Westchester 4 GeesePress Releases
From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Christie, Cuomo neglect transportation safety while funneling funds to embattled govt agency, both must resign


October 6, 2016

Kiley Blackman
[email protected]

Christie, Cuomo neglect transportation safety while funneling funds to embattled govt agency, both must resign.

Governors ignore NTSB recommendations, danger to riding public on heels of Bridgegate.

Westchester County, NY  - The governors of New Jersey and New York ignored basic transportation upgrades on railways and airports - at least one of which might have saved lives during the recent train crash - while wastefully funneling massive amounts of taxpayer dollars to USDA Wildlife Services (WS), a highly controversial government agency called 'Agriculture's Misnamed Agency' in a NY Times expose.

As already reported, NJ refused to spend the money to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) which might save lives; NJ Gov. Chris Christie and NYS Gov Andrew Cuomo both suspiciously rushed to point the finger at 'other' reasons for the tragedy. Indeed, they wouldn't even spend the money to ensure the Black Boxes work, as reports emerge proving one was '...quite an old event recorder.'

However, both NY and NJ governors do provide highly lucrative contracts to USDA Wildlife Services for 'wildlife management' that is costly and ineffective; furthermore, the FAA isn't even in compliance with open bidding for those jobs - which might reduce the cost while being far more efficient. A FOIL request on this topic revealed the following:

"In April 2016, the Port Authority of NY & NJ executed a 5-year contract with USDA Wildlife Services for "operational, advisory, and research assistance for the Wildlife Management Programs" at JFK, LGA, Newark, Stewart, and Teterboro Airports, at a total estimated cost of $9,111,990."

See Public Records Request.

Similarly, 'Miracle on the Hudson' hero Capt. Sullenberger has openly criticized the fact that the FAA ignored the vast majority of NTSB recommendations after his aircraft landed in the Hudson River:

“One of the biggest frustrations for me and the NTSB board members with whom I’ve spoken about this is that,the NTSB made about three dozen important safety recommendations to improve safety going forward. But the NTSB cannot mandate that they be adopted by the industry,” Sullenberger said. “You know, that’s up to the FAA, our regulatory body to do. And sadly, only two or three of the 35 recommendations have been adopted by industry and mandated by the FAA.”

See Capt. "Sully" returns to Hudson River, shares "biggest frustrations."

Sullenberger referred to the fact of WS' 'wildlife mgmt' method of using explosives and killing wildlife are antiquated and ineffective - preferring modern technology like avian radar and drones instead, stating in a November, 2013 article: "The risk of airplanes striking birds is as great today as it was that cold January day in 2009. "What happened to us could happen again tomorrow."

See Bloody Skies: The Fight to Reduce Deadly Bird-Plane Collisions

This exactly mirrors the newest train wreck in NJ, in which negligence is already correctly being cited, despite whatever the ultimate 'official' outcome may turn out to be:

"NTSB recommendations are often ignored. The safety board member overseeing the new Hoboken investigation, Dinh-Zahr, dissented from the findings in the Amtrak derailment, insisting that positive train control should be considered a main cause of the crash rather than listed as a contributing factor."

See People keep dying because these calls for change are often ignored

Wildlife Services, the recipient of massive funding provided by Christie and Cuomo, operates with little oversight or scrutiny, using brutally cruel, antiquated and highly criticized wildlife 'controls' - which have become merely large scale slaughter rather than their stated 'helping people and wildlife coexist' - generating increasing controversy and requests by two congressmen for investigations and regulations on WS activities:

See Agriculture’s Misnamed Agency

Kiley Blackman, founder of Animal Defenders of Westchester, views this situation with shock and disdain.

"Why are these govt officials allowed to rain millions of taxpayer dollars to the highly suspect Wildlife Services for outdated, inefficient work - while totally ignoring genuine public safety issues?

"Who oversees such decisions by these governors? westchester airport is now seeking to increase the number of passengers and and the size of planes in and out of the airport here, which also increases the likelihood of accidents without any safety upgrades: My organization met with airport officials previously, presenting them with information on upgrading to modern, effective methods such as drones and avian radar for nonlethal wildlife management, which have been used very successfully elsewhere. Though officials promised to install upgrades, two years later, nothing has changed, and the airport continues funneling lucrative contracts to Wildlife Services - still deliberately excluding other job bidders as well, and continuing to place the public at risk.

"In light of the newest possibly avoidable transportation tragedy in NJ, it's time the governors of both states resign, due to such critical neglect on their parts which continues to go unchecked.

"Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has called for those two delinquent, self-serving governors to resign over their handling of Bridgegate - and we heartily agree with him. This newest mishandling of public safety must clinch their immediate removal from office."

Return to Press Releases
Read more at Geese