Cuomo Pushes Environmental Protections While Accepting Oil and Gas Donations

As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeks to bolster his environmental platform amid a contentious primary race, campaign finance records show that the Democratic governor has taken in more than $100,000 from the oil and gas industry during this election cycle.

On Monday, days after Cynthia Nixon — the Sex and the City actress challenging Cuomo from the left — announced she would be rejecting campaign contributions from the oil, gas and coal industries, the two-term governor declared that he plans to push for legislation banning single-use plastic bags, an apparent shift from February 2017, when Cuomo blocked New York City’s efforts to impose a 5-cent fee on plastic bags.

Since Nixon entered the race in March, Cuomo has been quick to embrace issues he had previously critiqued like regulating plastic bags and legalizing recreational marijuana.

As Cuomo and Nixon vye for support ahead of September’s Democratic primary, both are attempting to appeal to the left flank of the party. Nixon received the small but influential endorsement of the left-leaning Working Families Party and later unveiled her environmental platform, which is scant on specifics but includes transitioning the state to 100 percent renewable energy, divesting from fossil fuels and putting “an end to the influence of corporate polluters on our energy policy.” Meanwhile, Cuomo’s campaign has benefited from donations linked to the fossil fuel industry.

The Democratic governor’s campaign, which had $30.5 million on hand in mid-January, has received nearly $113,000 from oil and gas companies, businesses that work extensively with the industry, and executives of natural gas utility giant Con Edison, according to campaign finance reports covering contributions from 2015 through January 12.

The companies include Amoco, originally named Standard Oil Company; Virginia-based Dominion Energy; JK Petroleum; rail company Genesee & Wyoming and Global Partners, which operates trains that have carried oil and gas through…

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