Washington, D.C.,” said Senator Schumer. “Although I’ve gained the title of Minority Leader, my proudest and most principal titles have been, and will always remain, New York’s Senator and ‘New Yorker.’ At the close of twenty-one years, my beliefs are as clear as ever: ‘Senators who stay in Washington and never return home are simply not doing their job.’ That’s why I go to all of the street fairs, parades, graduations, and public events that I can. Whether I’m in Buffalo eating beef-on-weck at the fair or slapping hands at the Boilermaker finish line, I’m always mixing, mingling and learning more about New York directly from my constituents.”
Some of the key highlights include:
Successfully Delivered Critical Grant For New Lake George Sewer Plant That Will Halt Nitrate Pollution Threatening Precious Natural Resource: Last year, it was revealed that the wastewater treatment facility in Lake George was releasing harmful nitrates into the lake, jeopardizing the lake’s health, resident well-being, and the greater Adirondack tourism economy. In April, Sen. Schumer visited the Village of Lake George and met with local officials regarding their outdated and ineffective wastewater treatment facility. Although the local government is under a consent order by New York State to replace the current facility, the total cost of the project is a major obstacle for the Village’s limited resources. Schumer advised local officials to apply for a Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) grant and promised to fight on their behalf. In the weeks following, Schumer pressed NBRC leadership in a personal meeting and in writing. In July, Schumer announced that he had secured a $500,000 NBRC grant, which remains the only federal or state dollars that have been secured thus far for this vital project.
In Wake Of Another Tragic Limousine Accident, Successfully Pushed NTSB To Revise Safety Recommendations As Fight To Pass Legislation Continues: In 2015, following a fatal limousine crash on Long Island, Sen. Schumer urged the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to upgrade safety standards on stretch limousines and other after-market altered motor coaches. After another limousine crash in October 2018 killed 20 people in Schoharie, Schumer repeatedly called on the NTSB to release the results of that work. In October 2019, the NTSB finally issued a public report on limousine safety and their recommendations to improve standards. Days later, Schumer joined Reps. Paul Tonko and Antonio Delgado in introducing a series of landmark, bipartisan bills to solidify the NTSB’s recommendations and pass meaningful reform with the hope that no family will ever have to endure such a tragedy again.
Secured $718K In FAA Funding To Make Essential Repairs To Piseco Airport: Following Sen. Schumer’s successful push last year to insert a critical fix in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Bill that made the Town of Arietta re-eligible for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding, the FAA awarded $718,000 to Piseco Airport to clear debris and reconstruct critical runway lighting. This funding enables Arietta, one of the New York State’s smallest towns, to continue to operate the Piseco Airport.
Permanently Repealed Medical Device Tax After Years Of Advocacy In Victory For Capital Region Firms: The medical device tax, which was first enacted in January 2013, is an excise tax imposed on both the manufacturers and importers of medical devices, which are essential to providing the highest-quality health care. There are more than 3,000 jobs in the medical device field in the Capital Region, particularly in Warren County. Among the companies negatively impacted by this tax were AngioDynamics in Latham and BD in Queensbury, which each employ more than 800 people. Other companies such as MDI, MedLine, and Praxis Technology help make up the cluster known as “Catheter Valley.” After securing two suspensions of the medical device tax in 2016 and 2018, Sen. Schumer was finally able to secure permanent repeal this year in the FY2020 spending deal, thereby helping these major regional employers reinvest more in their workers, research and development, and plant and equipment.
Secured Senate Passage of Legislation Boosting The Center For Internet Security, A Leading Cyber Defense Firm in Capital Region: In August, Sen. Schumer visited the Center for Internet Security (CIS) in East Greenbush, which serves as a critical nerve center for our nation’s cyber defense by working closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. CIS is home to the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, the go-to resource for cyber threat prevention, protection, response, and recovery for state and local governments; and the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which supports the cybersecurity needs of state and local elections offices. In November, Schumer-sponsored legislation to formally codify the relationship between DHS and CIS passed the Senate, a critical step in ensuring that this Capital Region organization will remain a vital national center in the growing field of cyber defense.
