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Long IslandColumnistsRick Brand

Thomas Suozzi gets environmental groups’ backing for Congress

Democratic congressional contender Thomas Suozzi on Thursday picked up the backing of two environmental groups that cited his record as Nassau County executive and Glen Cove mayor on improving air and water quality and protecting Long Island Sound.

The League of Conservation Voters and the Long Island Environmental Voters Forum announced their endorsements at a news conference in a waterfront park in Northport Village.

Joshua Klainberg, the league’s senior vice president, said Suozzi has made the environment a “top priority” in his public career.

“Tom Suozzi is someone who puts his heart and soul into the environment,” Klainberg said. “The House of Representatives is ground zero for the assault on existing environmental policy and climate change.”

Klainberg said Suozzi’s opponent, Republican state Sen. Jack Martins, has a “decent” record on environmental issues.

But Tony Coates, a board member of the Environmental Voters Forum, said Martins “tries to bob, weave and talk his way around issues.”

E. O’Brien Murray, Martins’ senior campaign adviser, said Suozzi mismanaged the Cedar Creek sewage treatment plant as Nassau County executive “so badly it became covered with dried raw sewage and unable to operate properly.” Murray said the plant was cited for numerous state violations, including exceeding discharge limits at least five times.

Murray said Martins supported a record level of funding for the state Environmental Protection Fund and led a bipartisan fight to get money for a state study of Long Island’s groundwater.

Martins, meanwhile, received an endorsement of his own from the 600-member Nassau Court officers union. Martins praised the group members as the “backbone of a court system” who “work hard every day to keep our courts safe.”

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