New York State Assembly, Speaker Carl Heastie Block Build Public Renewables Act
Heastie and Hochul let the most significant climate action in three years die in the Assembly.
For Immediate Release, 6/4/2022
Link to Google Doc
ALBANY, NY – The New York State Assembly has failed to pass Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA) despite having the votes to pass it, dooming New York to another year with no progress in the fight against the climate crisis. It had already passed the State Senate. Under the failed leadership of Speaker Carl Heastie and Governor Kathy Hochul, New York will now be going three years without passing a single major climate bill.
“It’s devastating, after already passing the Senate, to see the Assembly block this climate bill after three years of inexcusable inaction,” said Assemblymember Zohran Kwame Mamdani, who represents the 36th Assembly District. “Our failure to pass the BPRA means working class New Yorkers will continue to face an uncertain future amid rate hikes for dirty energy as private utilities and fossil fuel companies continue to line their pockets. New York desperately needs new representatives who will commit to the urgent work of meeting the State’s 100% renewable energy transmission goal by 2040, as set by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie failed to introduce the BPRA in the Assembly despite having the votes for passage, handing another victory to the fossil fuel industry and private utilities as working class New Yorkers face rate hikes and a dangerous climate future. New York is far off from building the clean energy grid we need: the State is stuck at just 4 percent wind and solar and still relies on methane gas as its largest source of energy, even though the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act requires that we reach 70 percent renewable energy by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2040. Passing the BPRA would have empowered the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to produce, scale up, and distribute clean energy — putting us on the path we need to decarbonize the State.
“While New Yorkers are already beginning to face the devastating impacts of the climate crisis, State leadership has marked another year without meaningful climate action,” said Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest, who represents New York’s 57th Assembly District. “We need to be willing to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and take the bold action we need to build a green economy, lower electricity bills, and protect our communities from the damages of fossil fuels and climate change alike.”
“We had an opportunity to unlock the potential of the state in helping to meet our climate goals. Unfortunately, our leadership in Albany did not have the political courage needed to pass the Build Public Renewables Act”, said Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes, who represents New York’s 51st Assembly District. “We will continue to organize with frontline communities across the state who will bear the brunt of continued climate inaction. We will not stop in making sure that our legislature reflects the will of working class people”.
“This session, the Assembly Speaker chose to side with fossil fuel polluters instead of everyday New Yorkers and the majority of his own conference,” said Senator Jabari Brisport, who represents New York’s 25th Senate District. “Our only choice is to continue to build the political power necessary to ensure that he can no longer ignore the climate movement.”
“Passing the Build Public Renewables Act through the State Senate this session was the urgent step we needed to take toward fulfilling the commitments of the CLCPA and toward efficiently delivering renewable energy throughout our state,” said Senator Julia Salazar, who represents New York’s 18th Senate District. “It is deeply disappointing that the Assembly failed to bring the bill to a vote. The climate crisis demands bold action, and New Yorkers deserve climate justice. We need decisive leadership in Albany instead of leaving the future of our state and our planet in the hands of for-profit energy corporations.”
““Despite a Democratic supermajority, the state legislature refused to confront the catastrophic warming of the planet and the destruction it will cause,” said Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, who represents New York’s 50th Assembly District. “The New York Power Authority needs the authority and the mandate to rapidly scale up renewable energy infrastructure. Our failure to pass the Build Public Renewables Act wastes another year with inaction—and time is running out.”
“The Build Public Renewables Act would give New York the tools to end skyrocketing bills and climate-threatening pollution by corporations like Central Hudson,” said Sarahana Shrestha, who is running for New York’s Assembly in District 103 in Mid-Hudson Valley. “But instead of unleashing a rapid green transition, creating tens of thousands of good, public sector jobs, and protecting our futures, Carl Heastie and the Assembly put fossil fuel profits above all. The Hudson Valley is fed up with inaction being the norm in Albany. It’s evident we need organizers in office, and we are ready to lead the way forward.
“The failure to pass the BPRA was a gift to fossil fuel and private utility interests, and a tremendous loss for working class New Yorkers and our future generations,” said Illapa Sairitupac, who is running for New York’s Assembly District 65. “I was arrested last year fighting for this bill, and I will bring that same fight to Albany, because the Green New Deal must start here! New Yorkers have been clear: we must reign in the power of energy landlords like ConEd and get New York off of fossil fuels as fast as possible to build a green economy and a liveable future for our communities.”
