Environmental Groups Protest DEC Commissioner's Dismissal

Environmental groups are calling on Gov. David Paterson to reinstate his Environmental Commissioner, Alexander "Pete" Grannis. He was fired yesterday, after a memo critical of the governor's plans for his agency was leaked.

Supports say Grannis should not have been punished for the leaked memo, first reported in the Albany Times Union. The memo says if a plan for 200 job cuts goes through, fewer polluted sites might be cleaned up, and there might not be enough regulators to monitor natural gas drilling planned for the Marcellus shale.

Bill Cook, with Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said Grannis was only telling the truth about an agency that has borne more than its share of state government reductions, and has left New York's environment in a vulnerable position.

"What's the message to poachers, polluters and environmental criminals? New York is open for business, and nobody's watching," he said.

A spokesman for Gov. Paterson said Grannis will not be reinstated. His replacement has not been announced.