For Immediate Release
NEW YORK, NY – Just two days after the important grassroots victory against the Williams fracked gas pipeline, climate and community advocates were out in force at a State Assembly hearing today to push for statewide climate legislation that would stop fossil fuel infrastructure projects and rapidly transition to 100 percent renewable energy.
At the hearing, convened by the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation, activists urged Chairman Steve Englebright to advance climate legislation that would directly ban all new fossil fuel projects, and transition the state to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.
“Instead of opposing fossil fuel projects one by one, we need a statewide ban on new pipelines and power plants that transport and burn fracked gas,” said Eric Weltman, senior organizer with Food & Water Watch. “Over five years since New York banned fracking, we need to stop investing in infrastructure that increases our reliance on fossil fuels.”
The advocates are calling for the legislature to embrace these bold policies, which are contained within the Off Fossil Fuels Act (A. 3565), introduced by Assembly Member William Colton. Earlier this year, over 130 organizations signed on to a letter urging the legislature and Governor Cuomo to advance those goals.
Another bill under consideration, the Climate & Community Protection Act, has a slower timeline for transitioning to renewable energy, and does not ban new fossil fuel projects.
“I lost everything in Sandy, and my family was devastated again by Maria. It’s time for radical action, a New York version of the proposed federal Green New Deal, to stop the climate crisis and create good jobs,” said Rachel Rivera, a Sandy survivor with New York Communities for Change (NYCC) whose family home in Puerto Rico was flooded out by Maria. “We urge the Legislature to greatly strengthen and then enact the CCPA, including eliminating climate pollution in 2040, or to pass the OFF Act.”
“The Green Party of Nassau County seeks a true, authentic Green New Deal for New York State. To solve the crisis of climate change requires that we take strong actions--a rapid transition to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030 and the halting of all fossil fuel infrastructure projects. Our State should be a leader in the fight against climate change, especially given the lack of positive action by the current administration in Washington,” said Jim Brown, Secretary at the Green Party of Nassau County. “At the same time that we make this critical total transition to clean, renewable energy we must make it a just transition, fair to workers in the fossil fuel industry who will suffer displacement, and fair to those communities that have been most harmed by fossil fuels’ pollution impacts over many years.”
"As demonstrated by the scientists in the latest UN IPCC report and the National Climate Assessment by 13 federal agencies, we're in a climate crisis and time is running out. We need to take bold actions now to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. We must enact laws to mandate 100% renewable energy by 2030. We need to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and phase out nuclear power. The actions we take today will determine whether we will be able to sustain life on earth as we know it, both now and in the future," said Ling Tsou, cofounder of United for Action.
"New York, with a super democratic majority, should pass vanguard, model legislation to sunset oil, gas and coal pollution, with a detailed plan to build renewables to scale. The CCPA, which calls for reports and is not a set of implementable solutions, is a baseline, not the finish line, and should be strengthened, not weakened, adding faster timelines and a ban on new pipelines from the NY OFF Act, and expedited permitting for wind and solar,” said Todd Fernandez of 350NYC.org.
"In Greta Thunberg's world, politicians are obsolete. We need leaders, because you can't bargain with climate change. Bronx Climate Justice North asks every elected official in Albany to declare a climate emergency and immediately pass the strongest possible legislation to address the crisis,” said Jennifer Scarlott, Coordinator, Bronx Climate Justice North. “We need to move to a 100% renewable energy economy, across all sectors, by 2030 or sooner, with 2-year benchmarks. We need an immediate ban on all fossil fuel infrastructure in New York State. We need to rapidly phase out nuclear power, which endangers us all and contributes to global warming. We need climate justice, which means a Just Transition that centers disadvantaged communities that have historically been disproportionately impacted by fossil fuel pollution and poor air quality. These communities must be at the forefront of the transition to a renewable energy economy that prioritizes living-wage/collective-bargaining jobs. If we fail to address the root causes of climate change -- environmental injustice and racism -- we will fail to address the crisis at all."
"The Assembly has a critical opportunity to enact the strongest climate legislation possible. There are half a dozen bills including the OFF Act that contain critical elements to the solution: the fastest timeline to 100% renewable energy possible; strong Just Transition and environmental justice measures; strong, enforceable climate plans at the state and local level; and action on buildings and transportation. It is time for the Governor to make NYSERDA release the draft study we requested on moving to zero emissions as quickly as possible that he agreed to do two years ago. But the first step must be to halt any new fossil fuel infrastructure and to ramp down all uses of fossil fuels, including in plastics," said Mark Dunlea, Chair of the Green Education and Legal Fund.