Gas Ban Activists Picket Speaker Heastie’s Office to Demand Passage of All-Electric Buildings Act

Protest comes as Speaker Heastie publicly holds up passage of landmark gas ban in state budget, Governor Hochul fails to prioritize climate action in her budget

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Climate and Energy

For Immediate Release

Amidst breaking news that New York’s landmark statewide gas ban is dead in the Executive Budget deal, activists rallied outside Speaker Heastie’s Bronx office to demand legislative action on this issue. As the state budget takes shape, the Speaker Heastie has balked at the inclusion of a landmark statewide ban on fossil fuels in new buildings, single handedly holding up passage of the ban via the state budget, despite gas ban support from Governor Hochul and Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins.

News of Speaker Heastie’s budget failure on climate comes as the United Nations IPCC report issues the ultimatum that it’s now or never to act for a livable future, including immediate building electrification. New York emits more building pollution than any other state, with buildings accounting for fully one third of New York’s climate-warming greenhouse gas pollution, and the indoor air pollution fossil fuels in New York buildings cause leads to an estimated 1,940 premature deaths every year.

Members of the #GasFreeNY campaign, climate advocacy groups, and concerned New Yorkers demanded legislative passage of the All-Electric Buildings Act (S6843B/A8431A, Kavanagh/Gallagher). The legislation has 56 co-sponsors, and widespread support from New Yorkers. As of a January Siena poll, 62% of New Yorkers support the All-Electric Buildings Act (only 23% oppose), and New York City already enacted a gas ban in December 2021. Food & Water Watch Senior New York Organizer Eric Weltman said:

“The ink is barely dry on the latest IPCC report warning world leaders that it’s now or never to act on climate, and still, Speaker Heastie and a Democratic majority in the Assembly failed to come to the table on negotiating a necessary, landmark gas ban for New York — it’s shameful. Speaker Heastie and Governor Hochul must commit to passing the All-Electric Buildings Act. If they don’t, Assembly incumbents deserve to lose every single primary this summer.”

“We are here to urge New York State to pass a law ending gas and oil in new buildings so that all new buildings would be built clean and green,” said Ángel Flores, member of New York Communities for Change. “The world’s scientists tell us we must stop using oil and gas because of climate change — we saw Hurricanes Sandy and Ida. Those are climate disasters and we can’t let the future get much worse. Carl Heastie stopped this legislation from passing as part of the state budget. He should stop listening to oil and gas lobbyists and real estate companies, and listen to the people. Carl Heastie must support a gas ban in new construction.”

Photos are available here, and a recording of the protest is available here.

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]