The Honorable Kathy Hochul Governor of New York State NYS State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224
September 10, 2021
Dear Governor Hochul:
350Brookyn welcomes you to your tenure as governor of our state and looks forward to working productively with you. We are a 3,300-member strong climate action group whose mission is to counter the climate crisis through local action. We work toward a world that is just, equitable, and sustainable and where all beings can thrive. As we are sure you know, if New York State were an independent nation, its economy would be the tenth largest in the world. That means that our contribution to global warming is significant and what we do as a state is critically important not only to New Yorkers but to the fate of the planet. We would like to take this opportunity to share some of our concerns about and hopes for our state.
We are one of the many organizations across New York State who worked to pass the landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019. As part of the New York Renews coalition, we are proud of the goals this law set for our state: 70% renewable energy by 2030 (with 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040); 6,000 MW of solar by 2025; 3,000 MW of energy storage by 2030; 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035; and 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. We are closely following the work of the Climate Action Council as it works to write regulations that will ensure that these goals are met. We note with concern that there are members of the CAC who are working to undermine these goals. We ask that you back clear, enforceable regulations that will ensure that New York State meets all of the goals laid out by the CLCPA.
We also note with concern that there is no funding mechanism to carry out the necessary work that will shift New York to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and lowered greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors as envisioned in the CLCPA. We therefore support a bill that is currently before the legislature, the Climate and Community Investment Act. The CCIA would levy a fee on large businesses importing fossil fuels into New York State. The state would then use that money to build projects that will advance the goals of the CLCPA, especially in low- income communities of color, to train New Yorkers for the accompanying green jobs expansion, and to reimburse low-and-moderate income New Yorkers for any raises in their utility bills that may result. We ask that you support incorporating relevant parts of the CCIA into the upcoming state budget, and that you also support passage of the remaining parts in the legislature. New York has a diverse and creative economy. We should be leaders in this arena, so let’s lead!
Another area of concern for us is the continued expansion of fossil fuel gas (so-called “natural” gas) in our state. Despite the state’s ban on fracking and the legal mandates of the CLCPA, as well as the huge opportunity that Offshore Wind and more resilient renewables present for our region, energy companies and utilities continue to push for more pipelines and the expansion or retrofits of existing power plants. Concerted, sustained pressure from the public has blocked some of these projects from proceeding, such as the Northern Access, the Constitution, and the Williams NESE pipelines. But many privately-owned peaker plants and many shareholder- owned utilities in our state remain determined to pull whatever dollars they can out of utility customers’ pockets, even as the planet burns. The Public Service Commission has been slow to acknowledge that it is complicit in this dangerous course. We need a reset here. Volunteer- driven groups like 350Brooklyn, at this point in the climate crisis, should be focused on helping our neighborhoods build out community solar, adopt heat pump technology, and weatherize buildings. We should not be playing whack-a-mole with one fossil fuel project after
another. New York State needs a clear and public plan to get off gas, one that builders, utilities, HVAC contractors, town planners, and ordinary people can use to make good decisions. We ask that you recognize the urgency of this problem and work with your staff to come up with such a plan, along with supporting the laws that will ensure its implementation.
350Brooklyn is a proud part of New York City and here, too, we ask for your help with some local issues.
the infrastructure to protect New Yorkers even as we work to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that are the source of these events. We look forward to supporting you as you mobilize state and federal dollars to carry out this work.
As we are sure you know, you have inherited a state workforce that has some really great people who are dedicated to the well-being of us all. We would like to acknowledge the good work NYSERDA has been doing on developing renewables in New York, and we’d like to share our respect for many of the staff of the Department of Environmental Conservation who are experienced, serious professionals in their fields. You have a lot of good people to work with, and you have a huge audience of New Yorkers who want nothing more than for you to succeed as our governor.
350Brooklyn is looking forward to partnering with you and your administration in moving New York to a fully renewable energy system, a just transition for affected workers and the broadening of opportunities in a green workforce, and investment in low-income communities and marginalized communities of color such that all of us share in the benefits of a more sustainable New York.
The 350Brooklyn Steering Committee
Danica Novgorodoff, Ella Ryan, Georgi Page, Ieva Zadina, Jan Thompson, Jeremy Kaplan, Jeremy Sierra, Judy Schneir, Laurel Tumarkin, Leigh Evans, Lynn Neuman, Mimi Bluestone, Sara Gronim, Wendy Fried