ALBANY – Monday, Feb. 13, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s team prepares to present their environmental budget to state legislators – which, according to critics, fails to include any meaningful climate action, “in spite of the urgent threat posed by President Trump’s anti-science agenda” — the NY Renews coalition plans to bring community, labor, and environmental activists to Albany to demand action at two events:
1) 9:30 a.m.: Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Environmental Conservation. Cuomo officials providing testimony include Department of Environmental Conservation Commission Basil Seggos, NYSERDA President and CEO, John Rhodes, and several others, Hearing Room B, Legislative Office Building (Attendees will be dressed in orange.);
2) 2:30 p.m.: NY Renews Press Conference, Outside LCA Pressroom, 3rd Floor, Capitol Building.
NY Renews is a coalition of more than 100 organizations from across the state that is campaigning to pass policies “to tackle climate change, while protecting disadvantaged communities and ensuring a transition for workers to family-supporting jobs in the renewable energy economy.”
While the governor’s office did include a number of environmentally beneficial proposals in the executive budget — such as a $2 billion investment in clean water infrastructure, an offshore wind power farm expected to provide up to 2.4 gigawatts of power from over the Atlantic Ocean, the closure of Indian Point nuclear power plant by 2021 and a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions an additional 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030 — critics of his proposals say it isn’t enough.
Attendees will spend the day urging the governor and legislators to incorporate proposed climate action legislation, the Climate & Community Protection Act, into this year’s budget. The bill, sponsored by Senator Diane Savino (D-23) and Assembly Environmental Conservation Chair Steve Englebright (D-4), codifies Cuomo’s stated climate and clean energy goals, ensuring New York eliminates climate pollution from all sectors by 2050, as well as guarantees significant investments in frontline communities and promotes the creation of green jobs with fair labor standards. The senator has been looking at making revisions to the legislation, which passed the Assembly last year but never made it out of the Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation, before she reintroduces the bill.
Senate Republicans, including Sen. George Amedore (R-46), have proposed legislation that would authorize the creation of $5 billion in state debt to be used “for the preservation, enhancement, restoration and improvement of the quality of the state’s water through the funding of certain projects and activities.” The debt would then have to be approved by voters in November.
Other legislation suggested by advocacy groups includes a proposal to pass legislation creating a constitutional amendment that would essentially prioritize the right of New Yorkers to breathe, drink and live in a non-toxic environment in the eyes of the state judicial system.