WASHINGTON – Today, exactly two years after the New York City announced its commitment to divest from fossil fuels, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo offered his 2020 State of the State address. He referenced as climate change as one of the greatest crises of our time, mentioning the September 20th 7.6 million-strong Global Climate Strikes and increasingly devastating flooding, yet failing to make any mention of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) or fossil fuel projects wreaking havoc on New Yorkers.
The speech came on the eve of the Trump Administration’s expected announcement of revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which would prevent states from considering climate change when assessing the impact of infrastructure. The Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition issued the following statement:
“It is unsettling that, in an address devoted to 2020 priorities, and as sea levels around New York continue to rise, Governor Cuomo would fail to mention the implementation of his landmark climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. If the Governor truly believes that the climate crisis is, as he said, the “transcendent threat to our times,” one that takes precedence over all others, then he will make fulfilling the CLCPA—along with stopping fossil fuel infrastructure projects like the Williams pipeline—his absolute top priority. As Trump moves to handcuff states’ ability to address the climate crisis even more with his curtailment of NEPA, it is more essential than ever that Cuomo step up and take bold action now.”
In his speech, Governor Cuomo noted the need to restore ecological balance, referencing the one-time ability of oysters to filter all of the water in New York Harbor in just three days. If the Williams pipeline were approved—and Cuomo’s DEC has the ability to approve or deny it—construction on the project would cause significant and long-term damage to oyster populations, including 100% mortality to all shellfish along the pipeline path.
Ahead of the address, dozens of New Yorkers held a rally and die-in demanding transformative climate action, including stopping toxic all fracked gas projects like Danskammer in Newburgh and Cricket Valley in Dover, declaring a climate emergency, and committing $10 billion annually for Green New Deal initiatives
Dominique Thomas, New Yorker and 350.org Northeast Regional Organizer, added:
“Cuomo’s right about one thing: a multigenerational, multiracial movement led by New Yorkers will hold him accountable for climate action at scale with the crisis. We’ve entered the climate decade, and five years after banning fracking, we’re still rising up to protect our communities from toxic fossil fuel projects, from the Williams fracked gas pipeline to Danskammer and Cricket Valley power plants, and more. Cuomo must reject all fossil fuel projects immediately.SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
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“Thanks to NY Renews, we passed the country’s most ambitious climate legislation. Yet the Governor failed to make any mention of the momentous mandate of implementation that lies ahead.
“Let’s be clear: ordinary New Yorkers didn’t destroy our climate. Those are the direct crimes of the likes of Exxon and Con-Ed who have known and lied about climate-wrecking fossil fuels for decades. We call on Cuomo, and all New York officials, to make fossil fuel billionaires pay for a Green New Deal for New York.
“Over seven years after Superstorm Sandy, too many are still recovering and rebuilding, all while being inundated by increasing floods and deadly heat, warding off fossil fuel companies’ and utilities’ attempts to hold our energy needs hostage.
“We demand real solutions: an end to fossil fuels; renewable heat generated by community-owned public power; affordable public transit and housing as resilient as we are; and redress for Black, Indigenous, and New Yorkers of color who are not only most devastated by the climate crisis, but also at the forefront of real solutions.
“It’s going to take all our creativity and vision to make New York a model for real climate leadership. It’s 2020, it’s on.”
New Yorkers will continue to hold Governor Cuomo accountable for real climate action throughout 2020 and beyond, including a rally Monday, January 13 in Manhattan; a press conference on January 14 against the North Brooklyn Pipeline demanding renewable heat now; and a NY Renews-led Albany day of action on January 27.Print