NYC Activists Stage Die-In at City Hall, Demanding Passage of Gas-Free NYC Bill

Deaths from Hurricane Ida highlight the urgency and necessity of bold climate action to move off fossil fuels

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Climate and Energy

For Immediate Release

Today, 75 activists staged a die-in outside New York City Hall in memoriam of the lives lost in Hurricane Ida, and to demand the City Council pass the Gas-Free NYC Bill, Int 2317. Activists, Ida-impacted New Yorkers and elected officials spoke at the somber rally, urging Speaker Johnson to give the bill a hearing and pass the critical legislation.

The extraction and burning of fossil fuels such as fracked gas supercharges storms like Ida, making natural disasters more deadly and more frequent. Speakers warned that Hurricane Ida, which killed fourteen people in New York City and caused extensive property damage, is a sign of what is to come should the City Council fail to enact bold policies like the Gas-Free NYC Bill. Food & Water Watch Senior New York Organizer Eric Weltman said:

“Lives are being lost, and fossil fuels are to blame. Speaker Johnson and the New York City Council must pass the Gas-Free NYC Bill to move New York off the fossil fuels that supercharge storms like Ida. Speaker Johnson must take bold action by committing to voting on Intro 2317 without any further delay.”

Buildings currently produce more than 70% of the City’s greenhouse gas emissions, making construction a critical opportunity for pollution reduction. The Gas-Free NYC Bill would immediately ban all fracked gas in new construction and gut renovations within New York City, helping the city make big strides towards lowering climate change-driving emissions. The bill would also create new jobs in clean energy and improve local air quality, saving lives.

“My family lost everything in Sandy, and we were hurt again in Ida. How many climate disasters are enough to make the point? Speaker Johnson and the Council should end gas in new construction and gut renovations now,” said Rachel Rivera, a member of New York Communities for Change.

“Despite the desperate calls for action from frontline communities, scientists, and my generation, the fossil fuel industry and other entrenched interests dig in their heels against climate action. We’re calling on Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the City Council to get a hearing on the calendar for Intro 2317, the Gas-Free NYC bill, without delay. The climate-change fueled tragedies we saw during Hurricane Ida cannot become the new status quo,” said Sadiya Hoque, Brooklyn College student and NYPIRG Board of Directors Chairperson.

“Politicians keep talking about the need to take bold action on the climate crisis, a theme we’ve heard often – even before Climate Week. Meanwhile, communities of color continue to suffer from the disparate impacts of climate change,” said Sonal Jessel, Director of Policy at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “Here’s an opportunity to take some bold action to reduce New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions. The City Council must step up and pass Intro 2317. Delays are no longer an option. How many more people need to die? How many more storms and heat waves will it take? How much more damage must be inflicted before Councilmembers muster the courage to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions?” 

Photos of the event are available here.

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]