160 NY Officials Call on Gov Cuomo to Back Statewide Polluter Fee

March 7, 2018

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

Over 160 Elected Officials Across NYS Call on Governor Cuomo to Back Corporate Polluter Fee, Fund Renewable Energy

New York -- In a letter released today, over 160 local elected officials across the state of New York are calling on Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to fund a transition to renewable energy by passing a modest fee on the emissions of corporate polluters.

Notable signatories include the Mayors of Utica, Cohoes, Croton-on-Hudson, Nyack, Ossining, East Rochester, Cooperstown, Fort Johnson, Freeville, Lake George, Saltaire, and Upper Nyack; former Mayor of Syracuse Stephanie Miner; thirteen New York City Council members; borough president of Brooklyn; Albany Common Council President and members; Buffalo City Councilors; and others.

The letter and full list of signatories can be found at nyrenews.org/polluterfeeletter. The following press conferences will be held with local elected officials in support of a statewide polluter fee:

  • Albany – Wednesday, March 7, 11:30am at LCA (Legislative Correspondents Association) Press Room, Room 130 LOB. In attendance will be Albany County Legislators Merton Simpson, Paul Miller, Douglas Bullock, and William Reinhardt, as well as Albany Common Council Speaker Pro Tempore Richard S. Conti.
    Contact: Jamaica Miles (Citizen Action NY) at jmiles@citizenactionny.org or 518-496-0799.

  • Long Island – Date postponed due to winter storm – email for more info.  Planned to be in attendance are DuWayne Gregory, Suffolk County Legislator for the 15th District; Charles Berman, Receiver of Taxes, Town of North Hempstead; Peter Zuckerman, Councilman for Town of North Hempstead, District 2; Mimi Pierre Johnson, Elmont Public Library Board of Trustees.
    Contact: Ryan Madden (Long Island Progressive Coalition) at rmadden@lipc.org or 914-924-3970.

Support for a statewide polluter fee for New York has been gaining traction. In February, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand made her first public statement in support of a polluter fee, following Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s statement of support in December.

NY Renews, a coalition of 140+ organizations across the state, has been developing a policy proposal for a polluter fee that would generate massive revenue for reinvestment in clean energy, infrastructure, community climate resiliency, a transition for workers, energy rebates, and more. A fall 2017 report by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts found that such a fee, starting at $35 per ton of emissions, could generate up to $7B and 150,000 new jobs per year for New York.

"Climate change and extreme weather are threatening the fabric of cities. We must act now in a thoughtful and forceful way to ensure that NYS is prepared and our communities are not left behind, including by implementing a polluter fee to fund our transition to renewable energy," said Stephanie Miner, former Mayor of Syracuse.

"Residents of communities like those in my district have been paying the massive, hidden costs of corporate climate pollution for years, in everything from asthma attacks to superstorm recovery. With the Trump administration relaxing pollution penalties, state and local governments must step up. New York City has already begun litigation against fossil fuel companies for the damage incurred by Hurricane Sandy. Now, Governor Cuomo should naturally extend polluter accountability by passing a statewide polluter fee. This revenue could be used to jumpstart a transition to a renewable energy economy, make our communities more resilient to climate impacts, and provide good jobs to people all across the state,” said Jumaane Williams, New York City Councilmember (District 45) and candidate for Lt. Governor.

"The Hudson Valley experienced unprecedented flooding during Hurricane Sandy and the clean-up costs fell on members of our community. Large, corporate polluters should be paying for the damage their emissions inflict on New Yorkers. I stand with fellow local elected officials calling on Governor Cuomo to pass a reasonable statewide fee on polluters and invest the funds in making real a 100% renewable future," said Brian Pugh, Mayor of Croton-on-Hudson.

“New York cannot achieve its renewable energy goals by just incentivizing renewable energy production and use. We must also create disincentives for fossil fuel production and use to accelerate and complete the transition to renewable energy as our primary source for energy. Fossil fuels cause harm, at every step from extraction to use. When harm is knowingly caused, there must be a penalty for causing the harm.  And if that penalty results in a more stable climate, with good, sustainable jobs, and a healthier population, it must be a good thing for New Yorkers,” said David Rivera, Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader.

"In recent years, Cooperstown has recognized the importance of addressing climate change and making our Village more aware of, and resilient to, its impacts. That is why I join my fellow Mayors and local elected officials in calling on Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to increase our state's investments in renewable energy, funded by a fee on corporate polluters. The Village of Cooperstown, and all New Yorkers, will benefit from cleaner air, good jobs in the growing renewable industry, and a safer future for our children," said Jeff Katz, Mayor of Cooperstown.

"In our Village, we're familiar with the costs of climate change. Fire Island is under siege by rising sea levels and frequent storms attributed to the rise in the oceans temperature. Our recovery from the destruction of Hurricane Sandy continues while the fossil fuel industry makes record profits at the expense of our environment. Governor Cuomo must be a true leader on climate issues by levying a modest fee on corporate polluters and using that revenue to jumpstart a transition to 100% renewable energy for New York," said John Zaccaro, Jr., Mayor of Saltaire.

“Governor Cuomo has an opportunity to hold polluters accountable for the costs of their pollution on New Yorkers’ health and safety – costs that average people and communities currently foot the bill for. Reinvesting polluter fee revenue would be a huge driver of job growth for New York State, too, and position our state as a leader for the nation,” said NY Renews Campaign Coordinator Dan Sherrell.


Dan Sherrell