For Immediate Release:
February 11, 2021
Media Contact: Dan Morris. 917.952.8920.
Climate Groups Tell State Legislators: Cuomo’s Budget Will Kill Thousands of Green Jobs, Gut NYC’s Law to Reduce Emissions
New York – Today, organizations involved in the Climate Works for All coalition urged New York state legislators to oppose a proposal in Governor Cuomo’s budget that will destroy thousands of green jobs and gut Local Law 97, a crucial New York City law designed to reduce emissions at buildings, the largest source of climate pollution.
Cuomo’s budget includes a provision – Part R in the Transportation, Economic Development, and Environmental Conservation FY 2021 (TED) – that would allow buildings covered by Local Law 97 to buy Renewable Energy Credits, instead of performing retrofits that would create thousands of green jobs and ensure energy efficiency upgrades and improvements.
Climate Works for All urged state legislators to vocalize public opposition to Cuomo’s proposed budget and affirm support for Local Law 97. Compliance with Local Law 97 will create thousands of green jobs through building retrofits that will reduce energy consumption and help put residents to work amid a massive unemployment crisis in New York City.
Leaders of Climate Works for All offered the following statements today:
“This is a misguided and harmful budget proposal from Governor Cuomo that would undermine Local Law 97 and New York City’s urgent efforts to address the climate crisis. We applaud the state legislators who have already spoken out against Cuomo’s budget proposal. Every state legislator should oppose it. Cuomo’s budget proposal is bad for our environment, bad for our communities, and bad for our economy. If enacted, Cuomo’s budget proposal would eliminate thousands of good-paying green jobs, and make it easier for the real-estate industry to avoid pursuing necessary retrofits of buildings that are the worst climate polluters,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN, a progressive advocacy organization that co-founded the Climate Works for All coalition.
In 2019, the Climate Works for All coalition was instrumental in the passage of Local Law 97, also known as the dirty buildings law, which requires significant energy efficiency upgrades and improvements to New York City’s buildings. The law was crafted and passed in response to a 2017 report from ALIGN that highlighted the role of New York City’s dirty buildings – especially those owned by Donald Trump and Jared Kushner– in driving climate pollution and emissions.
“In a time where New Yorkers are recovering from the most significant public health disaster of our lifetime, the Climate Works for All coalition should not be spending time and resources on reigning in state officials from undermining our landmark LL97’s effects. State officials should prioritize getting New Yorkers back to work in a manner that doesn’t poison their communities instead of focusing on the commercial real estate industry’s budgets,” said Carlos Garcia, Energy Planner, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.
“Before the “Green New Deal” entered the lexicon, there was the Climate Mobilization Act – a result of years of hard work, sacrifice, and exceptional organizing efforts by local grassroots organizations and community advocates. Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal is rooted in ambiguous arithmetic and antithetical to climate science that tells us we need to reduce emissions, and quickly. Buildings account for nearly 70% of the city’s emissions, which have disproportionate impacts on the numerous environmental justice communities situated in the five boroughs. To that end, it’s flummoxing that the Governor, during a global pandemic that is exacerbated by exposure to toxic emissions, would include environmental racism as part of his budget. The City of New York passed a lawful bill to improve air quality and lives, and while we may reside in the Empire State, the Governor shouldn’t behave like an emperor and undermine the will of the city’s people to satisfy the avarice of his friends in the Real Estate guild,” said Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright, Director of Environmental Justice, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.
“By giving building owners the Part R loophole in his state budget, Governor Cuomo is undercutting the demand for good local jobs in retrofitting and renewable energy at a time when New York City urgently needs this transformational economic stimulus. We urge the Governor to delete it from his state budget proposal. The intent of the landmark Local Law 97 was a real Green New Deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large buildings in New York City by 2030, and create 100,000 job opportunities. we urge the Governor to delete it from his state budget proposal,” said Margaret Perkins of 350NYC.org.
“We can’t allow Governor Cuomo’s budget to let the biggest buildings in our city keep wasting buckets of energy so that they can continue to pour out global warming emissions! There are no two ways about it: energy efficiency improvements are critical to lowering our carbon footprint,” said Joanne Boger of 350 Brooklyn.
“Only 29% of downstate New York grid resources are zero carbon while upstate boasts 88%. Governor Cuomo should delete this budget provision that diminishes the impact of LL97 to retrofit the NYC built environment providing jobs, environmental and social justice benefits as well as the impetus to transform the NYC electric grid to zero carbon,” said Martha Sickles Heat Cool Smart Brooklyn.
“New York needs to take a strong stance to uphold climate crisis reduction policies. Supporting municipal laws, such as New York City’s Local Law 97, is imperative. Governor Cuomo and the legislature need to practice what they preach, aiding efforts such as NYC’s Climate Mobilization Act, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Shiv Soin, Executive Director, TREEage.