CENTRAL NEW YORK
Helped Lockheed Martin In Salina Secure The Largest Contract In Plant History, Ensuring The Long-Term Viability Of One Of Central New York’s Largest Employers: Ever since Sen. Schumer convinced Lockheed Martin to table plans to close their Salina plant in 2013, he has worked side-by-side with the company to ensure the facility’s long-term success. This year, Sen. Schumer’s advocacy helped the plant win a 20-year contract with the U.S. Army to build Sentinel A4 radars, which are a high-performance upgrade of previous-generation air and missile defense technology. This contract, which is worth potentially $3 billion, is the largest in plant history and will keep jobs in Central New York for years to come. This is the second radar that the Salina plant will produce for the Army after the $1.6-billion contract for Q-53 technology that Schumer helped secure in 2017.
Convinced HUD To Award More Than $5 Million For Onondaga County’s Much-Needed Lead Abatement Program: After successfully pleading with federal officials in 2018 to resume funding for Syracuse’s lead prevention programs after a 5-year absence, Sen. Schumer again convinced the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to award Onondaga County $5.6 million to complement the city’s efforts. This milestone followed Schumer’s efforts to increase funding for HUD’s lead programming office by more than $100M in FY2018 and 19. With this combined funding secured, Syracuse and Onondaga County can now deploy nearly $10 million to prevent lead poisoning in children and remove paint from older homes.
Delivered Funding Increase For Rome Lab’s Cutting-Edge Quantum Information Research, Helping Win National Recognition By Defense Department: The Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome (Rome Lab) employs more than 1,200 workers and is at the vanguard of the fight to counter hacking and other cyber-threats in the United States. This year, Sen. Schumer secured another round of federal investment in Rome Lab by delivering nearly $272 million in total funding for FY2020, which is more than $34 million above the White House’s budget request and $27 million more than Rome Lab received in FY2019. This increase in funding will help Rome Lab advance their groundbreaking study of Quantum Information Science, which was recognized by U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) leadership when they selected Rome Lab to be the lead representative in the Quantum Economic Development Consortium earlier this year. In making their selection, DOD leadership cited Rome Lab’s advanced quantum research and development capabilities, which were made possible with the millions of dollars secured by Schumer.
Brought High Intensity Drug Trafficking Designation Area To Oswego County, Bolstering Resources To Fight Opioid Epidemic: After Sen. Schumer visited Oswego County in 2018 to discuss efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in Central New York, a coalition of local elected and law enforcement officials applied for a federal High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area designation from the President’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). After extensive advocacy by Schumer, including a face-to-face meeting with the Acting Director of ONDCP, Oswego County secured the designation and became New York State’s 26th HIDTA. This milestone will help Oswego County address heroin usage and drug-related crime by improving coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and providing equipment, technology, and additional resources.
Boosted Oneida County’s Sherrill Manufacturing By Securing Critical Provision In NDAA Requiring U.S. Armed Forces To Purchase American-Made Flatware: For three decades, the Berry Amendment required domestic sourcing of flatware purchased by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). In 2006, Congress withdrew the amendment because domestic suppliers could not meet demand, but the economic landscape has since changed as local manufacturers like Sherrill Manufacturing of Oneida County built up their capacity. In the years since the Berry Amendment ended, Sen. Schumer has worked side-by-side with Sherrill Manufacturing, the only American manufacturer that makes and sources 100 percent of its flatware domestically, to reinstate a “Buy American” provision. Those efforts were successful this year when the Senate adopted the Support Procurement Of Our Nation’s Stainless Steel Act in the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act. This increase in business for Sherrill Manufacturing is expected to add dozens of jobs in Oneida County.
WESTERN NEW YORK
Pushed The TTB To Approve All Outstanding Applications For Craft Beer, Cider, And Wines Caused By The Government Shutdown: During the partial government shutdown in January, Western New York brewers, distillers, and winemakers were unable to secure crucial labeling approvals for new products and current products with label redesigns. The government shutdown, which lasted 35 days, created a backlog of nearly 10,000 applications and no additional resources to process them. New York has over 420 breweries, 400 wineries, 40 cideries, and 100 distilleries, which produce more than $4 billion in annual economic impact. Sen. Schumer intervened on behalf of Labatt Brew House in Buffalo by calling on the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to expedite their outstanding applications. Days later, all outstanding applications were approved.