“It’s long past time to get New York on a path to clean, affordable energy,” said Vanessa Agudelo, who is running for New York’s Assembly District 95. “Over one million New Yorkers today are facing nearly $2 billion of utility debt as the State makes little progress in the fight against the climate crisis. When our leaders fail to act on a crisis as significant as the climate crisis, it’s Black and brown working-class communities like mine that are left to bear the burden. That is why I’m running, and why we need to elect the Green New York slate across our great state to office.”
“By failing to introduce the Build Public Renewables Act, working class New Yorkers will face yet another year of rate hikes for dirty energy while private utilities and fossil fuel companies line their pockets,” said Samy Nemir Olivares, who is running for New York’s Assembly District 54 We cannot continue to stall on our climate commitments. We need new leaders willing to stand up to fossil fuel interests and fight for a Green New York for our communities and their future generations.”
“The Assembly and Speaker Carl Heastie have ensured that New Yorkers will spend another year paying more for energy that harms the planet and our communities,” said Keron Alleyne, who is running for New York’s Assembly District 60. “By failing to pass the Build Public Renewables Act, New York will remain far off track from meeting our 100% renewable energy transmission goal by 2040 and far off track from delivering climate justice. In the meantime, New Yorkers — especially in working class Black and brown communities — are facing major rate hikes while fossil fuel interests continue to profit from our failure to expand clean energy. We need to show the establishment that New Yorkers won’t stand for this by electing myself and the rest of my Green New York slate to office.”
“This would have been a huge win for New York, building publicly-owned renewable energy and creating tens of thousands of union jobs, but our so-called leadership didn’t lift a finger to pass the bill.” said David Alexis, who is running for New York’s State Senate District 21. “This means that we’re going to keep fighting together, we’ll continue to elect climate champions. We will come back next year and pass the Build Public Renewables Act. We will build a New York where kids don’t suffer from asthma at rates that are twice the national average, where adults can work good-paying union jobs to power the state with renewable energy, where our subway systems and other infrastructure are climate-resilient and efficient. In short: here in New York, we can lead the fight against climate change and build the healthier, more just, and sustainable world that we all deserve to live in.”
“The outpouring of support from New Yorkers across the state for Build Public Renewables puts us on the right side of history in the fight for our lives,” said Kristen Gonzalez, who is running to represent District 59. “By blocking it, Speaker Heastie and Governor Hochul have stolen our futures. It’s Black and brown New Yorkers like my Queens neighbors we lost to Hurricane Ida who will pay the price. I won’t stop until our entire Green New York slate is elected and the Build Public Renewables Act is passed.”
“When Albany’s fossil fuel-funded leadership blocked every climate bill last year, we made a plan: sweep them out of office with a slate of climate organizers called Green New York and pass Build Public Renewables in 2023”, said Aaron Eisenberg, NYC-DSA and Public Power NY organizer. “Yet our movement grew so fast, we united thousands of New Yorkers to the point that establishment leaders had to undemocratically step in to stop our bill. Proving once and for all why we need to replace climate denying cowardice with bold climate leadership. We got the votes. We have the momentum. It’s time to turn the clear and obvious desire for transformative climate action into electing climate champions for a Green New York. We invite the thousands of New Yorkers who helped BPRA almost cross the finish line to join us this Monday, June 6th at 8PM at bit.ly/buildpublicpower. The fight starts now.”
As a key member of the Public Power NY coalition, NYC-DSA has championed BPRA by organizing across the State to mount public pressure on Albany. The bill is a central issue for the Green New York slate of climate activists that DSA is working to get elected this year, and proves why we need their leadership in New York’s fight against climate change. With fossil fuel companies, corporate utilities, and Wall Street hedge funds fueling the climate crisis and controlling our energy system, DSA is fighting to elect leaders who will put working class New Yorkers over lobbyists and build a clean, democratic energy system. It took the threat of seven climate champions running to take away their jobs for the Democratic leadership to finally move the Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA), and it will take their election to get the job done.
Contact: Lawrence Wang
About NYC-DSA: New York City Democratic Socialists is the local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America—the largest socialist organization in the United States with over 85,000 members. NYC-DSA is run by its 5,000+ members and activists who are working together to build a democratic socialist organization in the five boroughs.
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