Thursday, March 30, 2017

ACT UP 30th Anniversary March and Rally


New York - On March 30, 2017; hundreds gathered on a rally at the AIDS Memorial on West 12th Street, New York City to celebrate ACT UP 30th Anniversary, followed by a march around the West Village to the open plaza in Union Squareat East 17th Street.

30 YEARS OF ACTING UP TO END AIDS envisions a country and a world free of AIDS in the next generation. Our demands fall under the following broad issue themes:

-Ending the AIDS pandemic 
-Defending and expanding access to health care and coverage
-Fighting for affordable HIV and hepatitis C drug prices and access
-Finding a cure for HIV/AIDS
-Defending the human rights of all oppressed communities in ending the AIDS crisis
-Ending HIV criminalization laws

At the 30 YEARS OF ACTING UP TO END AIDS action we will commit ourselves to resisting the current political environment based on fear-mongering, bigotry, and the disenfranchisement of vulnerable people, including people living with HIV and hepatitis C. We are still united in anger against policies that undermine people’s right to health care, and we embrace the new tidal wave of resistance and activism to re-commit to an end to AIDS in this generation!
Co-Supporters Include:

Lambda Legal 
Housing Works
Antiviolence Project
Make the Road NY
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
Bailey House
TWOCC: Trans Women of Color Collective
TAG: Treatment Action Group
Health GAP: Global Access Project 
Latino Commision on AIDS 
Metro New York Health Care For All
AREA: The American Run for the End of AIDS
Rise and Resist

#30Anniversary #30Years #Activism #ActUp30 #ActUpNY #AIDS #ENDAIDS #FIGHTBACK #GayRights #GMHC #HIV #HIVJustice #HousingWorks #humanrights #LGBTQ #march #NewYork #NYC #NYCAidsMemorial #PeacefulProtest #rally #‎Solidarity #StopTheHate #StVincentTriangle #UnionSquare #WeAreNotAfraid #WestVillage

© Erik McGregor - - 917-225-8963



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New Yorkers unite and fight against Trump’s dangerous Anti-Climate Executive Order, calling on Governor Cuomo and New York elected officials to step up

New York, NY -- Just days after approving the highly opposed Keystone XL pipeline, the Trump Administration is issuing an executive order rescinding the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and key climate protections. This most catastrophic assault on our climate and communities is the latest in a slew of all-out attacks on people and planet. New Yorkers are uniting against Trump’s dangerous agenda, which runs counter to public health, justice, and science. 

NY Renews, People's Climate Movement, and Resist Here organized a rapid response action outside Trump Tower in Fifth Avenue, New York. About 200 people stood in the rain to rally and march from there to Gov. Cuomo's office on 3rd Avenue. 

New Yorkers are calling on Governor Cuomo and New York elected officials to step up in this moment of crisis, stand up to the administration’s climate denial, and make New York a true beacon of safety and security by leading the country with bold action. 

With Trump regressing at the federal level, real climate action will come from states like New York.  Gov. Cuomo must step up and be a real leader in the fight against climate change. He needs to eliminate climate pollution, protect frontline communities, and spark a revolution in good, green, union jobs. 
Climate change is already devastating communities across the globe, from Bangladesh to the Rockaways, often impacting low-income communities, communities of color, and workers first and worst. Trump's climate denial is racist, classist, and insane.

Last Friday, over 300 of you came out to Trump Hotel to respond to the Keystone XL announcement, and over a hundred people marched all the way to Gov. Cuomo's office to call on him to lead in this moment of crisis.  

