FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 19, 2023
Contact: Lee Ziesche, email@example.com, 954-415-6228
50+ orgs call on Hochul to pass full Build Public Renewables Act
As the showdown over Public Power in the NYS budget continues, advocates call on Governor to move further and support the full BPRA, and reject private utility ownership
WATCH press conference recording- password: X!n0q$K3
As overtime budget negotiations finally focus on climate issues, supporters of Public Power from environmental justice, labor, youth climate and consumer affordability groups sent a letter to Governor Hocul today urging her to include the full Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA) in the budget.
Hochul’s initial executive budget proposal, which the press called “BPRA-lite”, removed four provisions advocates say are critical for the bill’s success: robust labor standards, shutting down racist New York Power Authority (NYPA) fossil fuel power plants by 2030, a democratic and accountable NYPA and a real mandate to build new projects.
Politico is reporting that the Governor’s latest negotiating position included the nation leading labor standards of BPRA and is moving toward supporting a mandate to build.
“We’re closer than we’ve ever been,” said Patrick Robbins with the Energy Democracy Alliance. “We saw a version that included very necessary labor language to ensure the people who are building these projects have good jobs and are able to take care of their families. But there are still pieces we have to keep in negotiations.”
Hochul’s movement on BPRA comes after her climate credentials have taken a serious hit recently. She received national criticism for her attempt to gut the Climate Leadership and Protection Act and is under fire for nominating a lawyer to the Court of Appeals who represented Chevron in the fossil fuel giant’s vindictive and chilling case against environmental lawyer Steve Donziger.
“Right now our Governor and our state are not prioritizing young peoples’ lives,” said Shiv Soin, withTREEage, a steering committee member of NY Renews. “We want the full Build Public Renewables Act because young people fully understand that we’re the ones who are going to bear the brunt of this crisis in the future.”
Climate advocates successfully stopped Hochul’s rollback of the CLCPA and are now calling on her to prove her climate leadership by standing with environmental justice communities and passing the full BPRA.
“Build Public Renewables is crucial for the Bronx, I can’t stress this enough, especially the part about cheaper energy bills,”said Bronx resident and organizer with Sixth Street Community Center, Hennesy Garcia. “I’m sick and tired of talking, I literally just want action. Pass this damn bill already, please. We want nothing less.”
“It’s frankly a little absurd and to the detriment of all of us that one of the biggest power producers of the state is legally prohibited from owning more utility scale renewable energy,” Daniel Chu, with the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. “By removing this limitation NYPA can help us clean up our energy grid faster, cheaper and more efficiently. NYPA owns and operates six peaker plants in New York City and two on Long Island, mostly located in disadvantaged communities. The mandates of the Build Public Renewables Act ensure these peaker plants can be more swiftly and effectively transitioned when we are already out of time to mitigate the climate crisis.”
“Passing the full Build Public Renewables Act would be a game changer for our city, our state and our schools,” said NYC public high school teacher and UFT member, Ryan Bruckenthal. “It’s not just adults teaching young people in that building, we’re also learning from our students. When young people walk out on climate strike, when they take to the streets and demand that politicians and adults do something about it, we’re learning that it’s that type of activism, that type of vision for the future that’s really going to get us out of this mess.”
In addition to demanding the passage of the full BPRA in the budget, advocates warned against a measure that would allow corporate utilities to also own and operate renewable generation.
“That has got to be completely off the table,” said Robbins. “That is completely unacceptable given the record utilities all over the state have of exploiting ratepayers, downgrading power in Black and brown communities and every couple years applying for more and more profit off the backs of New Yorkers. These are the last institutions in the world that should be allowed to own renewable energy assets.”
Note to the editor:
About Public Power NY
The Public Power NY Coalition is a statewide movement of community and advocacy organizations, and thousands of New Yorkers fighting to pass the Build Public Renewables Act, the nation’s biggest climate bill. It will enable New York to unleash the New York Power Authority, the country’s largest public power provider, to build publicly owned, 100% renewable energy; slash energy costs for those who need it most; and create tens of thousands of green union jobs that will finally unionize the green energy sector. The bill is endorsed by unions representing over 1 million members in New York including 1199SEIU, NYSUT, PSC-CUNY, UUP, and UAW 9A.
Read our report: Public Power & Climate Leadership: Feasibility of 100% Fossil-Free NYPA by 2030
See our 2 Build Public Renewable Billboards in Albany