ALBANY – Days after President-elect Donald Trump nominated fellow climate change deniers to positions of leadership throughout federal government, local community leaders have called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ‘#TakeTrumpOn’ and make New York state a leader on climate and clean energy. The event, which took place on the third floor of the State Capitol building outside of Senate Chambers, was one of seven occurring statewide this week.
Environmental Advocates of New York and Citizen Action of New York said that few regions have more at stake due to Mr. Trump’s reckless nominations to undermine the life-saving work of the Environmental Protection Agency than New York’s Capital Region. The incoming president has threatened to renege on the Paris Climate Agreement, to abolish the EPA, and to roll back hard won protections even as communities are increasingly facing crises like water contamination.
The #NYRenews coalition, which comprises more than 100 members, including the Bernie Sanders Network; Citizen Action of New York; Environmental Advocates of New York; Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State; Stop the NY Fracked Gas Pipeline; New York State Council of Churches; PAUSE (People of Albany United for Safe Energy); United University Professions, and Albany Common Councilwoman Vivian Kornegay (2nd Ward), called on Cuomo to include the New York Climate and Community and Protection Act – “the strongest climate action and environmental justice legislation in the country” – in his 2017-18 budget proposal.
“With the appointment of people like ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, climate change denier Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator and Rick Perry as Energy Secretary, it is clear that President-Elect Trump intends to continue to keep his head in the sand on climate change,”said Citizen Action of New York President Ivette Alfanso. “Governor Cuomo must fill in the gap if New York wants to avoid more frequent weather-related catastrophes like Irene and Sandy. He can take an enormous step in this direction by passing through the budget ambitious climate change legislation that caps greenhouse gases while providing quality clean energy jobs for low and moderate income people and people of color in our communities.”
Conor Bambrick, air & energy director at Environmental Advocates of New York said, “The Capital Region has become the epicenter for several fights in recent years, over oil trains, Hudson River clean up, air quality, and water contamination. And the community has protected itself by rising up time and again and fighting for air safe to breathe and water safe to drink. With Mr. Trump’s anti-science appointees at the helm, New Yorkers need Governor Cuomo to walk the talk. He’s promised to lead on climate and clean energy issues, and his team says that stepping up for environmental justice communities is a priority. The state budget is his chance to take Trump on.”
“Just last week,” said Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D, president of United University Professions, “Donald Trump was quoted as saying that “nobody really knows” if climate change is real. Science says otherwise, which is why the time is now for New York to be the standard-bearer when it comes to fighting climate change and protecting the environment. The governor, a strong environmental ally, has taken significant steps to move the state toward a new clean energy economy. Moving quickly toward green energy technology will provide real, long-term jobs, and that’s why labor — especially a union like UUP, which represents higher education — and the environmental movement are natural allies. Enacting the Climate Change and Community Protection Act just makes sense.”
The Climate and Community Protection Act would take Cuomo’s climate and clean energy commitments – including generating 50 percent of New York’s electricity from clean, renewables sources by 2030 – and place them into law. It also provides investments for front line communities already bearing the brunt of climate change and grows the green economy, while ensuring a “Just Transition” protection for workers as the shift is made away from fossil fuels towards energy sources such as wind and solar.
The bill overwhelmingly passed the state Assembly in 2016, and has the support of a bipartisan majority of all state Senators.