#Activism #ActOnClimate #AndrewCuomo #EnvironmentalJustice #Cuomo #DefendDemocracy #demonstration #DonaldTrump #DumpTrump #EnergyDemocracy #energyefficiency #ErikMcGregor #FossilFree #Fracking #GovernorCuomo #KeepItIntheGround #Methane #MuslimRights #NewYork #NewYorkCity #NoDAPL #noKXL #NoPipelines #NotMyPresident #NYC #PeacefulProtest #PeacefulResistance #rally #refusefascism #RejectPresidentElect #ResistTrump #Trump #WaterIsLife 

© Erik McGregor - - 917-225-8963


As a key water-quality certificate permit deadline looms, New Yorkers urge Governor Cuomo to deny it and block Northern Access export pipeline


Albany, NY — With less than two weeks left before the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) must grant or deny critical permits for National Fuel’s proposed Northern Access Pipeline, New Yorkers and allies from neighboring states gathered in the state capital to protest the controversial project. Landowners facing eminent domain, conservationists and concerned residents marched from DEC headquarters to the capitol building, where they spoke of the threat the pipeline would pose to their health, safety, air, water and livelihoods. The group also delivered copies of a letter signed by more than 140 organizations, businesses and faith communities calling on the DEC and Governor Andrew Cuomo to deny air and water permits for the 99-mile pipeline.

If built, Northern Access would transport gas obtained from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale using  hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The high-pressure pipeline would move half a billion cubic feet of gas per day through Allegany, Cattaraugus and Erie Counties in Western New York, connecting with an existing pipeline for export to Canada. 

The Northern Access project would require trenching across 192 streams and 270 wetlands, including New York State-protected trout streams and 13 miles of an aquifer that provides water for thousands of residents. Fifty miles of the pipeline would go through forested lands. Digging through waterways and clear-cutting trees for the project would threaten cold water fisheries and trout populations, for which the region is known; it could also put several state and federal endangered species at risk, including the dwarf wedgemussel, eastern hellbender salamander, northern harrier and bald eagle.

In April 2016, the DEC denied a key water-quality certificate for the Constitution Pipeline, a gas pipeline that was proposed through the Southern Tier and western Catskills. It would have involved fewer stream and wetland crossings than Northern Access but similar construction methods. The DEC concluded the Constitution Pipeline would have endangered New York water.


“It’s unbelievable,” says Lia Oprea, whose property is on the planned pipeline route. “My family has owned our land for four generations; we’ve been trout fishing in the area since the 1830s and our land is on the National Historic Register [as the Rider-Hopkins Farm and Olmsted Camp]. Now, a multi-billion-dollar corporation wants to endanger our lives and our water so they can make more money. That’s not right. We’re prepared to go to court to protect our working farm, our source of income, our heritage and our quality of life."

Governor Cuomo, in his 2017 State of the State address, said New York “must double down by investing in the fight against dirty fossil fuels and fracked gas from neighboring states to achieve the goals outlined in the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard.” The Northern Access Pipeline would undermine those goals, as well as Cuomo’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

National Fuel has estimated that additional facilities, equipment and pipeline leakage associated with its project would produce almost 140,000 tons per year of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases. However, when all the gas to be carried in the pipeline is burned, Northern Access would be responsible for tens of millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions  pumped into the atmosphere every year.  
“Western New York deserves the same protection for our water, air and residents,” says Diana Strablow, a member of the Sierra Club Niagara Group. “There should be no sacrifice zones. We’re asking Governor Cuomo and the DEC to do the right thing and deny the water quality certificate and air permits for this destructive project. Not only do we have a moral obligation to stop enabling fracking in Pennsylvania, we must protect our finite supply of fresh water.”

"Think about your kids," says Strablow. "We need to transition to renewables—for energy and job creation—not use our state as a thruway for fossil fuels that hurt people and the climate.”


The project would also mean a large new compressor station and two miles of adjacent pipeline in Pendleton, NY, a ten-fold compressor-station expansion in Elma, NY, and a dehydration facility in the town of Wheatfield—all in residential areas.

The DEC is bound by federal deadline to make a decision on air and water permits for the Northern Access Pipeline by Friday, April 7th.

