NYC Climate Change Hearing: New Yorkers Testify for Climate Justice Legislation

February 14, 2019

Daniela Lapidous | | 408-505-8010
Michael O’Loughlin | | 917.957.9160

New York, NY -- Following on Tuesday’s FIRST EVER legislative hearing by the NY Senate on climate change, in Albany, the next hearing led by Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Senator Todd Kaminsky will be held today in New York City. (See advisory for details on rally and press conference at 9:30AM).

Members of NY Renews--a statewide coalition of over 160 organizations fighting for climate policies grounded in equity and justice for communities and working people--will testify today in support of the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA).

The CCPA establishes aggressive mandates to ensure New York’s economy is powered by 100% clean, renewable energy in the next 30 years; thereby significantly reducing climate pollution that harms our public health, environment, and economy. The bill sets a clear plan and accountable mandates for doing so equitably across all sectors of the economy, prioritizing climate and environmental justice and the creation of good, sustainable jobs across the state.

Selected testimony to be delivered today by NY Renews members and supporters of the Climate & Community Protection Act:

"Frontline communities are making their voices heard as New York State moves closer to passing the ambitious Climate and Community Protection Act,” said Annel Hernandez, Associate Director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. “Our NY Renews coalition puts equity at the center of climate policy, because to fight climate change we need transformative ideas that address environmental justice and create new jobs in the renewable energy economy. It's about health, it's about jobs, and it's about justice."


“From extreme weather events to pervasive health problems caused by the pollution concentrated in low income and communities of color, our families have felt the impact of climate change on both a global and local level. Science and our daily lives tell us that big change is needed, but we want to make sure the workers who build the clean energy of the future will benefit from the improvements to come,” said Richard Orio, a member of 32BJ SEIU, a union with a robust training green training program that helps superintendents in New York make their buildings more energy efficient. “We urge the NY State legislature to pass the Climate and Community Protection Act, which will help the most impacted neighborhoods share in the much needed climate progress.”


"An investment of about 1.8% of New York State GDP, over a 10-year period, will allow New York State to meet the targets set in the CCPA, and will create about 200,000 jobs, which is equivalent to approximately 2% of New York State’s employment level,” said Heidi Peltier, Research Fellow at the Political Economy Research Institute at UMass Amherst. "While many of the jobs in clean energy are decent jobs, it is important that job opportunities offer decent pay and benefits, and that the jobs are equitably distributed. Section 8 of the CCPA is important to consider, in order to protect workers and ensure that the jobs created by the legislation pay a living wage and create opportunities for marginalized groups."


“We see the Climate and Community Protection Act as a innovative solution since it aims to set aside 40% of the the State’s Clean Energy Funds to be reinvested in frontline, environmental justice, and disadvantaged communities. The equity provisions of the bill make it the most progressive climate legislation in the country, because at its heart – the CCPA is about racial, climate and environmental justice,” said Fernando Ortiz, Climate Preparedness and Resiliency Organizer for The Point CDC. “I represent Hunts Point, which is in the South Bronx Significant Maritime Industrial area. Hunts Point Food Distribution Center is a major economic hub, supporting over 25,000 jobs and $55 billion dollars in economic activity each year. The area’s vulnerability to sea level rise and flooding presents a tremendous risk to both the 50,000 residents surrounding the SMIA and the millions of people dependent on the food markets.”


"Frontline Industrial Waterfront communities like Sunset Park, Brooklyn are poised to benefit from a just transition away from fossil fuel dependency to a Statewide 100% renewable energy economy. Sunset Park should be building for our region’s climate adaptation needs instead of duplicating displacement efforts that exist throughout the city. Bold action by the State can incentivize the local economy, slow down climate change, blunt displacement and address local health disparities,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE. “By 2050, all of the point sources of pollution currently burdening our predominantly working-class low-income community of color would have literally cleared the air to reveal industrial sectors that can coexist in harmony and even provide benefits to their surrounding communities – so let's do it.”


"At a time when the Federal administration continues to dismantle environmental regulation and protection, New York must lead in the opposite direction – moving away from dirty, imported fuels and energy and transitioning to a clean, emissions-free economy,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN). “It is time for our state to take bold steps to confront the climate crisis by setting ambitious, legally-enforceable targets of the Climate and Community Protection Act for the sake of workers, our communities the environment and our future.”


“By passing the Climate and Community Protection Act, New York can take this moment of climate crisis and turn it into a moment of opportunity: to grow our state economy, to create new jobs, to bring relief to the communities most burdened by pollution, and to protect those most vulnerable to the risks of climate change,” said Jenny Veloz, Community Organizer at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “This is a defining moment in history, and this bill will re-establish New York as a leader that other states can emulate in the fight against climate change and for a just transition.”


Dan Sherrell