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We Need Climate Action Now: Green New York Responds to West Virginia vs. EPA Decision

We Need Climate Action Now: Green New York Responds To West Virginia v. EPA Decision
Speaker Carl Heastie must reconvene the Assembly on August 3rd to pass Build Public Renewables Act

For Immediate Release, 6/30/22
Link to Google Doc

New York, NY – Today, the Supreme Court significantly curtailed the Federal Government’s abilities to curb carbon emissions. This is the latest in a long line of Court decisions stripping away rights to the benefit of a minority bent on imposing their extreme right wing ideas over an unwilling majority, with consequences that will reverberate for years to come.

It was clear even before this ruling that significant climate action must originate from the states. Yet when Speaker Carl Heastie had the chance to pass the Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA), he failed to even bring it to a vote, despite having 83 confirmed votes – more than enough for passage. Instead, he sided with the fossil fuel and private renewable industries, which has New York stuck at only 4% wind and solar energy generation – one fifth of what Texas generates. All while working-class New Yorkers are faced with high utility and fuel bills that are the result of relying on fracked fossil fuels.

It is more imperative than ever that we elect climate champions who uplift the needs of the working class, not the profits of private interests. On Tuesday, the Mid-Hudson Valley chose Sarahana Shrestha over incumbent Kevin Cahill to represent Assembly District 103 in the general election on this very belief, and the Democratic Socialists of America plan to send Kristen Gonzalez (State Senate District 59) and David Alexis (State Senate District 21) along with her as part of the Green New York slate.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Federal Government’s lack of authority to regulate carbon emissions clearly illustrates how far our democracy has given into private corporations and strayed from ensuring our collective safety. This is a total failure of governance during a species-threatening crisis. In the face of this assault from the right wing, a progressive state like New York must immediately treat the climate crisis as the emergency it is and give climate legislation the urgency it demands. The Build Public Renewables Act was a central plank of my primary campaign and why voters chose me to be their next representative. As the Democratic nominee for Assembly District 103, I call on Speaker Carl Heastie to start by convening a special session on August 3rd to pass the Build Public Renewables Act, which would put us on the path to the just and clean future we desperately need,” said Sarahana Shrestha, the Democratic nominee for New York Assembly District 103.

BPRA is the only path forward for New York State to achieve a 70% renewable energy grid by 2030 as mandated by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The bill would expand the ability of the New York Power Authority (NYPA)—the largest state-owned public utility in the country—to build and sell low-cost clean energy.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling will have immediate and long term devastating impacts on working people. It’s clear that we can’t count on federal climate action. New York has the opportunity to lead the way by passing the Build Public Renewables Act. BPRA gives us the foundation for a Green New York through building renewable energy and creating thousands of good union jobs. Governor Hochul and Speaker Carl Heastie must call a special session to pass BPRA on 8/3 so that we can build on it next session,” said David Alexis, who is running for New York Senate District 21.

The Build Public Renewables Act is instrumental to the Democratic Socialists of America’s vision of a national Green New Deal. If passed, it would provide a model for other states to build renewable energy at the speed and scale that the country – and human civilization – needs to prevent catastrophic climate crises.

“Leadership is more than words. It means action. New York should have led the way this session by passing the Build Public Renewables Act. Governor Hochul and Speaker Heastie still have the power to call a special session to pass BPRA now. I’m campaigning for a Green New York so that we can take back our future from those who want to see us burn,” said Kristen Gonzalez, who is running for New York Senate District 59.

“The election of Sarahana Shrestha and energetic push for BPRA shows that New Yorkers want climate action. Our Green New York slate is ready to lead the way. Are Governor Kathy Hochul and Speaker Carl Heastie ready too? We call on them to convene a special session to pass BPRA immediately, as it’s currently written. New York must lead on this issue,” said Brandon Tizol, an organizer with NYC-DSA.


Contact: Lawrence Wang
Phone:  774-231-8657

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.