#Activism #ActOnClimate #Albany #AndrewCuomo #ClimateChange #climatejustice #Cuomo #demonstration #DenyThe401 #EnergyDemocracy #energyefficiency #ErikMcGregor #FERC #FossilFree #Fracking #GovernorCuomo #KeepItIntheGround #Methane #NAPL #NewYork #No401 #NoNAPL #NoPipelines #NorthAccessPipeline #NYSCapitalBuilding #PeacefulProtest #ProtectNYWater #rally #‎Solidarity #WaterIsLife ‪#‎weareallconnected‬ #WeSayNo #YOUAREHERE

© Erik McGregor - - 917-225-8963



Monday, March 27, 2017

21 were arrested blocking the entrance to Governor Cuomo's offices and Senate Chambers in Albany to demand progressive tax policies to end homelessness, income inequality and prepare for Trump cuts. 

Albany, NY - 21 people were arrested calling attention to record homelessness and income inequality, and the need for the state to adopt progressive tax policies. For nearly three hours, 150 homeless, formerly homeless, faith and community leaders - representing over 88,000 homeless New Yorkers - blocked the entrance to Governor Cuomo's second floor offices, and Senate Chamber one story above chanting "88 thousand and we ain't leaving" and singing old gospels transformed into housing justice protest songs. 

Protestors outside the Governor's office held a banner reading "Cuomo: The Nation Is Watching", and a handwritten sign reading "Cuomo, what kind of President allows record homelessness and income inequality. #NeverMyPresident" tapping into Cuomo's Presidential ambitions. 
Outside the Senate Chamber protestors held a banner reading "Albany End Homelessness", and a handwritten sign reading "Senate GOP = Heartless. Tax Cuts for Millionaires, Budget Cuts for Hungry and Homeless Kids", attacking the Senate Republicans for their Trump agenda in NYS; proposing tax cuts for millionaires despite US Census showing upstate cities 

The protest was organized by the Albany Can End Homelessness in New York State campaign comprised of 43 faith and community groups across the state. The campaign has led an aggressive campaign with a series of protests ending in arrests during the state budget season calling on Governor Cuomo to tackle New York's record homeless crisis, and adopt three progressive tax policies. The specific tax policies would generate ample resources to end that State's historic homeless crisis, as well as to confront a myriad of other ills that have long plagued New York. As the state braces for the potential loss of billions of dollars in federal revenue brought by the Trump Administration and Congressional GOP, faith leaders and community groups have stressed the need for progressives revenue as ever more urgent.

The coalition has pointed to New York State's record high homelessness as a true indicator of what Governor Cuomo and Senate Republicans value. While New York remains one of the richest states in the nation - home to Wall Street, a multi-billion dollar real estate industry, and some of the world's wealthiest individuals - over 88,000 people sleep in shelters nightly. Further, cities like Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse are among the top 30 highest poverty rates of nation's largest 589 cities. And child poverty is well above 35% in many upstate cities. 

Faith leaders and community groups affirm that despite Governor Cuomo presenting himself as a progressive champion, the state's glaring income inequality illustrates the Governor's priorities and lack of commitment to truly address the needs of poor New Yorkers. 
With over 88,000 people homeless across the state, New York is currently facing the worst homeless crisis on record. Between 2011 and 2015 the state’s homeless population increased by 41%. Read more about the coalition's platform to support progressive tax policies and end homelessness: Albany Can End Homelessness in New York State. Find additional information on New York State's homelessness in this 2016 report Rising Homelessness in New York State.  

#Activism #AffordableForWho #AffordableHousing #Albany #AndrewCuomo #arrests #CivilDisobedience #Cuomo #displacement #Gentrification #GovernorCuomo #Homeless #HomesFor88k #HouseTheHomeless #Housing #HousingNotShelters #HousingNotWarehousing #HousingRights #humanrights #IncomeInequality #Interfaith #LowIncomeHousing #NeverMyPresident #NewYork #NYSCapitol #OurCity #PeacefulProtest #PeacefulResistance #rally #ResistTrump #SaveNYC #‎Solidarity #VocalNY

© ERIK MCGREGOR - 917-225-8963 -



Friday, March 24, 2017

New York City mourns Timothy Caughman killed last Monday by white supremacist James Harris Jackson

New York - A crowd of over 400 people gathered in Union Square on the evening of March 24, 2017; for an emergency action to say Enough is Enough. The crowd rallied and proceed to march to Herald Square in Midtown Manhattan where Timothy Caughman was killed and hold a moment of silence to honor Timothy and other victims of Hate Crimes and to say no to hate crimes and domestic terrorism. 

