For Immediate Release
Over 120 New York organizations sent a letter today to Senator Chuck Schumer to pursue bold climate and water priorities in the next COVID recovery package.
Last week, Senator Schumer called for “Franklin Rooseveltian-type action” in the next relief bill.
The letter, sponsored by New York Communities for Change and Food & Water Action, urges the Senate Minority Leader to push for a relief bill that creates good jobs through Green New Deal programs and an ambitious water infrastructure agenda , while preventing any funds from being used to bail out the fossil fuel industries.
“The nation needs ambitious plans on the scale of the New Deal to recover and rebuild from the pandemic, and Senator Schumer must provide them,” said Eric Weltman, a Brooklyn-based senior organizer with Food & Water Action. “The Schumer plan must deliver good jobs, build green infrastructure, and help move us off fossil fuels. Schumer must stand strong against propping up the oil and gas industry.”
Since the passage of the last stimulus bill, the terms of the “Main Street Lending Program” were changed to benefit distressed, debt-ridden oil and gas companies. Senator Schumer blasted that move, but coalition members are calling on him to lead the charge for a relief package that benefits people and the planet, not corporate polluters.
“CARES is enabling the Trump administration and the Fed to bailout oil and gas companies, even those companies that were in financial trouble well before COVID,” said Rachel Rivera, a Sandy survivor and member of New York Communities for Change. “My family lost everything in Sandy. We are in an economic crisis that should be solved by a Green New Deal that will help stave off worldwide climate catastrophe, not by handing bailouts to Trump’s oil and gas cronies.”
"The COVID-19 pandemic has put the underlying conditions of the most vulnerable communities under a microscope," said PUSH Buffalo executive director Rahwa Ghirmatzion. "The Environmental Justice movement has been warning for decades that these communities will be hit first and worst by any crisis, including the climate crisis. A just recovery requires a green stimulus that centers the needs of the most vulnerable for clean air, access to affordable clean water and green jobs."
"The New York State Nurses Association vehemently opposes the use of any bailout money for fossil fuel companies. Instead we would like to see money go towards a real Green New Deal that lifts everyone up in our society, especially the most vulnerable among us. Nurses are healers who believe in science. We want the best for our patients and that means being able to thrive on a sustainable, healthy planet and not a dying one that is filled with pollutants caused by a fossil fuel infrastructure," said Nella Pineda-Marcon, RN, Director at Large, Board of Directors, New York State Nurses Association.
The groups are calling for a Green New Deal “that puts people and the planet first, moving us off fossil fuels by investing in efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy programs,” along with passage of the WATER Act, a bold plan that invests in providing clean, safe drinking water for all.