For Immediate Release
Contacts: Alex Beauchamp, [email protected], 347-774-4634
Mark Dunlea, [email protected], 518-860- 3725
ALBANY, NY-- 189 groups sent a letter to state legislators today demanding they take strong action to move New York off fossil fuels by swiftly passing Assembly Member William Colton and Senator Brad Hoylman’s legislation (A 5105a, S. 5908a) to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.
The bill, already the most ambitious climate change bill in the country, was recently amended to further strengthen it, adding provisions related to environmental justice and a “Just Transition” to ensure that the needs of impacted workers and vulnerable communities are addressed. The bill would ban new fossil fuel infrastructure, phase out nuclear plants, and require all new cars to be Zero Emission Vehicles by 2025. It requires state and local governments to adopt detailed climate action plans to guide the transformation.
“Governor Cuomo and the legislature failed to take any action addressing the climate crisis in the recently passed state budget. Now, with only a few months left before the end of session, we need real climate leadership to move New York off fossil fuels,” said Alex Beauchamp, Northeast Region Director, Food & Water Watch. “Now is the time for New York to lead and pass Assembly Member Colton and Senator Hoylman’s visionary bill to move to 100% renewable energy.”
Following a state budget that avoided the issue of climate change altogether, groups from all corners of the state called on lawmakers to pass the bills before the end of the legislative session this June. The groups will have a statewide lobby day in Albany on May 8.
“It is unacceptable that after 15 years of pronouncements by four governors -- including seven years under Governor Cuomo -- that New York is only getting a combined 4% of its electricity from solar (1%) and wind (3%). And too little is being done to increase the efficiency of the transportation and heating / cooling of buildings sectors, each of which account for a third of the state’s carbon footprint. Yet when the out-of-state-owner of a few old failing nukes says it can not economically compete, the Governor rushed to make utility customers cough up as much as $7.6 billion to bail them out. New York needs to change its priorities,” said Blair Horner, Executive Director of the New York Public Interest Research Group.
With climate chaos already wreaking havoc across the planet, an aggressive plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions and embrace a real plan to transition to 100% renewable energy is necessary.
“Science makes more clear everyday that the clock is ticking on bold solutions for the climate crisis. 100% clean energy by 2030 is our best chance to forestall a full blown catastrophe. We owe it to our forebears, to ourselves, and to our descendants to get this right, and to do it now.” said Steve Breyman, Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies at RPI, and former New York State senior social scientist on climate change at the Department of Environmental Conservation.
“The climate crisis won’t wait until the politics are just right. We are already experiencing disasters caused by a changing climate, which will only worsen as we continue to burn dirty fossil fuels and pump those emissions into the atmosphere,” said Ari Lieberman, Legislative Committee of 350 Brooklyn. “We need bold leadership, and New York has the opportunity to be that leader. We can show that a pathway to 100% clean renewable energy is not only important and necessary, but achievable.
“The challenge is not whether the technology exists to make a rapid transition to 100% clean energy, but whether lawmakers in Albany have the political will to stand up to the fossil fuel industry before we pass the point of catastrophic climate change within the next decade or two.. The good news is that such a transition would reduce the number of New Yorkers killed annually by air pollution, would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and would lower our future energy bills,” said Mark Dunlea, Chair of the Green Energy and Legal Fund.
"Surfrider Foundation NYC vehemently opposes fossil fuel infrastructure and the threat that it poses to our ocean and the overall future of our planet. We are at an energy crossroads where we can chose to continue down a path of dirty fossil fuels or invest in a future of clean, renewable energy. If New York is to be a climate leader, the choice is clear - we must ban fossil fuel infrastructure starting with the Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement project currently proposed for our waters." said Nikita Scott, Chair, Surfrider Foundation NYC.
“But for the power of special interests and a lack of political will, 100% clean energy in New York by 2030 is now completely feasible. Offshore wind alone could power the entire east coast for decades to come, according to a new report by Environment America and Frontier Group. It's time for the governor to make a commitment that rises to the level of the climate emergency at hand. 100% by 2030 is the only responsible way forward,” said Lyna Hinkel, 350NYC.
(Read the full letter here.)