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Officials, advocates promote Climate, Jobs and Justice package in Kingston and Albany

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Activists are holding several rallies across New York to promote the Climate, Jobs & Justice Package.

NY Renews is made up of more than 320 environmental justice, community, faith, labor, and multi-issue organizations. The group claims to be “the force behind the nation’s most progressive climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.” Ulster County legislator Phil Erner spoke before rallygoers in Kingston.

“The sun is setting on fossil fuels,” Erner said. “The sun is rising on renewables and it feels like dawn, it feels like dawn. It feels like dawn in New York.”

The Democrat was among politicians gathered at For The Many’s office. The Climate, Jobs & Justice Package is a collection of bills including measures the coalition says would require the state to fully fund and implement the Climate Act; build renewable energy and create green union jobs and make those entities activists label as “polluters and the ultra-rich” pay to fund the transition.

“Here in the City of Kingston, people may face an affordability crisis for basic necessities such as housing and health care, food and fuel exacerbated by the pandemic is 2020 in an ice storm and a tornado this year,” said Erner. “These are all related of course to a political socio economic system, which has a whole heretofore has valued profit over people, which means small colonists and capitalists exploiting workers worth for their private wealth.”

Democratic Ulster County Executive-elect Jen Metzger notes that pollution continues while oil companies continue posting record profits.

“Their profits have increased by literally 170% of profits in this year alone to $125 billion,” said Metzger. “They’re profiting from our pain at the pump, from the $6 a gallon plus that we’re paying for heating oil and from the high natural gas prices that are driving our high utility bills. The sooner we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and shift to a clean energy economy the better we all will be.”

The package’s Climate Change Superfund Act would make major oil companies pay for pollution.

Sustainable Hudson Valley’s Melissa Everett is calling for increased public sector investment in green infrastructure and public transportation.

“The most important thing is to uncork our collective imagination, and really understand the level the magnitude of the opportunities,” Everett said. “So energy, upgrading the grid is everything right now, because the grid capacity is so limited in lots of places , that adds to the pressure to put big solar installations on farms, which is the last place we want that. If we get this done and get it done fast, everything else becomes newly possible.”

Albany County legislator Sam Fein, also a Democrat from the 6thth district, is among Capital Region lawmakers supporting the movement.

“I’ve joined this coalition of organizations in pushing for the state to fund the CLCPA,” said Fein. “A few years ago the state passed the CLCPA, a groundbreaking piece of legislation that set goals to make New York a leader in creating a renewable energy economy. But without actually funding it, we’re not actually going to be seeing these goals become a reality. So we’re calling on the state legislature. We’re calling on Governor Hochul to in this legislative session to get that funding to fund the CLCPA. This is about addressing climate change, creating green jobs, really been making sure that New York is a leader in these issues.”

NY Renews says the CLCPA will fully address the climate crisis and meet the mandates of the NY Climate Act next year. Democratic State Senator Liz Krueger told New York City rallygoers that the package’s fate is up to lawmakers.

“We’re members of the legislature where the Senate is 63. The Assembly is 150,” said Krueger. “And so this is a numbers game. You need 76 Assembly members to agree with your package to get it passed the Assembly. 31, 32 members of the Senate to get any of your bills through.”

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