According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s website, the agency’s mission includes “the empowerment of individuals to participate in environmental decisions that affect their lives.”

DEC’s failure to maintain its funding, as addressed in Newsday’s editorial, is inherently linked to its failure to empower citizens to participate [“Safeguard DEC’s mission,” Nov. 29]. There is a discrepancy in goals and a failure in trust.

Case in point: a recent two-year effort by DEC to remove mute swans from New York State was met with thousands of letters essentially saying no to this proposal. In concert with the public outcry came action in both chambers in our State Legislature, culminating in bills requiring at least a moratorium on the plan, as well as public hearings and supportive scientific data.

The result? Vetoes by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Our governor aligned with mute swan adversaries, including hunting organizations such as the New York Conservation Council and Ducks Unlimited. They were invited to attend DEC meetings to develop a plan that eliminates mute swans across our state. We had requested to take part but were not invited.

What is the hidden agenda? To follow the model already laid out in states such as Michigan, with the goal of removing mute swans and restoring trumpeter swans, which are prized for trophy hunting?

Elaine Maas, Susan Krause, St. James

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Editor’s note: The writers are the education coordinator and president, respectively, of the Four Harbors Audubon Society.