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County Executive Names Chair, Creates Expert Advisory Committee to Lead Public Safety Review

5/20/2014 11:09:17 AM

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy has appointed Peter Iwanowicz as Chairman of an Expert Advisory Committee that will advise and coordinate the hiring of specific consultants to review, investigate and report on the broad range of concerns relative to crude oil issues that were the subject of the County Executive’s March 12th Executive Order. Iwanowicz, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York, is volunteering his time and expertise for this unpaid position, which will ensure an expert review on all fronts.

“On March 12th, I issued a directive leading to a moratorium on the expansion of the processing of crude oil at the Port of Albany pending a public health investigation by the Albany County Health Department, stating that the heating and storage of crude oil at the Port of Albany could create a condition detrimental to the public health and safety of the residents of Albany County,” said McCoy.  “The directive further provided for an examination, investigation and to report on the transportation of crude oil through Albany County and the potential impact a large scale disaster will have on the health, safety and lives of the people of Albany County.  As more information and concerns come to light, it’s clear the scope of this investigation requires that we bring in independent experts to help us.  Peter Iwanowicz has devoted his life to public health issues, and there’s no one better qualified to help identify the experts and stakeholders we need at the table in order to get to the bottom of all the concerns that exist.”

Iwanowicz, who for nearly two decades has helped guide state and national discussions about public health and environmental safeguards, has held key positions with the American Lung Association, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and as deputy secretary for the environment to former Governor David Paterson. His unique experience provides a much-needed insider’s view into the myriad health and environmental issues that exist, the types of questions that need to be asked, and ensures a bird’s eye view so county residents can rest assured that no rock is left unturned.

“County Executive McCoy recognizes that moving crude oil presents unique dangers, that this is an industry that has not been forthcoming with their motives or data, and that the public deserves a broad-based analysis into the dangers that exist both now and down the line,” said Iwanowicz.  “My family and I are residents of Albany County, and I’m honored to help in this effort to ensure we’re asking all the questions necessary to keep our community safe. The advisory committee will identify the most qualified experts available, and engage in a robust and meaningful study about crude oil’s impacts on public health and safety in Albany County.”

Peter Iwanowicz Bio

Prior to taking the helm of Environmental Advocates of New York in 2013, Iwanowicz served as assistant vice president with the American Lung Association where he directed the Association’s Healthy Air Campaign: an effort to protect the Clean Air Act. He was an appointee in the Spitzer and Paterson administrations, serving as the acting commissioner of the state DEC, and as Governor Paterson’s Deputy Secretary for the Environment. He also served as the very first Director of the New York State Office of Climate Change which was created by Governor Spitzer in 2007.

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