On the evening of March 20, 2017; Timothy Caughman was stabbed to death with a sword by a white supremacist. James Harris Jackson, 28, of Baltimore, surrendered to the police shortly after midnight on Wednesday, a day after the victim, Timothy Caughman, 66, stumbled into a police station bleeding from stab wounds to his chest and back. On the evening of March 22, 2017; the white supremacist admitted to traveling to NYC from Baltimore to kill a Black man because "New York is the media capital of the world". 
NYC has seen a rise in hate crimes since President 45 was elected. Many communities have been attacked in the era of Trump from Muslims, Trans folks, Black people and the Jewish community. New Yorkers say no and stand up united for our city. 

Emergency action was organized by Resist Here, Women's March on Washington, Justice League NYC, Working Families Party, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez and Nelini Stamp.

#Activism #BlackLivesMatter #CarryTheNames #demonstration #EndWhiteSupremacy #HateCrime #march #NewYork #‎NoJusticeNoPeace #NYC #PeacefulProtest #racism #rally #SayTheirNames #‎ShutItDownNYC‬ #‎Solidarity #stillnojustice ‪#‎ThisStopsToday‬ #TimothyCaughman #WhiteSupremacy

© Erik McGregor - - 917-225-8963



Thursday, March 23, 2017

Anti-LGBTIQ going under the name #FreeSpeechBus bus spreads hate speech in the streets of New York

New York - Anti-LGBTIQ Hate Bus Hits Streets of New York. On March 23, 2017 a group called CitizenGO is launching the so called #FreeSpeechBus in the United States with a first stop display at One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza in New York. 

The so-called #FreeSpeechBus, is currently spreading its hateful message through the streets of New York City. The organizers behind the bus include the notoriously anti-LGBTIQ groups International Organization for the Family and National Organization for Marriage. The bright orange bus is covered in the message, “It’s Biology: Boys are boys...and always will be. Girls are girls...and always will be. You can’t change sex. Respect all.”

A group of individuals and organizations advocating for the human rights of LGBTIQ people have banded together calling attention to the bus’s harmful message. They are asking New York City’s political and civil society leaders to join them in speaking out against the untrue and discriminatory message it promotes and the violence against trans individuals it will likely encourage.

New York City has some of the country’s most inclusive policies and programs for the LGBTIQ community and specifically for transgender and gender non-conforming people. The city’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio, has advocated for the rights of New York’s LGBTIQ residents, and was honored as the Grand Marshal of last year’s Queens Pride Parade. Last year, New York City became the first city to promote a media campaign to “reaffirm trans and gender non-conforming individuals’ right to use single sex facilities,” and New York City’s Human Rights Laws include comprehensive protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
A similarly styled bus received strong pushback in Spain earlier this year and was recently banned in Madrid on the premise that it was discriminatory and could incite hate crimes. After the bus was banned, it received high-profile attention from the likes of Chelsea Clinton who Tweeted, “Please don't bring these buses to the U.S. (or anywhere).” 

Jessica Stern of OutRight Action International commented: “Free speech is a constitutional right, but language has consequences that must be considered. Trans youth already have an extremely high risk for violence, discrimination, and suicide. Broadcasting a message that erases and denies the reality that transgender and intersex children and youth exist is irresponsible, factually misleading, disrespectful, and dangerous. This vehicle is part of the reason trans youth are driven to suicide.”