Successfully Pushed for Remediation of Nuclear Waste Near Tonawanda Elementary School: Western New York is home to four of the twenty-five active sites overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) as part of the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). One such site is the Tonawanda Landfill site, which houses leftover nuclear waste from the Manhattan Project. After visiting the area and speaking with residents in 2015, Sen. Schumer launched a push to secure the necessary funding and clear up bureaucratic project delays to ensure that the waste is remediated from a nearby residential area and elementary school. Schumer called for nearly $10 million in federal money for the remediation project and pushed the Army Corps to prioritize it. In December, following years of advocacy by Schumer, the Army Corps announced that the work was finished and that the site had been remediated and declared safe.
Successfully Designated Jamestown’s Newest Cultural Attraction As The Official National Comedy Center, Boosting Its Legitimacy And Profile: Following a major legislative push by Sen. Schumer, Congress passed a law in February designating the National Comedy Center in Jamestown as America’s official comedy center. A supporter of the National Comedy Center from the very beginning, this designation follows Schumer’s successful effort to secure $5 million in federal New Market Tax Credits that helped get the project off the ground. This designation adds legitimacy and aids in recruitment of artifacts and fundraising development for the National Comedy Center, which national media outlets have heralded as a top new attraction in the country. Ultimately, the National Comedy Center is expected to bring 100,000 visitors and $23 million to the local economy, creating and supporting a significant number of jobs in the area.
Secured Increased Funding for Niagara Falls International Airport Under The FAA’s Airport Improvement Program: After Sen. Schumer’s push, an additional $500 million for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP) was authorized by Congress. This increase brought total AIP funding for FY2019 up to $3.85 billion, which are made available to Niagara Falls International Airport to make critical upgrades and repairs such as improving runways and signage.
Secured Nearly $1M In EDA Funding To Support Construction Of The Region’s First Food-Business Incubator: Last year, Sen. Schumer visited the future site of The Commissary Kitchen Incubator and touted the project’s potential to revitalize the local economy and create jobs. Schumer followed up his visit with a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross supporting The Commissary’s application for a U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to construct the planned facility, which will provide much-needed kitchen space to start-up food and beverage manufacturing businesses, restaurants, bakeries, caterers, food truck operators, and other small businesses in the area. Following Schumer’s push, the EDA announced in February that they would award $982,000 to The Commissary, which will transform the historic downtown Sibley Building into the region’s first food-business incubator, sought by hundreds of Rochester food entrepreneurs to start and grow new food-based businesses and products. The 30,000-square-foot facility is slated to open next year on the first floor of the Sibley Building.
Successfully Convinced USDA To Invest Nearly $70M In State-Of-The-Art Equipment For The Grape Genetics Research Unit At Cornell AgriTech: The collaboration between federal scientists and Cornell University faculty, researchers, and extension associates at the Grape Genetics Research Unit (GGRU) at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva has helped spur exponential growth in the grape and wine industry in New York State and across the country. In spite of that, GGRU was stuck midway down the Agricultural Research Service’s list of capital investment priorities. Last year, Sen. Schumer launched a push urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to prioritize GGRU and invest in new resources for its scientists. Thanks to Schumer’s strenuous advocacy, the USDA greenlit $69.9 million in funding earlier this year that will ensure researchers have the state-of-the-art tools needed to sustain and promote the rapidly-changing $4.8-billion New York grape and wine industry.
Secured $500K In USDA Funding To Rebuild The Nation’s Only Industrial Hemp Seed Bank At Cornell AgriTech, A Competitive Advantage For Upstate Hemp Farmers: When the federal government classified hemp as a controlled substance in 1970, Cornell University destroyed its Industrial Hemp Germplasm Repository program. After passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which Sen. Schumer championed, Cornell AgriTech in Geneva sought to restart this critical program. Schumer secured $500,000 in funding from the Agricultural Research Service to kick-start the project, which began work earlier this year. The new Industrial Hemp Germplasm Repository will be a public hemp seed bank overseen by a curator charged with characterizing, maintaining and distributing seeds, which will help develop new cultivars and identify genes for pest and disease resistance. This investment furthers Schumer’s efforts to give New York farmers and growers a competitive jumpstart in producing this new lucrative new cash crop that has the potential to transform the upstate New York economy.
