Local Matters

Community Sponsors

Sen. Charles E. Schumer

August 7, 2020 - 1:23pm

From Sen. Charles Schumer:

After successfully pushing for an extended comment period to allow Upstate New York hemp farmers to share their concerns with the final rule, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to delay the issuance of a U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program final rule until 2022.

This will allow hemp growers and producers across the country and in Upstate New York to continue to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program regulations until that time. Schumer said with the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic across all sectors, implementing additional regulations would crush the budding hemp industry.

“When it comes to an industry as promising as industrial hemp in Upstate New York, the feds must do everything they can to nurture its potential," Schumer said. "Regulating this rapidly emerging industry is a must, but the timing of new regulations is important and the current economic crisis must be considered.

"That’s why today I’m urging USDA to delay their issuance of a final rule until 2022 so the hemp industry across the country and in Upstate New York has a chance to grow and create good-paying jobs at a time when jobs are needed the most. Delaying new regulations will help pull New York along in the recovery process as the nation deals with the impacts of the pandemic.”

Allan Gandelman, president of New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association said, “There are over 700 registered hemp farmers across New York who would be negatively affected by the USDA's Interim Final Rule on hemp. The costs and bureaucracy of implementing the new rules as written create unnecessary financial burdens on farmers and our state agencies.

"The existing hemp pilot program has been sufficient in making sure farmers are complaint with all testing and public safety protocols. We would like to see the pilot program extended until 2022 and the USDA modify the program to let hemp become a widespread agricultural commodity like Congress intended by the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.”

Schumer explained, prior to the pandemic, the industrial hemp industry had begun to show significant growth in New York, adding a considerable number of good-paying jobs and bringing in significant revenue to the state, making it an indispensable crop in New York’s agricultural future.

Operating under the full benefits of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp farmers have reported difficulty integrating the Interim Final Rules into their operations, Specifically, Schumer said, the cost of complying with the Rules has proven to be suffocating for the emerging industry.

Compliance costs for reporting alone would be $17,363.40 according to USDA calculations, and testing would add more than $700 per sample.

The senator said these costs are simply too high for the budding industry to shoulder at a time when New York and the entire country is experiencing an economic crisis. Additionally, Schumer noted, implementing the Interim Final Rules now, also requires states to alter their Pilot Program budgets to meet standards, something which states slammed with COVID-related issues simply cannot spare the time and resources for.

Schumer also pointed out in light of COVID concerns, the timing and testing outlined in the Interim Final Rules would likely push farmers to rush harvests and increase the number of people working in facilities at once, leading to higher risk of COVID transmission among workers.

The senator says that delaying implementation until January 2022 and allowing states to continue operating under the 2014 Farm Bill will address these issues, protecting both the hemp industry in New York and farm workers from potential COVID spread.

July 30, 2020 - 4:21pm

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $3,351,732.05 in federal funding to fire departments across New York State to enhance departments’ response capabilities and to help them more effectively protect the health and safety of the public.

The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG).

The City of Batavia is set to get $68,880.95.

“From the peak of the pandemic to normal times, our brave firefighters are always on the front lines, risking their lives to protect their communities,” Senator Schumer said. “These courageous firefighters deserve all the federal support possible to help them do their jobs.

"I’ve fought my whole career to bring more federal resources to support our brave firefighters, and I’m proud to deliver this funding so New York’s fire departments have the resources and equipment to do their jobs and make it through the ensuing economic crisis.”

Senator Gillibrand said “Every day, first responders face dangerous conditions to protect our communities, and we must provide them with the resources needed to stay safe on the job during this health crisis. I am proud to have fought for this critical funding in support of New York’s local fire departments.

"These federal dollars will help offset costs from the COVID-19 emergency and modernize equipment that will protect our firefighters’ health and safety as they do their jobs. I will always fight in the Senate for the resources that our firefighters need to save lives.”

The senators explained that the funding comes as localities face budget shortages and consider staff cuts, including in fire departments. Schumer and Gillibrand said the funding announced today will go directly to fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations, and state fire training academies.

A chart with the AFG breakdown appears below:

Organization Name

City

Funding Amount

Middleburgh, Village of

Middleburgh

$163,000.00

Troy, City of

Troy

$399,457.64

Watervliet, City of

Watervliet

$458,093.29

Greenville Fire District

Scarsdale

$82,599.31

Southwood Volunteer Fire Department Inc.

Jamesville

$40,735.24

New Rochelle, City of

New Rochelle

$159,090.91

Hornell, City of

Hornell

$174,384.76

Coopers Plains-Longacres Volunteer Fire Company Inc.

Coopers Plains

$120,000.00

Poughkeepsie, City of

Poughkeepsie

$33,181.82

Syracuse, City of

Syracuse

$488,195.45

Dundee Village

Dundee

$154,285.71

Fulton, City of

Fulton

$26,505.71

Dewitt Fire District

Syracuse

$64,065.45

East Worcester Hose Co. 1

East Worcester

$24,376.19

Watertown, City of

Watertown

$80,138.18

Lancaster, Village of

Lancaster

$255,171.43

Otter Lake Fire Company Inc.

Forestport

$92,406.67

Oswego, City of

Oswego

$176,206.67

Fulton, City of

Fulton

$86,468.18

Worcester Hose Company Inc.

Worcester

$76,190.48

Tully Joint Fire District

Tully

$89,516.19

Batavia, City of

Batavia

$68,880.95

Auburn, City of

Auburn

$38,781.82

July 24, 2020 - 3:50pm

July 24, 2020

The Honorable Joseph V. Cuffari Inspector General
Department of Homeland Security 245 Murray Lane, SW Washington, D.C., 20528

Dear Inspector General Cuffari:

Yesterday, in a filing in U.S. District Court in New York, the Justice Department was forced to make the extraordinary admission that officials at the Department of Homeland Security had made inaccurate or misleading statements to the court about the Department’s February 2020 decision to bar New Yorkers from several Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. While it has always been obvious that the Department’s action was taken in political retaliation against residents in my state, DHS had maintained – until now – the implausible explanation that New York’s policies were somehow a threat to national security.

The Justice Department has now confirmed the falsity of that explanation, but we do not have a full accounting of why and how false statements were made by DHS officials to the Justice Department, the public, and the court. Lying to a federal court is a very serious matter and there must be accountability for the persons involved. I therefore request that you conduct an immediate investigation and provide answers to the following questions as soon as possible:

  1. Did officials within DHS order, direct, encourage, or suggest that these false statements be made to the Justice Department, the public, or the court?

  2. With whom outside DHS did officials discuss the false narrative, including officials at the White House, Justice Department, and other agencies?

  3. To what extent were discussions of the false narrative by DHS, Justice Department, or White House officials conducted via electronic mail or messaging?

  4. Did White House officials, up to and including the President, order, direct, encourage or suggest that DHS bar New Yorkers from the Trusted Traveler programs and use a false narrative to justify that decision?

Given that the Administration’s actions in this case involve potential violations of criminal law, I urge you to treat this investigation urgently and report your findings as quickly as possible.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer United States Senator

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31
 
 
 
 
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2020 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button