Gillian Kane, Senior Policy Advisor at Ipas, an international women's reproductive health and rights organization, a member of the coalition, stated: “We call on the Mayor and New York City Council members to take a stand for diversity and respect for all people—including intersex, transgender, and gender non-conforming people—as a core New York value, and to speak out against the hate and transphobia propagated by this bus.”

Kimberly Zieselman, JD, Executive Director of interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, commented: “This isn’t biology—this is hatred rooted in an entirely false understanding of the human body. Being a girl or a boy isn’t about biology, it is about gender. The reality is that biological sex is on a spectrum, and no amount of argument will prove otherwise. Approximately 2% of children are born intersex, meaning they transcend typical notions of what the “FreeSpeechBus” says is “boy” and “girl.” This bus attempts to erase the lived realities of the incredibly brave young people I work with every day who do not fit into this binary. In the same way that gender is not limited to strict male and female categories, neither is our biological sex.”

Haven Herrin, Executive Director of Soulforce, an LGBTQI social justice organization that challenges Christian Supremacy through spiritual healing, radical analysis, and strategic direct action, added their perspective commenting: “Religion that denies the sacred being of trans and intersex children is no religion at all—it's a gross abuse of power. We need to send the message to trans and intersex youth that they are cherished just as they are and that they don’t have to conform to pressure from hateful ideologies.”

#ElBusDeLaLibertad #EndHomophobia #EndTransphobia #ErikMcGregor #FreeSpeechBus #GenderEquality #HateBus #HateSpeech #humanrights #LGBTQ #LGBTQLivesMatter #NewYork #NYC #StopTheHate #Transgender #TransJustice #Transphobia #TransRights #TransWomenBelong

© Erik McGregor - - 917-225-8963



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Emergency solidarity march and rally for threatened immigrant workers at Tom Cat Bakery fighting ICE

Long Island City, N.Y. — Workers, elected officials and community supporters rallied outside Tom Cat Bakery Wednesday to protest the threatened mass firing of dozens of immigrant workers following a Department of Homeland Security investigation. As members of a non-profit organization called Brandworkers, the workers decided to stand united and call for resistance from around the country.

Last weekend, there was an emergency meeting in Long Island City, Queens. Members of Brandworkers who are employees at Tom Cat Bakery have been told by owners that ICE has given them a certain timeline to provide their employees worker status or be fired. It is uncertain if the owners have made this up in order to fire organized workers (who have won 3 disputes with them), if owners themselves called ICE, or if this is a new tactic by the administration.

Workers here have deep roots in Queens, mostly over 10 years, with children who are born here. Legal support may have exhausted all legal avenues other than arranging custody of children with consulates and have decided to call on allies to make sure this is a flashpoint - much like JFK protests - that may ripple into change nationally.

The Trump administration has made it a corner-stone of its fascistic platform to harasses, deport, and incarcerate immigrants at an unprecedented rate. DHS and ICE have been raiding homes and workplaces at an increasing pace. One such workplace in NYC is under attack. However, rather than accept their fate and allow their friends and families to be torn apart by these policies, these people have chosen to fight back.

The workers are asking for all those who support their struggle to stand with them as they assert their collective power and refuse to cooperate with the bigoted edicts of the United States government.

Quotes from  the organizers:

"This country stands at a cross-roads between fascism and total liberation. Only through our uncompromising will to fight can we relegate fascism to the trash can of history, and move forward to building a new world in which everyone can live with dignity. We call on all pro-immigrant, anti-ICE, anti-fascist militants and activists of all stripes to come together to support this action." 

"What we know is that one of these raids will become a national flashpoint, much like JFK protests and the airport protests that followed. Those actions started in Queens NYC, the most diverse place on earth, home to immigrants. And we can think of no other place to begin the next national flashpoint around raids and employer collusion in sanctuary cities."

