Climate Denying President-Elect a Direct Threat to CNY
President-elect Donald Trump has announced an oil tycoon as the nation’s top diplomat, as well as climate deniers to lead federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Energy Department. Today, Utica, Syracuse, and Central New York residents rallied against Trump’s anti-climate agenda, and called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to take Trump on.
At a news conference today, local representatives of NYRenews, a coalition of over 100 labor, community, and enviro groups across the state, came together to urge the Governor to stand up to Trump and show true climate leadership by including the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) provisions in his 2017 budget.
Few regions have felt the devastation of climate change more than Central New York, with severe weather patterns causing flooding and droughts, which endanger lives, undermine the economy, and expose the state’s aging infrastructure. Additionally, Utica, Syracuse, Rome, and surrounding communities have become the epicenter of a booming fossil fuel industry, as volatile oil cars pass homes, schools, playgrounds, and more, fouling the air we breathe and contributing to climate change, on their way to the global marketplace.
The coalition is urging people to contact Governor Cuomo as soon as possible to ensure that his upcoming state budget includes the Climate and Community Protection Act. People can call his office at 518-474-8390, or sign onto NYRenews online petition at http://p2a.co/qa8jqIU.
Representatives pointed out that the enactment of CCPA will have direct benefits for Syracuse, Utica, and Central New York residents. Groups strongly support the green jobs piece of the legislation which will simultaneously help revive Upstate New York’s struggling economy and protect our environment. It will create workforce development opportunities for struggling communities, create new locally owned businesses, and develop living wage jobs. It attaches fair labor standards to all renewable energy jobs associated with projects receiving state funding. That means that jobs in the new energy economy won’t be low-wage jobs, but high-wage, family-supporting jobs.
Local advocates also said that the CCPA will help to tighten regulations on dangerous oil transport trains put Central New York and Mohawk Valley families at risk. New York State has quickly become one of the largest transportation hubs for crude oil in the country. Billions of gallons of volatile crude oil travel through upstate cities like Utica, Syracuse, Rome, and Albany on a daily basis. The CCPA establishes a “climate test” for all state energy decision-making, ensuring that every decision aligns with the goal of decarbonizing New York’s entire economy by 2050. In the future, polluting projects like the oil trains would have a very hard time getting past this test.
United University Professions Vice President Jamie Dangler, Ph.D., said: “Scientists have demonstrated that climate change is real. Donald Trump denies this, which makes it imperative for New York State to become a leader in fighting climate change and developing a new clean energy economy. We applaud the steps Governor Cuomo has already taken to move us forward and we stand ready, as a union that represents workers higher education, to stand with leaders in state government, other labor unions, and community groups around the state in support of the Climate and Community Protection Act.”
Dr. Ken Mazlen, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, SUNY Poly, said: “Global warming was identified in 1975. Fossil fuel funded denial has left us facing an absolutely urgent threat to humanity. Since there will no support at the Federal level, it is up to the States to take action. New York State is a natural leader for the nation.”
John Furman, President of the Central New York Citizen in Action, Inc. (local chapter of the Central New York Citizens in Action, said: “Climate change is here, it’s hurting our families and neighbors, and if New York doesn’t step up to the plate, things are about to get much worse for our region. Governor Cuomo cannot wait to see what Mr. Trump will do – we already know that he plans to renege on the Paris Climate Agreement, and to roll back clean air and clean water protections to benefit the fossil fuel industry. New York has the strongest climate action legislation in the country. It’s bipartisan, and its focus on green jobs in communities like Utica holds enormous potential for our environment and our economy. If Cuomo truly wants to be America’s anti-Trump, then he’s got to step up and get bolder on climate. Trump’s federal agenda on climate is a disaster and represents an emergency for all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. It’s up to NY to lead in this moment of crisis. Governor Cuomo, it’s critical that you take Trump on and make New York the leader our country needs!”
The Climate and Community Protection Act
The Climate and Community Protection Act bill takes Governor Cuomo’s climate and clean energy commitments – including generating 50% of New York’s electricity from clean, renewables sources by 2030 – and places them into law. It also provides unprecedented investments for front line communities like those found throughout the region who are bearing the brunt of climate change already. And it grows the green economy while ensuring a Just Transition to protect workers as the shift is made away from fossil fuels towards energy sources such as wind and solar.
The bill has an unprecedented level of support from 100+ organizations which comprise the NYRenews coalition. It overwhelmingly passed the state Assembly in 2016, and has the support of a bipartisan majority of all state Senators.
NYRenews is a broad coalition of more than 50 community-based organizations, environmental justice groups, labor unions, faith groups, business leaders, and other advocates. NY Renews’ goal is to minimize the way all New Yorkers feel the effects of climate change through a comprehensive statewide switch to 100% clean renewable energy by 2050.
Members include the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., New York Working Families Organization, Alliance for a Green Economy, Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, Buffalo Coalition for Economic Justice, Catskill Mountainkeeper Citizen Action of NewYork, Communications Workers of America, Environmental Advocates of NY, NY State Nurses Association, NY State United Teachers, People’s Climate Movement NY, People of Albany United for Safe Energy – PAUSE, PUSH Buffalo, Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, Sierra Club, Syracuse United Neighbors, and Sustainable Tompkins.
The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is a multi-issue grassroots advocacy organization affiliated with Citizen Action of New York. For more information, please contact the Central New York Citizens in Action at 315-725-0974 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://nyrenews.org.