NY Elected Officials Protest in Astoria Against NRG Fracked Gas Plant

Congressional, state and local leaders added their voices to the staunch public opposition to the dirty fossil fuel project


Climate and Energy

For Immediate Release

Today, elected officials including Senator Gianaris and Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani rallied outside the proposed location of the NRG fracked gas plant in Astoria to protest the dirty fossil fuel project. The rally came on the second and final day of public hearings for the project, currently under review by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. To date, more than 150 speakers had overwhelmed the forum with opposition to the project. Food & Water Watch Northeast Region Director Alex Beauchamp said,

“The people are clear, and our elected officials are clear that Astoria does not need a fracked gas plant, and we don’t want one. Governor Hochul has the opportunity and indeed moral imperative to stop this plant — it’s time to pull the plug on NRG.”

The proposal to build a new fracked gas plant in the heavily-populated borough has drawn the attention of powerful elected officials, including Senator Schumer, Representative Ocasio-Cortez, Representative Maloney and Mayor de Blasio who have all come out against the plant in recent months.

Elected officials who spoke at today’s rally emphasized the opportunity for now Governor Hochul to take an early stance against fossil fuels in her administration, by stopping the Astoria project and doubling down on a commitment to bring clean, renewable energy to the borough instead.

“For far too long the residents of western Queens have lived in the shadow of New York City’s power plants, bearing the brunt of the environmental and health consequences as the smoke stacks continue to belch pollution – that needs to stop today,” said US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “A rebuilt NRG plant that will keep a fossil fuel-dependent power plant in Astoria for years to come and would directly undermine the urgently needed goals laid out in New York’s groundbreaking climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. A law I was proud to champion. I am also proud to stand with great local leaders and activists who are fighting for climate justice, and we won’t stop until we power-down this dangerous plan.”

“Given the severity of the climate crisis, no new fossil fuel plants should be getting built, period. I urge DEC to reject these permit applications and stop this destructive plant from being built,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “I will continue working with my community to fight against this ill-conceived project until it is finally dead.”

“My neighbors are literally and figuratively sick of being used as sacrificial lambs for the fossil fuel industry,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos. “Astorians do not want another fracked gas plant polluting the air that they breathe. As we are currently experiencing the deleterious effects of climate change, it is absolutely ludicrous that this even needs to be debated. Governor Hochul and the DEC must deny these permits to NRG to protect Astorians and our climate.”

“Every day, I see my neighbors across Astoria suffer from some of the worst air quality in our city and we have the asthma rates to show for it. Enough is enough; we are sick and tired of investments being made in dirty fossil fuels when we can build clean energy today. Our climate laws, our neighbors, and the state of our climate crisis are leading us to the same conclusion; the DEC and Governor Hochul must reject NRG’s new gas plant. We should not be building new fossil fuel plants in Astoria, or anywhere across New York State,” said Assembly Member Zohran K. Mamdani.

“It is absurd that we are still fighting new fossil fuel plants in New York in 2021. The DEC and Governor Hochul are obligated to reject NRG’s new gas plant. Continuing to entertain the fracked gas plant while the world burns, without public renewables on the way, is reprehensible. If this plant is approved, it will be another strike in the endless list of crimes against humanity that fossil fuel corporations and their state enablers are guilty of. I hope to look back in 30 years and see that New York did the right thing this time,” said Stylianos Karolidis, organizer with the Democratic Socialists of America. 

“NYC cannot afford to extend our reliance on dirty energy,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “The proposed NRG peaker plant flies in the face of NYC’s commitments to reduce existing emissions and adopt renewable energy. The climate crisis isn’t coming, it’s already here. Now is the time to invest in green energy solutions that will power a more resilient future.” 

“The Astoria Replacement Project is a huge step in the wrong direction,” Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, Council Member James F. Gennaro, said in his public comment. “We should be mindful that no one elected power plant operators to protect our environment. They don’t make the siting rules – the State does. We elect the Governor and State Legislators to protect us, our air, and our climate. It’s high time our State elected officials did exactly that.

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]