#Activism #DeportICE #ErikMcGregor #HereToStay #humanrights #ICEfreeNY #ImmigrantNY #immigration #LoveTrumpsHate #MuslimBan #MuslimRights #NewYork #Ni1Mas #NoBan #NoHumanIsIlegal #Not1More #NotMyPresident #NoWall #NYC #PeacefulProtest #PeacefulResistance #RefugeesWelcome #refusefascism #RejectPresidentElect #resist #ResistHere #ResistTrump #revolution #RiseAndResist #SanctuaryCity #‎Solidarity #StopDeportations #StopICEraids #StopTheHate #TomCatBakery #Trump #WorkerRights #WorkingFamiliesParty

© Erik McGregor - - 917-225-8963



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Elderly, disabled and others who rely on Medicaid stage political theater to protest Republican plan to convert Medicaid into "Block Grants" or other limited lump sums that will decrease coverage in coming years 

New York - On Tuesday March 21, 2017; outside the NYC Federal Building (26 Federal Plaza, Broadway between Worth and Duane), which contains Medicaid offices, hundreds of New Yorkers who rely on Medicaid, including seniors and people with disabilities, will conduct political theater to protest congressional Republicans' plan to remake Medicaid. 

The Congressional Budget Office has said that the plan would push millions off Medicaid in coming years and provide less Medicaid funding and coverage overall in the form of fixed sums (often called "block grants") to states. 

As part of the political theater, real-life Medicaid recipients carried large lightweight blocks (symbolizing block grants; see image below) reading "We Need Medicaid For..." and then personally filled in. 
But then, protesters playing "Billionaires" and "Money Heads" seized the blocks from them and use them to build a wall that "blocks" the recipients from life-saving healthcare. (Republican health plans would include massive tax breaks for the wealthy.)

"We're using blocks to show that Medicaid block grants, or any changes that rob Medicaid of its longtime entitlement status for the needy and turns it into flat sums per state, will 'block' those who need it most from the coverage they need," says Mark Milano, an openly HIV-positive member of the direction action group Rise & Resist, which staged a "cough-in" at a Trump hotel in NYC in January to demand the retention of Obamacare. 

Rise & Resist has planned Tuesday's action with groups including the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State. 

"The need for Medicaid among the poor, elderly, and people with disabilities is simply too great to cap down coverage," says Jennifer Bartlett, an adjunct professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College who is living with cerebral palsy. 

Bartlett notes that Medicaid provides health coverage for much of the poorest third of the population--including 10 million people with disabilities and about 65 percent of all nursing-home residents. Under the GOP plan, 14 million fewer people would be enrolled in Medicaid by 2026.
The timing of the action Tuesday is especially important as GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan has said he wants the House to pass a bill repealing and replacing Obamacare (which has expanded Medicaid coverage) passed by next Thursday, March 23, the seventh anniversary of Obamacare's signing. 

And the location is important as well: Almost a third of all New York State residents rely on Medicaid.

#ACA #AffordableCareAct #FakePrez #healthcare #humanrights #MangoMussolini #refusefascism #resist #ResistTrump #TrumpCabinet #Activism #ActUp #ActUpNY #AffordableCare #DefendDemocracy #DefendHealthcare #demonstration #DonaldTrump #DumpTrump #ErikMcGregor #GOP #HealthcareForAll #HealthcareIsAHumanRight #healthcareisaRIGHT #humanrights #LoveTrumpsHate #NewYork #NotMyPresident #NYC #Obamacare #PeacefulProtest #PeacefulResistance #Protest #rally #RejectPresidentElect #revolution #RiseAndResist #SinglePayer #‎Solidarity #StopTheHate #trump #TrumpCare #trumpvsallofus #UniversalHeathcare #BlockGrantsKill

© Erik McGregor - - 917-225-8963



Friday, March 17, 2017

EMS, corrections and Sanitation Members Urge Passage of Senator Golden and Assemblyman Abbate Bill Addressing Disability Pensions

New York - On March 16, 2017; at a press conference held on the steps of City Hall, State Senator Marty Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) and Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D-Brooklyn) announced they are sponsoring a bill (S1762/A2988) that would protect members of the public employee retirement systems from having to endure repeat appeals from a retirement system determination denying a disability pension when the reviewing Court finds that the denial was arbitrary, capricious, and t not supported by substantial evidence.

