Beacon, NY — This morning, Hudson Valley legislators and activists rallied in Beacon to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s permit denial for the Danskammer fracked gas plant in Newburgh. Activists celebrated the victory against fossil fuels in the Hudson Valley and called for the passage of legislation locally and in Albany to ban fossil fuel hookups in new buildings. The Beacon measure is championed by Councilmember Dan Aymar-Blair; in Albany, the All-Electric Building Act has 80 co-sponsors including Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson who represents Beacon, Newburgh and Poughkeepsie.
The push for all-electric new buildings comes as home heating prices are set to spike over the winter. A new analysis commissioned by Spring Street Climate Fund finds that under the All-Electric Building Act, New York residents of new homes could save an average of $904 each year on home energy bills. As many as 50,000 new homes are constructed every year in the state — the legislation would apply to new buildings under seven stories starting in 2024 and larger buildings by 2027.
Legislators and advocates called for Governor Hochul to include the All-Electric Building Act (S6843C/A8431B), which has 80 co-sponsors in the New York State Senate and Assembly, in her state budget, due in January. Activists also called for the passage of a municipal resolution to ban fossil fuel hookups in new buildings in Beacon. Beacon is already embracing gas free construction in the all-electric new firehouse currently under construction downtown.
Food & Water Watch Hudson Valley Organizer Emily Skydel said:
“The Hudson Valley is committed to keeping fossil fuels like dirty fracked gas out of our communities. We stopped the Danskammer fracked gas plant from polluting our air and water, and now we’re calling on local and statewide leaders to keep fossil fuel companies from infiltrating the buildings where we live, work and play. All-electric buildings save New York families money, fight climate change and improve public health. Governor Hochul must include the All-Electric Building Act in her budget.”
“Beacon Climate Action Now has spent the past few months talking with our neighbors about our proposal for gas-free new buildings in Beacon, and we’ve been energized by their overwhelming enthusiasm about our city leading on climate justice,” said BCAN co-founder Veekas Ashoka. “We know that when Beacon stands up for climate justice, like we did in opposition to Danskammer, Albany listens. Gas-free buildings will improve our children’s health, create good jobs for a green economy, and save Beacon households an average of $848 per year. Our champions on the City Council recognize that this is critical legislation as gas prices continue to spike, and we’re proud to work with them to see this through.”
“All the new buildings going up in Beacon are basically fossil fuel infrastructure, fitted with gas appliances and a gas line,” said Dan Aymar-Blair, City Councilmember for Ward 4. “If we are serious about fighting climate change in Beacon, we can’t have every new building locking in guaranteed emissions for decades to come.”
“I’m proud that the City of Beacon is already building gas-free municipal buildings,” said City Councilmember Paloma Wake. “But in order to have a healthy city over the next few decades, we also need to ensure that no new gas buildings are built moving forward. The technology and economic incentives are here today to make this feasible and many private developers are already moving in this direction. That’s why I’m proud to work with Beacon Climate Action Now on this proposal to make Beacon a more just, vibrant, and healthy community, and I’m hopeful that New York State will follow suit with the passage of the All-Electric Building Act.”
Yvette Valdés Smith, Minority Leader of the Dutchess County Legislature said, “The success we had with stopping the Danskammer gas plant from polluting our water, land, and air here in the Hudson Valley is the beginning of more work that we can all do together in the race against the clock while fighting climate change. It is when our communities stand up and face these challenges together that we succeed. We must face climate change head on and do what we can before it is much too late. Our city of Beacon can be a “beacon” of progress for the entire state. We are the small city that can and will fight climate change head on. Our example here will set the tone for other cities throughout Dutchess County as well as the rest of the State. I stand proudly with those who will continue to plan a healthier Beacon and in turn a healthier, sustainable future for each of us here in the Hudson Valley.”
“It’s been one year since our victory against Danskammer. Although this win was significant in the Hudson Valley, our fight against fossil fuels and push for an environmentally safe future continues throughout the state. We must continue to demand that green and climate Justice legislation be prioritized. The All-Electric Building Act, which will ban fossil fuel hookups in new buildings, is going to promote the healthy and safe environment we all deserve to live in. I am proud to support it,” said Giselle Martinez, Newburgh city council member
“Today, we celebrate the anniversary of an important victory for our region. We sent a message to the fossil fuel companies that the Hudson Valley is not for sale, that Environmental Justice communities would not tolerate reducing their quality of life by leaving such a devastating legacy. Today, we stand to further that fight for our environment, as we seek to ensure that we protect future developments in our region and take bold steps to win a sustainable future for all of our communities. We do not have to choose between our environment and economic growth and prosperity. We encourage all of our state lawmakers and our community to stand with us,” said Kevindaryan Lujan, Orange County Legislator.
Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]