Central New Yorkers Testify for Climate Justice Legislation

Labor and Community Groups Push for Landmark Climate Bill at Senate-Led Hearing 

February 21, 2019

Daniela Lapidous | daniela@nyrenews.org | 408-505-8010

Syracuse, NY  -- After a week of climate change hearings led by Senate Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Todd Kaminsky – in Albany, NYC, and Long Island -- Senator Rachel May is hosting a hearing today on the Climate and Community Protection Act at SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse from 9am to 12pm.

The coalition applauds Senator May’s leadership in bringing the opportunity to engage with this critical legislation to Central New Yorkers, who are impacted by climate change and stand to benefit from the transition to a 100% renewable economy.

Central New Yorkers and 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 -- plan to testify today in support of the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA).

Selected testimony to be delivered today by Central New Yorkers in support of the Climate and Community Protection Act:

"Even with today’s technologies, a rapid shift toward 100% renewable energy for all sectors is possible and affordable. The problem is not that we don’t know how to make this transition or that today’s technologies aren’t up to the task. The problem has been the entrenched corporate interests who want to keep the status quo and who sow fear of change, naysay bold action, and tell us that our vision of an energy system without environmental harm is impossible. You have the power to change this dynamic -- pass the Climate and Community Protection Act."

Jessica Azulay
Executive Director
Alliance for a Green Economy
Syracuse, NY


"My family managed to keep our farm going through the Civil War, two world wars, the Great Depression, the grape market crash, and then my parents had to fight off a nuclear waste dump that was proposed to be installed just down the road. We spent nearly a decade fighting the threat of fracking in the Finger Lakes. And now, we face the most daunting threat in two centuries and seven generations: climate change. Just in the past four years, we’ve been hit with flash flooding (in 2014 and 2015), a severe drought (2016), extreme polar vortex winter temperatures, and new pests – and those are just some of the climate related challenges farmers are and will face. New York calls itself a climate leader, but talk is cheap, and time is short: we need to codify our climate commitments and the CCPA will be a good start."

Suzanne Hunt
Hunt Country Vineyards
Branchport, NY (Finger Lakes)


"The Climate and Community Protection Act not only calls for a fossil free New York by 2050, but it also calls for a way to do that justly. As most of you probably know, Syracuse has one of the worst areas of poverty in our country. As in most of our country, the most impoverished areas here are also the most polluted areas, with many related health problems. The kids I have a garden with at the Boys and Girls Club live in such a highly polluted area. They’re great kids, and they don’t deserve to live in the midst of such pollution,or to grow up in a world devastated by climate change. I see the CCPA as a way to really start protecting our children and their children from a worsening and dangerous climate."

Katherine Burns
Chair, Climate Justice Committee of
CNY Solidarity Coalition
Syracuse, NY


"In 2016, a total of 33% of Syracuse’s residents were in poverty, with Black and Hispanic/Latino residents experiencing higher rates of poverty than White residents. This is absolutely unacceptable. The Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) will dedicate support to people of color, women, minorities, and those who live in disadvantaged communities, touching on the major poverty issue that we have in this state. A healthy place to live is something that everyone has a right to. If done correctly, the Climate and Community Protection Act can put New York in the forefront of the struggle against climate change and will make cities all over New York the places that people call home, just like I did in 2015 when I moved to Syracuse."

Yvonne Chu
Climate Change Awareness & Action
Syracuse, NY


“Here in upstate New York, our urban, suburban and rural communities are already feeling the costly and devastating effects of climate change, including increasingly frequent extreme flooding triggered by massive rain events that are wrecking family homes, putting people out of work, and busting municipal budgets. We now know with certainty that solving the climate crisis means freeing ourselves from fossil fuels, securing good jobs in the new clean energy economy,  all while preparing our communities for the impacts. The Climate and Community Protection Act is the path forward to a just, healthy, sustainable and prosperous future for upstate New York.”

Aaron Strong
Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Studies
Hamilton College, Clinton, NY


“The Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) is landmark legislation in part because it addresses the effects of ‘climate gap’ -- the idea that climate change has a disproportionately adverse impact on low income people and people of color. In 2011, Citizen Action volunteers and staff saw first-hand what can happen when a community that is already struggling gets hit by a massive storm like Irene. In the North Side, a low income Binghamton neighborhood, you could see rotting porches and visible stains on houses several feet above the street level, showing where the flood waters had hit, weeks after the storm. Communities in Central New York like the North Side of Binghamton would benefit from the targeted investment the CCPA provides – so we urge the Legislature to prioritize its passage in 2019."

Amber Johnson
Community Organizer,
Citizen Action of New York
Binghamton, NY


"As a lifelong New Yorker who experiences health issues complicated by climate change, I understand how the Climate and Community Protection Act will benefit residents of the state now and ensure a livable future.  The CCPA, which was written with input from a diverse group of stakeholders representing residents across New York State, ensures elements of accountability uncommon in past climate policy proposals. Now is the time to pass the CCPA so the future of New York is built on clean energy technology and equitable economic growth."

Jennifer Raichel
SUNY ESF Graduate student and
Our Climate Field Representative


More on the 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.


Dan Sherrell