Mountainkeeper Joins Binghamton Residents to Promote Climate Plan Based on Jobs, Justice, and Energy Security

Assemblymember Lupardo, environmental justice advocates, and community residents spoke to media in advance of public hearing on the Climate Action Council’s Draft Scoping Plan

"In New York, we're lucky--we're up against a climate emergency, but we're not stuck sitting around waiting for solutions," said Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper's Associate Director. "The Climate Action Council's final plan must focus on solutions we can implement now, identify how to pay for the transition New Yorkers need and deserve, and prioritize justice for all New Yorkers. We have the law and the process to transition away from fossil fuels that are destroying our planet, health, and lives. Today, the focus is on how to make this transition a reality."

Click 'read more' for the full release from April 12, 2022's press conference at the Climate Action Council's public hearing.


Binghamton, NY — On Tuesday, April 12, Assemblymember Donna Lupardo joined community members of Binghamton to hold a press conference in advance of a public hearing on the New York State Climate Action Counicl’s (CAC) Draft Scoping Plan. The Draft Plan is mandated by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) and must create a pathway for New York to reach greenhouse gas emission targets, increase renewable energy, and support disadvantaged communities.

Also present were Binghamton residents, and representatives of local and regional organizations including Network for a Sustainable Tomorrow (NEST), Sierra Club, the Susquehanna Group of the Sierra Club, Catskill Mountainkeeper, ETM Solar and NY Renews coalition members. Community leaders highlighted the need to prioritize Job creation,  environmental justice and public health while rejecting false solutions  in New York’s transition to a green economy.

The event took place in front of the Former IBM World Headquarters in Endicott, where two renewable energy factories are setting up over the next year, renewing the area's leadership in 21st century technology and creating hundreds of new jobs. Speakers asserted that New York's climate law, the CLCPA, has created the necessary business environment for these and similar projects to thrive across the region, providing thousands more jobs in renewable energy development. 

Industrial pollution has left Endicott with a legacy of harmful health impacts on communities. To avoid repeating this history, the CLCPA prioritizes public health, environmental justice and mandates minimizing the impacts of energy development, and the new enterprises calling Endicott home have publicly stated their plans to do the same. 

123rd District Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, “This is a critical time as we are grappling with how to address the mounting threat of the global climate crisis. The CLCPA charts a course for NY policy that involves many stakeholders and points of view. I strongly encourage everyone to learn more about the plan and to weigh in accordingly. Locally, we can build on our history of innovation employing a new workforce dedicated to building our clean energy future.”

"In New York, we're lucky--we're up against a climate emergency, but we're not stuck sitting around waiting for solutions," said Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper's Associate Director. "The Climate Action Council's final plan must focus on solutions we can implement now, identify how to pay for the transition New Yorkers need and deserve, and prioritize justice for all New Yorkers. We have the law and the process to transition away from fossil fuels that are destroying our planet, health, and lives. Today, the focus is on how to make this transition a reality."
 
Dr. Gay Canough, owner of ETM Solar, said, "We cannot afford to dither around further trying to decide if we should allow fossil fuel companies to continue to destroy our only home for money. There’s good news: The technology and know-how is in place to make a fairly fast transition away from fossil fuels. We know how to do everything with electricity, even heating and transportation and electricity can easily be generated by wind and solar power. In the next year, solar panels and Lithium Ion Batteries will be mass produced right here in Endicott, creating hundreds, and eventually thousands of jobs. It's a triple win for the triple cities!"
 
Adam Flint, Director of Clean Energy Programs at the Network for a Sustainable Tomorrow said, “NY’s climate law, the CLCPA, has created the conditions for our area to become the Green Valley of Opportunity and the 300 solar panel and lithium ion battery manufacturing  jobs to be created this year are only the beginning. As New York moves away from its dependence on expensive and unhealthy fossil fuels, massive utility bill price spikes will become a thing of the past. Over half of all the dollars we spend on energy leave NY to pay for fossil fuels--money that under the CLCPA will stay in the state and in our communities. The CLCPA mandates that 35% of the benefit law’s benefit low and moderate income New Yorkers, so affordability is baked in.  Aggressive climate policy is also a powerful anti-poverty strategy. 

Valdi Weiderpass, President, Susquehanna Group of the Sierra Club said, "The Sierra Club supports climate action and the CLCPA, with no compromises. We want to see a full and complete transition to a clean economy by 2050, with a zero-emissions electric grid by 2040 and a clear, detailed roadmap toward a fully electrified transportation sector. We need a clear moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, clear deadlines for phasing out dirty energy and procuring renewables, a 2024 mandate for all-electric new building construction, and a massive investment in getting existing homes off fossil fuels."
 
Iris Fen Gillingham, Youth farmer/Educator at Wild Roots Farm said, “This is no time to be pushing for false solutions like burning garbage to produce electricity, selling carbon offsets to polluters, and mixing hydrogen with natural gas and calling it blue. This is the time to actually do what is needed to protect communities. People use the term false solutions, but I like to call them dangerous distractions, because that is all they are! A distraction from what is possible, and absolutely necessary in the climate action council’s plan. These dangerous distractions are not throwing a life jacket to NY communities dealing with climate change, they are throwing an anchor at our heads and saying “grab on you’ll float”.


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The Network for a Sustainable Tomorrow (NEST) is a community-based network of programs located in Binghamton and working towards social, environmental, and economic justice and equity in our region. NEST catalyzes and convenes new initiatives and partnerships, and does outreach and education to build a stronger and more resilient Southern Tier. 

The Susquehanna Group of the Sierra Club’s mission is To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; To practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources; To educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.The Susquehanna Group covers Broome, Chenango, and Delaware counties, as well as parts of Tioga and Otsego counties.

Catskill Mountainkeeper's mission is to protect our region's forests and wild lands; safeguard air and water; nurture healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities; empower environmental justice communities; and accelerate the transition to a 100% clean and just energy future in New York State and beyond.

NY Renews, a coalition of over 320 community-based, labor, environmental justice, faith, and climate groups, is demanding a $15 billion investment in climate justice during the 2022–2023 fiscal year, a figure adopted from an NYSERDA estimate that calls for a minimum investment of $10 billion annually, with increases every year, to reduce climate risk for communities in New York State.

 

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