Maurice is known as one of the country's most courageous and devoted public servants fighting to protect our communities and our environment. From leading the effort to develop clean energy technologies to protecting our waterways, Maurice, who serves on both the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment, has made environmental protection a top priority.
After G.E. dumped toxic PCBs into the Hudson River for over 30 years, turning one of our country's great waterways into one of the most polluted, the company refused to pay for the cleanup and instead wanted the public to pay for their mess. Maurice worked to make sure GE was held accountable and today, after years of legal battles, the cleanup of the Hudson has begun and GE is paying for it.
Earlier this year when it looked like New York was going to close dozens of state parks and historic sites, Maurice called on the governor to keep those sites open and brought in the U.S. National Park Service to inform the state that park closures would put New York in noncompliance with the Land and Water Conservation Fund, jeopardizing current and future federal funding. As a result, those parks are now open and individuals and families can take advantage of free or low-cost recreational activities. Maurice is the co-author of the FRAC Act to repeal a 2005 loophole that exempts the oil and gas industry from the protections afforded by the Safe Drinking Water Act, one of our country's most important environmental laws. In addition, the FRAC Act would require drillers to publicly disclose what chemicals they inject into the ground as part of the drilling process. When Congress was debating how to respond to the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Maurice took on the Democratic leadership in the House and called for stronger regulations to oversee offshore oil and gas activities, because our country cannot afford to wait for another disaster before all drilling companies are held to the highest possible environmental standards.
Prior to coming to Congress, Maurice served as Chairman of the Assembly's Committee on Environmental Conservation where he conducted a successful investigation into the causes of "Love Canal," the nation's first major toxic dumpsite, and developed landmark environmental legislation including the nation's first law to control acid rain.
Maurice has long sought greater recognition, protection, and resources for the Hudson River Valley. As a member of the New York State Assembly, Maurice authored the legislation that led to the creation of the Hudson River Valley Greenway. In Congress, he authored legislation that led to the designation of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, which provides technical assistance to local communities or local managers to assist them in managing natural and historic sites of national importance.
This year, Maurice authored legislation and subsequently secured House passage of a bill that would authorize the National Park Service (NPS) to conduct a study on whether the Hudson River Valley should become a unit of the National Park system. That doesn't mean the region would become the next Yellowstone or anything close to it. But it does mean that as part of the National Park system, the region would see an influx of tourism, additional federal resources and increased preservation efforts that would create jobs and grow the local economy. The bill also explicitly states that any efforts to enhance the region's status must be done without infringing in any way on the rights of property owners.