Extended Critical Wool Trust Fund for Hickey Freeman in Farm Bill for Five Years: Under the Wool Trust Fund program, U.S. manufacturers of wool clothing and fabric like Hickey Freeman in Rochester are eligible for a partial refund of duties paid on imports of wool inputs. Last year, Sen. Schumer successfully reversed proposed draconian cuts to the Wool Trust Fund that could have jeopardized Hickey Freeman’s business operations, instead fully funding the program through 2023. In February, Hickey Freeman announced that it would invest $8 million and create 80 new jobs at its historic Rochester factory as a direct result of Schumer’s efforts to protect the Wool Trust Fund, which saves the company up to $3 million per year in unfair tariffs.
Helped Secure Historic $409M Agreement Between Energy Department And Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics & $80M Boost In Appropriations: Sen. Schumer has long fought on behalf of the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE), which plays a critical role in U.S. national security and scientific progress. Last year, Sen. Schumer sat down with the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to push for a robust Cooperative Agreement with the LLE, and followed up with a letter to the Energy Department and a visit to LLE in March. In October, NNSA finalized a historic $409 million Cooperative Agreement, the highest amount of funding ever approved for a 5-year period in LLE’s history. Two months later, Schumer helped secure $80 million in funding for LLE in the FY2020 omnibus appropriations package, as well as $565 million overall for the NNSA’s Inertial Confinement Fusion program, which helps support the OMEGA Laser Facility at LLE. This funding supports 350 jobs for scientists, engineers, technicians, and support staff at LLE and indirectly supports an additional 500 local jobs, helping to drive economic growth throughout the region.
Successfully Pushed For Construction Milestone For Next Phase Of Canandaigua VA Medical Campus Modernization Project That Was Made Possible With Nearly $200M In MILCON Funding: Last year, Sen. Schumer helped secure $190 million in Military Construction funding for Phase II of the Canandaigua Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Campus modernization project. In November, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $176 million construction contract to complete the planned Canandaigua VA upgrades. Taken together with the $143 million that Schumer secured to break ground on Phase I in 2018, the Phase II construction contract signifies more than $300 million in combined federal investment in state-of-the-art upgrades that will provide cutting-edge care to veterans. The Canandaigua VA Medical Campus modernization project will also provide an economic boon for the Rochester area by creating high-paying construction jobs, as well as many more career opportunities in the healthcare industry over the coming years. Ever since Schumer defeated the planned closure of the Canandaigua VA Medical Campus in 2003, he has championed its importance to veterans in the region.
Successfully Delivered Nearly $10 Million In DOT And FAA Funding That Will Transform Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport Into A World-Class International Gateway: Sen. Schumer visited Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport in February to launch a full-court press to secure funding in support of a major renovation project to modernize security and overhaul the commercial passenger terminal. Schumer followed up on his visit by calling the Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Daniel Elwell to bring this critical regional project to his personal attention. Several weeks later, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the FAA announced a $10 million grant for Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. The funding will allow the airport to increase in size and support improvements to the commercial passenger terminal, which will help transform the airport into a gateway for travelers throughout the Southern Tier and to destinations across the country and around the globe.
Laid The Foundation For Canopy Growth To Invest $150M In Pioneering Hemp Industrial Park That Will Create Hundreds Of Broome County Jobs: Last year, Sen. Schumer played a critical role in passing the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which finally removed hemp from the federal list of controlled substances. Afterwards, Schumer urged industrial hemp leaders to consider the Southern Tier as an ideal spot for expansion into the industrial hemp industry. In January, Schumer announced that Canopy Growth had heeded his call with a first-of-its-kind, economy-boosting hemp industrial park, which will position the region at the forefront of the industrial hemp revolution. Canopy Growth’s $150-million investment will bring hundreds of good-paying jobs to Broome County, with the potential to add many more as more industry-oriented businesses locate in the Southern Tier.
Secured $42 Million In NSF Funding For Cornell University’s High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) Laboratory: In July, Sen. Schumer secured $42 million in funding as a part of a new 5-year cooperative agreement between Cornell University’s High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) Laboratory and the National Science Foundation (NSF). This agreement will establish a sub-facility at the lab called the Center for High-Energy X-Ray Science (CHEXS), which will house four energy beamlines that support CHESS’s groundbreaking research in numerous scientific fields. The lab, which is home to one of only two high-energy synchrotron light sources in the entire country, has played a pivotal role in a multitude of medical discoveries and scientific breakthroughs, including the 2003 and 2009 Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, and supports more than 200 jobs. This new infusion of NSF funding and support will ensure that CHESS continues its world-leading scientific research in the heart of Upstate New York.