Frequently, applications for disability pensions are denied until the application has been judicially reviewed and remanded. Even then, there is no guarantee that the application will be granted and many disabled retirement system members have to appeal to the Courts at least one more additional time.

“Fighting the denial of a disability pension is very expensive, extremely stressful and time consuming. The disabled person will have to pay court costs and, most likely, attorney's fees to overturn the denial decision”, stated Senator Marty Golden. “When signed into law, it will give judges more authority to adjudicate disability cases fairly and expedite the appeal process. It is important that our EMS, Corrections, Sanitation personnel and other uniformed public employees are protected, legitimate disability claims are approved and their pensions preserved.”

“I am proud to support and sponsor legislation that will impact the hard working men and women who apply for disability pensions”, stated Assemblyman Peter Abbate. “All too often those who apply for their disability pensions are denied and have to go through a lengthy and burdensome appeal process until a judge rightfully rules in their favor. We must do all we can to help the public employees who become disabled, and this will help ease the burden of fighting for their rightful pension and stop the vicious cycle of appeals.”
Izzy Miranda, President of EMS Local 2507 stated “Many EMTs and Paramedics have been denied a disability pension by NYCERS medical board. Although the medical evidence may clearly indicate their disability. This legislative initiative will provide a fair decision through the appeals process based on the medical evidence by which a New York State Supreme Court Judge will have the authority to grant such a disability pension.”

Harry Nespoli, President Uniformed Sanitationmens Association: "This important legislation will allow our members who have already lost their ability to work, are entitled to a timely determination of their pension status, so they can move on with their lives. Justice delayed is justice denied. I applaud Senator Golden and Assemblyman Abbate on their efforts and hope this bill will soon become law."

COBA President Elias Husamudeen said, “Correction officers who are forced to retire due to a disability have already suffered enough and should not have to pay exorbitant costs or be forced to wait inordinate amounts of time to get their disability pensions approved. We are grateful to Senator Martin Golden and Assemblyman Peter Abbate for recognizing this problem and introducing legislation to fix it. COBA  everything we can to help get this bill signed into law."

#2017 #CityHall #DisabilityPensions #ErikMcGregor #FirstResponders #NewYork #NYC #NYSsenate #Photography #PressConference #WorkerRights 

© Erik McGregor - - 917-225-8963


New Yorkers Deliver Over 51,000 Petitions to Governor Cuomo to Reject Water Quality Certificate for Atlantic Bridge Pipeline and to Stop Spectra’s Fracked Gas Pipeline

MANHATTAN, NY – Today, crowds of New Yorkers rallied outside Governor Cuomo’s Manhattan office with an important message: reject the 401 Water Quality Certificate for Spectra Energy’s high-pressure, high-volume, fracked-gas Atlantic Bridge pipeline. Dressed in blue to symbolize water, they delivered over 51,000 petitions to the Governor, highlighting the pipeline’s threat to communities, the climate, health, wetlands, and the drinking water of millions of people in New York City and Westchester areas and beyond. Impacted community members along the pipeline route voiced their concerns about the project’s serious public health and safety threat to those who live in the immediate area, and to all New Yorkers. 

The Atlantic Bridge pipeline, which runs from Yorktown to Somers, crosses dozens of waterways and wetlands in the Hudson River and New York City watershed. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) already issued its approval of the project. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has not yet ruled on its 401 water quality certificate. 

Atlantic Bridge is the second portion of Spectra Energy's illegally segmented Algonquin pipeline expansion, which carries fracked gas from Pennsylvania through New Jersey; Rockland, Putnam, and Westchester counties in New York; Connecticut; and Massachusetts. Spectra separated the project into three parts - Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM), Atlantic Bridge, and Access Northeast - to avoid a full evaluation of the cumulative health and environmental impacts.

