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Contact: Lee Ziesche, info@publicpowerny.org, 954-415-6228

“Overseeing racial discrimination at NYPA must be the end for Justin Driscoll’s mistaken nomination”

Albany, New York – This morning, the Buffalo News broke the shocking news that Justin Driscoll, Governor Hochul’s nominee to lead the New York Power Authority (NYPA), failed to take action against systematic racial discrimination against Black employees at NYPA while he served as Executive Vice President, and actively fought to dismiss claims as General Counsel.   

Members of the Public Power NY Coalition had been in touch with Shirley Hamilton, a 43-year employee of NYPA and President of the Niagara NAACP, about the discrimination she experienced and her steadfast belief that Driscoll could not lead a just NYPA. Mrs. Hamilton tragically passed away in March 2023. 

Public Power NY Coalition released the following statement: 

Overseeing racial discrimination at NYPA must be the end for Driscoll’s mistaken nomination.

We wholeheartedly support the Senate’s legislation to rename a NYPA hydro power plant after Shirley Hamilton, but a more fitting tribute to her lifelong work for civil rights would be to reject the nomination of Justin Driscoll, who Shirley said did everything he could to fight discrimination complaints at her work place. 

Driscoll has already proven he will put private developers and billionaire companies before everyday New Yorkers and personally backed right-wing candidates such as Peter King.

We stand in solidarity with NYPA workers across the state who deserve a safe and equitable work environment and call on the Senate to reject Justin Driscoll’s nomination. We also demand that any future nominee from Governor Hochul have a history of fighting for climate justice and a commitment to using NYPA’s resources to deliver affordable, renewable energy to New Yorkers who need it most.” 

The Finance and Energy Committees are holding a nomination hearing on Driscoll at 10am. 

Senator Timothy Kennedy has introduced legislation that would rename the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant to the Shirley J. Hamilton Niagara Power Plant. 

“It feels strange in some ways to be moving this without her,” said Patrick Robbins, who was introduced to Shirley Hamilton last winter, after she attended a NY Renews event and wanted to learn more about the Build Public Renewables Act. “But I look at her emails and I know that she would want us to act. One of her last emails to me confirmed that she wanted all of this to be public, and said ‘the truth must be told.’ My hope is that different leadership will help us bring about the changes Shirley wanted to see in the culture of the New York Power Authority.”

Earlier in the week, information provided by LittleSis researchers reveals that Driscoll successfully worked to deny healthcare to New Yorkers.

He  also donated over a thousand dollars to a member of the Trump transition team and recently awarded discounted energy to Plug Power, a client of Driscoll’s former lobbying firm that has been implicated in financial scandals.


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 that won the Build Public Renewables Act, the nation’s biggest climate bill. BPRA 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 one 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