FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 23, 2023
Contact: Lee Ziesche, email@example.com, 954-415-6228
“We demand clean, affordable energy for New Yorkers who need it most”
New Yorkers rally outside Hochul’s door for Build Public Renewables Act
Albany, New York – New Yorkers and elected officials rallied at the State Capitol outside Governor Kathy Hochul’s door, demanding she include the full Build Public Renewables Act in this year’s budget.
The bill would enable New York to unleash the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the country’s largest public power provider, to build publicly owned, 100% renewable energy; slash energy costs for those who need it most; close polluting power plants in Black and brown communities; and create tens of thousands of green union jobs.
Hochul is attempting to pass a watered down version of BPRA through the New York State budget process. Her BPRA-Lite, allows NYPA to build and own renewables, but strips away labor, accountability and environmental justice provisions, as well as mandate to actually build projects and ensure the state meets its climate goals.
The rally comes on the heels of Hochul’s controversial announcement that NYPA will provide low-cost energy to a protested Amazon facility in Western New York.
“New York’s response to the climate crisis will either double down on a status quo that benefits corporations – like Amazon – first and foremost, or it will be an opportunity to remake our systems so they work for people and the planet – not just for profit. BPRA is an example of the latter. This package would deliver the decarbonization New York desperately needs while directing benefit to multi-racial and working class communities,” Batul Hassan, Policy Manager at Climate and Community Project. “I work with climate Justice groups across the country, and I can tell you that all eyes are truly on New York — to see if we’re capable of passing the full version of this model bill: one that creates union jobs and ensures that NYPA is democratically run.”
“Passing the Build Public Renewables Act will be precedent setting! Not just for NY but for our entire country,” said Hennessy Garcia, Climate Justice Organizer at Sixth Street Community Center. “By not passing it you are telling every New Yorker, the working class, every climate and environmental scientists, Genz and the youth ‘screw you’. So I ask again, New York what will it take for you to understand the severity of the climate change? The time to take action is now and it starts with passing the full BPRA.”
“We are so proud of the union support behind this bill which includes 1199SEIU, NYSUT, PSC-CUNY, UUP, and UAW Region 9A,” said Daniel Atonna, Political Coordinator at For the Many. “There are labor unions that have understandably grown cynical because of decades of broken promises. Well I’m here to tell you, we’re here to tell you, that the Build Public Renewables Act is the real deal! It includes prevailing wage guarantees, local manufacturing provisions, apprenticeship programs, a just transition fund for job retraining, preferential hiring for displaced fossil fuel workers, and much, much more.”
“Governor Hochul in her infinite wisdom thinks it’s a good idea to make us settle for scraps, and is pushing for a weakened version of BPRA that removes the strongest union labor language, among other short cuts,” said Illapa Sairitupac, New York City Democratic Socialists of America. “Are we going to accept that? Are we going to settle some milquetoast, raggedy option of a bill that does not meet this climate crisis? We are here today to demand the passage of the full BPRA and nothing less! I remember when this bill was first written by a handful of plucky socialists, and now BPRA is the most supported, the most sponsored climate bill in the New York State Assembly and Senate.”
Senator Kristen Gonzalez said, “Our coalition is fighting for the full Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA), which the Senate passed this session. The Governor’s proposal in the Executive Budget does not meet the moment in a way that our state needs. Her proposal lacks the depth of labor protections that the BPRA affords and delays the phaseout of gas-powered peaker plants five years longer than the full BPRA does. The BPRA provides an unprecedented opportunity to bring climate justice to New York; we cannot afford to let this budget pass without including it!”
Senator Jabari Brisport said, “Climate catastrophe is not a distant possibility, but a present threat hanging over all our heads. Governor Hochul has so far failed to take any meaningful action on climate — if the first thing she does is weaken the measures in the BPRA, New Yorkers are going to notice.”
Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “The climate crisis is real, and we must use every tool we have to meet our climate goals so that we can have a planet to live on for generations to come. The Build Public Renewables Act is an essential component to delivering on those goals, creating good union jobs, and generating clean, affordable energy for New Yorkers. As a co-sponsor of the BPRA, I’m proud to have voted to help pass it in the Senate and will continue fighting for it in the budget this year.”
“In the face of the climate crisis, it is not time for partial measures. The Governor’s budget must include not only some elements of my bill but also the mandate for the New York Power Authority to step in to ensure we meet our climate goals, gold standard labor language, and democratization of the NYPA board,” said Assemblymember Robert Carroll
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