Spectra completed the expansion of the AIM Pipeline, the first segment, in January. Its proximity to the aging and failing Indian Point nuclear power plant endangers more than 20 million people in the plant’s impact zone. 
“You would think that a 42" diameter fracked gas pipeline being built right near a nuclear power plant would be front-page news around the country. But somehow it escaped the national attention that it deserves,” said Garrison resident and Resist Spectra coordinator Rob May, who lives near the pipeline route. “When I started talking to residents in Verplanck who are directly affected by the pipeline, I heard how angry and frustrated they were. They complained about the loud noises and bright floodlights and the blanket of soot and grime that continually covered their homes and cars from construction work, the traffic jams caused by Spectra's road work, and accidental water main breaks that caused residents to go without water on hot summer days, as well as streets that were improperly repaired after they had been dug up to install the pipeline. None of the residents benefited from the pipeline expansion. None of the gas was intended for their use, and all of the construction workers came from out-of-state.”

Croton-on-Hudson resident Lael Morgan voiced concerns about the pipeline’s impact on the region: “Spectra's illegally segmented pipeline, ultimately intended to export Marcellus Shale fracked gas abroad, has no value or purpose for the residents of Yorktown, Westchester County, or New York State. Conversely, these local residents will suffer the destruction of local waterways and wetlands, and be at great risk of toxic gas leakage as well as the well-documented threat of pipeline explosions. Westchester County supervisor Rob Astorino sold out his constituents by granting Spectra illegal access to Blue Mountain, the county's largest park reservation, after taking a $41,000 personal campaign donation from the company.”

In addition to the pipeline, the Atlantic Bridge project also expands fracked gas capacity at the Stony Point compressor station in Yorktown Heights. After visiting the site, Yorktown Heights resident Leigha Eyster said: "The smell of gas in the air was strong, and there was a constant loud screeching sound. I felt violated. How did my community allow this? This is my home. What about the people who live right next to it? Their homes are now polluted by the off-gas and noise. What about the wildlife in this area? They will be forced to flee the mind-numbing frequencies and nauseating smell of gas. We will be forced to do the same if we let this construction continue.” 

In February 2016, Governor Cuomo directed four state agencies – the Department of Health, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, and the Department of Public Service – to conduct an independent risk assessment of the Algonquin pipeline’s impact to the health and safety of nearby communities. Over a year later, no assessment has been released. 
Nancy Vann, President of the Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG) and Peekskill resident, expressed frustration about the federal government’s approval of the project without the risk assessment: “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ignored Governor Cuomo's request for an independent risk assessment of the Algonquin pipeline expansion. New York needs to exercise its authority to assure us that this project will not put our environment in jeopardy for the profits of a Texas pipeline company. The DEC was one of the agencies that requested the study and must wait until all of its questions are answered before issuing permits for the Atlantic Bridge construction.” 

Peekskill resident and Resist Spectra coordinator, Tina Volz-Bongar, said:  "I'm depending on Governor Cuomo and the DEC to step up as protectors, to deny the Water Quality Certificate for Atlantic Bridge and instead present the findings of the health and safety study the state has been working on for a year. They've spent $250,000 of our tax dollars on this study. Doesn't the construction of this new segment of pipeline potentially impact New York City drinking water? I've been to all the public meetings for Atlantic Bridge and never heard this addressed. The company has purposely built this pipeline in pieces so they wouldn't need to present what the whole environmental and safety impact would be to our community.” 

In his 2017 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo said New York “must double down by investing in the fight against dirty fossil fuels and fracked gas from neighboring states,” yet his administration continues to issue permits for dangerous, polluting fossil fuel infrastructure across the state. Governor Cuomo has an obligation to fulfill his commitment by denying the 401 Water Quality Certificate for Spectra’s Atlantic Bridge project and shutting down the Algonquin pipeline expansion.  

Rally sponsored by Resist Spectra, Sane Energy Project, Bronx Climate Justice North, Catskill Mountainkeeper, 350 NYC, and Food & Water Watch. 

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© Erik McGregor - - 917-225-8963