Passed Legislation Updating Outdated USDA Policy Hindering High-Protein Greek Yogurt From More Widespread Adoption In School Lunches: Under the current U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy for accrediting the protein contribution of meat and meat alternatives, strained, high protein yogurt is not adequately recognized for its protein content when compared to other protein food alternatives, which have less nutrients. Due to this outdated policy, products like Greek yogurt are considered uneconomical for schools to purchase and are frequently unavailable via the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. Last year, Sen. Schumer visited the Chobani factory in Chenango County to launch a push to update this outdated policy. In October, Schumer successfully secured a provision in the Senate Agricultural Appropriations Bill for FY2020 directing the USDA to more accurately reflect Greek yogurt’s high protein count, giving a valuable new revenue source to Southern Tier yogurt producers like Chobani and upstate dairy farmers.
Delivered Critical Filtration System At Recreation Pond For Newburgh Residents Suffering From Years Of PFAS Pollution: After three years of strenuous advocacy by Sen. Schumer, the Department of Defense (DOD) agreed to install remedial measures at Recreation Pond to clean up perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFAS) contamination in the City of Newburgh’s municipal water supply. After years of delay and frustration from the community, the installation of this flirtations system marks a critical first step in finally restoring safe, clean drinking water in Newburgh.
Broke Ground at Amy’s Kitchen Site in Orange County After Securing Needed Federal Approvals For Construction: After securing the federal approvals needed to begin construction at the Amy’s Kitchen site in Goshen, Sen. Schumer joined Amy’s Kitchen leadership and other community stakeholders this June to finally put the shovel in the ground at the new meal-manufacturing plant. Amy’s Kitchen’s new distribution facility is expected to create approximately 680 jobs in Orange County.
Secured Kent Arsenic Mine’s Place on EPA’s National Priorities List: For more than 30 years, arsenic leaked from the abandoned Kent Mine in Putnam County, seeping onto private property and exposing residents to contaminated soil and water, ultimately hospitalizing two people. In October, after receiving many community concerns, Sen. Schumer visited the site and wrote to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Wheeler asking the agency to add the site to its National Priorities List. Later that month, following Schumer’s push, the EPA added the Kent Mine to its final National Priorities List, allowing a federally-funded remediation effort to officially get underway.
Successfully Secured Impact Aid Funding For Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery School District: In March, Sen. Schumer launched a major push to reverse the White House’s proposed cuts to the Education Department’s Impact Aid Program, which provides millions of dollars in critical aid funding to school districts throughout New York that are located on federal land, including Highland Falls. Losing Impact Aid funding would devastate the Highland Falls School District since approximately 93 percent of land within the district is exempt from local property taxation. In December, Schumer announced that he helped secure full Impact Aid funding in the FY2020 omnibus appropriations package for Highland Falls, helping the local community sustain their educational system.
Helped Broker A New Deal To Keep Hundreds Of Alcoa Jobs In Massena For Years To Come: In 2015, after Alcoa announced it would shutter its smelting operations in Massena, Sen. Schumer worked with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Governor Andrew Cuomo to present an economic incentives package enticing Alcoa to maintain a presence in Massena for at least 3 years. With that deal set to expire earlier this year, Schumer worked to convince Alcoa and NYPA to continue their partnership and preserve hundreds of good-paying local jobs. After Schumer’s pressure, Alcoa and NYPA reached a deal to maintain 450 jobs in Massena for the next 7 years.
Secured More Than $40 Million In MILCON Funding For Critical Projects At Fort Drum, Enhancing Mission Readiness: After preliminary budget requests did not include Military Construction (MILCON) funding for a new railhead at Fort Drum, Sen. Schumer went directly to senior officials at the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), including calling the Secretary of the Army to discuss the project. After Schumer’s advocacy, the FY2020 National Defense Appropriations Act included $21 million in MILCON funding for the new railhead and $23 million for a new hangar, another priority for base leaders. Fort Drum trains tens of thousands of troops annually and is the largest employer in the region, contributing nearly a billion dollars a year to the region’s economy. In addition to securing this new funding, Schumer has helped shield the base from devastating cuts that would have undermined its mission and reduced manpower levels.
