400 New Yorkers blockade the door to the Governor’s office; stage a die-in in support of the Climate and Community Protection Act

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***: June 11, 2019

Contact: Arielle Swernoff | (646) 450-5461 | arielle@nyrenews.org 

Web: @NYRenews | www.nyrenews.org

400 New Yorkers blockade the door to the Governor’s office; stage a die-in in support of the Climate and Community Protection Act 

Landmark climate justice bill would get NY entirely off of fossil fuels and invest 40% of state energy funds in frontline communities

Albany, NY -- 400 activists blockaded the door to Governor Cuomo’s office and staged a die-in in a demonstration in support of the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA, S2992/A3876). The CCPA would commit New York to a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, invest 40% of state energy funds in communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and set fair labor and wage standards for green jobs receiving state funding. 

The bill has majority support in both the State Senate and State Assembly, but Governor Cuomo has said it is not a priority for the remaining eight days of the legislative session. Activists called for Speaker Heastie and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to pass the bill and for Governor Cuomo to prioritize and sign it this year. In recent weeks, the bill has been publicly supported by the Senate Leader, Speaker, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nydia Velazquez, and 9 additional members of Congress.  

Quotes: 

State Senator Jessica Ramos said, “In my district, many of my neighbors suffer from asthma because of a nearby Con Ed plant in Astoria. In fact, the asthma rates in Astoria are higher than the borough wide average. This is why we must pass the CCPA. It is the best option for climate justice in New York because it requires that 40% of funds for the green energy transition are spent in environmental justice communities like ours: low-income communities, communities of color, and communities most vulnerable to harm from the fossil fuel economy and the worst effects of climate change.”

Lisa Tyson, Executive Director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, and one of the demonstraters who blockaded the door said, “I have never before risked arrest to move an issue, but the climate crisis is the most pressing issue facing our families, our communities and our state. I am here taking this action today for my five-year-old daughter. She deserves a safe and liveable future. We can do our part to give it to her by passing the CCPA.”

Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance and member of Governor Cuomo’s Environmental Justice and Just Transition Working Group,  and one of the demonstraters who blockaded the door said, “Communities of color and low income neighborhoods are on the front lines of the climate crisis. We cannot address the climate crisis without centering justice--and that’s what the CCPA does. Fighting for climate justice must be the Governor and the legislature's number one priority. And I'm willing to go to jail, if need be, to send this message.”

Wes Gillingham, Associate Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper,  and one of the demonstraters who blockaded the door said,“The climate crisis is hitting the Catskills. Rural communities and especially farms are on the front lines of the climate crisis. Record breaking rains and flooding are bankrupting small town budgets. Erratic weather patterns and invasive pests are putting farms on the edge of economic disaster. The CCPA can’t be dealt with as “politics as usual.” Our very survival is on the line. If I need to get arrested to send the message that New York needs the Climate and Community Protection Act to protect the Catskills, I'll do it.We cannot continue to let our fossil fuel addiction ruin our  future--Catskill Mountainkeeper is proud to stand with other frontline communities across the state to fight the climate crisis and demand climate justice.”

 Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN, and one of the demonstraters who blockaded the door said, “New York has the opportunity to become a leader in the fight against climate change. We can make a lasting impact by passing the Climate and Community Protection Act and set an example for the rest of the country to follow with aggressive, legally-enforceable emissions standards, green infrastructure and job investments.  I'm risking arrest today to make sure that the Legislature and Governor Cuomo hear that unions, workers, and our families support the Climate and Community Protection Act. Climate change is a long-term threat that can’t be fixed overnight – but if we don’t take the steps now to correct it, the damage to working families and low-income workers will be irreparable.”

Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Executive Director of PUSH Buffalo and member of Governor Cuomo’s Environmental Justice and Just Transition Working Group, said “New York has failed low income communities and communities of color time and time again. These communities are where the state has sited the most polluting facilities, putting our families at risk. The Climate and Community Protection act helps to right those wrongs. It puts climate justice at the center of fighting the climate crisis while setting necessary standards to reverse decades of pollution. I'm here today to make sure Governor Cuomo, the Senate, and the Assembly hear this message: the Climate and Community Protection Act must pass.”

About NY Renews:

NY Renews is a nonpartisan coalition of over 180 member organizations. The coalition seeks a sustainable future for the earth and its people, recognizing that climate change represents a threat to all and especially to vulnerable people such as workers, people of color, seniors, youth, and the poor. NY Renews believes that the climate crisis and the inequality crisis can be solved with the same set of policies, and that climate protection must serve as a means to challenge racial injustice and bring about greater economic equity. 

The NY Renews Steering Committee includes: 32BJ SEIU, ALIGN -- Alliance for a Greater New York, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Center for Working Families, Citizen Action of New York, Demos, Environmental Advocates of New York, GreenFaith, Long Island Progressive Coalition, Make the Road New York, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, People’s Climate Movement NY, PUSH Buffalo, Sierra Club, Teamsters Local Council 16, and UPROSE. 

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