Air QualityIn June of 1999, I received an email concerning budgetary allotments for clean burning buses. I believe that state representative Tom Duane was responsible for sending it, but in any case, it urged people to contact their public representatives about the issue, providing addresses and further information.
Well, I took a half hour to draft a letter, because air quality is an issue that concerns me, and sent it to several important politicians, including George Pataki, governor of New York. Since then, I have received fairly detailed responses from the governor's assistants, from the office of the mayor of New York City, and from officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City. These letters indicated that steps are being taken to improve the emissions of city owned buses using either CNG or newer, cleaner-burning diesel engines. (?) The detail of these response letters indicates either that many people have written about the topic, or that letters written to state and local officials are still being read for their content (whereas my experience with letters to the president and many national senators has been that the responses are very formulaic and irrelevant.)
Today, Oct. 14, 1999, it is reported on WNYE radio that the governor is pushing the legislative agenda to clean up New York's air--putting air quality on the conservative agenda for the first time ever, to my knowledge. Although it is impossible to trace the chain of influence that has led to this move, I think it is an encouraging sign that contacting your public officials can work.