Provided Millions Of Dollars In Critical Tariff Relief For Watertown’s New York Air Brake: After the White House implemented its first round of tariffs on Chinese imports in 2018, New York Air Brake (NYAB) suddenly found itself at a disadvantage against its competitors in Mexico, jeopardizing good-paying jobs in Watertown and costing the company millions of dollars. Sen. Schumer responded by meeting directly with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer to advocate for exemptions that would level the playing field for NYAB. After Schumer’s push, Lighthizer approved more than $6 million in tariff exclusions for the company.
Convinced DOT To Fund A New Visitors’ Center At The Eisenhower Lock In Massena: The Dwight D. Eisenhower Lock, which is located in Massena on the Saint Lawrence Seaway, hosts more than 60,000 guests per year, but its 60-year-old Visitors’ Center cannot adequately or safely welcome that volume of people. Last year, Sen. Schumer visited the Eisenhower Lock with local stakeholders to urge the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to fund a $6-million replacement of the current Visitors’ Center. In July, Schumer also wrote letters to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation to express his support for the much-needed project. A few months later, Secretary Chao visited the Lock to mark its 60-year anniversary and announced the agency would fully fund a new Visitors’ Center.
Delivered $4 Million In DOD Reimbursement for Suffolk County Water Authority For Response Costs to PFAS Contamination At Gabreski ANG Base: In September 2016, private drinking wells in Westhampton tested positive for increased levels of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFAS). New York State determined the contamination was caused by the U.S. Air National Guard’s (ANG) past use of a firefighting foam containing PFAS at nearby Francis S. Gabreski ANG base. The Suffolk County Water Authority immediately responded by connecting the impacted private drinking wells to public water. After the Department of Defense (DOD) determined they lacked the authority to repay the water authority for their response costs, Sen. Schumer passed an amendment to the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act granting DOD the authority they claimed they did not have. This October, the Suffolk County Water Authority finally received $4.02 million as part of a $20 million payout from the U.S. Air Force to local authorities nationwide that was made possible through Schumer’s amendment.
Successfully Pushed FEMA To Delay Opaque Plan To Reform Flood Insurance Risk Rating Methods: After the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) quietly announced that it was considering new methods to assess properties in flood zones individually according to “logical rating variables,” Sen. Schumer rang the alarm on Long Island alongside local officials and homeowners. As a result of Schumer’s efforts to shine a light on “Risk Rating 2.0” by requesting more detailed information on its parameters, FEMA announced that they would delay implementation of the plan by at least one year. Schumer continues to push for increased transparency and accountability around the plan, as well as long-term structural reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that would cap annual premium increases to single digits, require more accurate flood maps that utilize the best technology and sound data, and implement stricter controls and oversight on insurance companies and the lawyers who defend them against homeowners.
Delivered Critical Increases In Funding For Brookhaven National Lab Key Projects: Sen. Schumer used his role as lead negotiator in the Senate appropriations process to deliver significant funding boosts this December for science research, in defiance of planned budgetary cuts, which will translate to major financial support for key projects at Brookhaven National Labs on Long Island, a major regional employer. Among the increases that Schumer secured were:
- $713 million for the Office of Science’s Nuclear Physics programs, which was $88.1 million above the White House’s request;
- $198.6 million for operating the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) which is $12.6 million above the White House’s request;
- $5.5 million for the design of three additional beamlines at the National Synchrotron Light Source II, which is $4.5 million above the White House’s request;
- $9.52 million for the sPHENIX Detector upgrade inside RHIC, which is $6.52 million above the Administration’s request;
- $20 million for the Science User Support Center, which is $13.6 million more than the White House’s request; and
- $20 million for the Critical Utilities Revitalization Project to jumpstart upgrades to existing major utility systems at Brookhaven, which is $8 million more than the White House’s request.
Secured Historic 50 Percent Increase In EPA Funding To Protect Long Island Sound, An Irreplaceable Natural Resource: This year, Sen. Schumer successfully fought to include $21 million in the FY20 omnibus appropriations package for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Long Island Sound Program. This funding level represent an increase of $7 million from the previous year’s funding level of $14 million, and is a huge win for one of Long Island’s most valuable resources. More than 23 million people live within 50 miles of the Long Island Sound, which is home to more than 120 species of fish and generates a significant amount of economic activity for Long Island.