Erik McGregor is a New York City based artist, photographer and activist. Erik is a member of the People’s Puppets of Occupy Wall Street and co-writer of the Occupy Wall Street’s Declaration of the Occupation of New York City. As a published freelance photographer, he has documented activist groups actions in NYC since 2011.
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Communities call on Governor Cuomo to appoint “People’s Commissioners” to the Public Service Commission (PSC)
New York, NY – As Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares to fill vacant seats on the powerful five-seat Public Service Commission (PSC), community members from across New York City are calling on him to appoint “People’s Commissioners” who will serve the interests of the environment and all the people of New York State, and not just the needs of corporations and utilities. At a rally held outside Governor Cuomo’s New York City office, on May 31, 2017; community members shared why New Yorkers need a People’s Public Service Commissioner. They also collected signatures for a petition in front of the governor’s office, already signed by hundreds of New Yorkers, asking Gov. Cuomo to appoint PSC members who pledge to work for a cleaner energy future for everyone across the state.
The rally is especially timely, as the next PSC meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 15 and the commission is still short two commissioners for its five-seat body.
"Low-income communities of color shoulder the greatest burdens of our dirty energy economy, and will continue to be the most impacted by climate change. New York is undergoing very exciting policy shifts when it comes to our energy system and how New Yorkers relate to it,” said Ceci Pineda of Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES). “We need People’s Commissioners who center poor, working-class communities of color in the vision for this transition."
The New York Energy Democracy Alliance and community organizations will hold a rally on Wednesday, May 31, at 1:00pm EST at Governor Cuomo’s New York City office, 633 Third Avenue, to brief the general public on this issue. Speakers will include community members from around New York CIty, who will talk about how the PSC’s decisions are affecting real New Yorkers, and why commissioners who truly represent the people—and not just power companies and business as usual—are essential to New York’s clean energy future. The rally will be held outside the Governor Cuomo’s New York City office, and participants will carry a huge mosaic of faces from around the state, each with a message to the Governor on the importance of appointing People’s Commissioners.
The hashtag #PeoplesCommissioner peppers the Energy Democracy Alliance’s Twitter feed, which has been retweeting posts of signs made by people from around New York. “Cuomo: A people’s Public Service Commissioner is a necessary next step if you are actually serious about leading NY and the U.S. to an equitable existence,” reads one sign.
Traditionally, the Public Service Commission has been heavily influenced by the interests of entrenched power companies that promote a business-as-usual approach. The New York Energy Democracy Alliance is pushing the PSC to broaden its narrow, strictly market-based thinking and embrace an updated vision of the value of clean, renewable, distributed energy, controlled and owned by the communities that need it.
The New York Energy Democracy Alliance (EDA) is a statewide alliance of 22 community-based organizations, grassroots groups, and policy experts working together to advance a just and participatory transition to a resilient, localized, and democratically controlled clean energy economy in New York State. The EDA formed in response to New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding - a state overhaul of energy policy and renewable energy funding. The REV is a historic process that will shape our energy future for generations to come. The EDA holds regulators, political leaders, and energy companies accountable, and works to ensure that the benefits of our energy system flow to all New Yorkers, especially poor, working class people, and communities of color. All New Yorkers, regardless of their background, should have access to the benefits of renewable energy and a sustainable and equitable energy future. The following organizations are official members of EDA:
Affordable Housing Partnership Homeownership Center
Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE)
Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition
Center for Social Inclusion (CSI)
Citizens’ Environmental Coalition
Citizens for Local Power
Citizen Action of New York
Fossil Free Tompkins
Good Old Lower East Side
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
Long Island Progressive Coalition
New York State Sustainable Business Council
Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson
Northwest Bronx Community Clergy Coalition
People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo)