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.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
With actions across the state Environmental Groups call for Governor Cuomo to oppose new oil and gas infrastructures, hold corporate polluters responsible for their actions in the courts and accelerate investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency
New York, NY - On June 29, 2017; New Yorkers across the state are standing together to urge Energy Independence for New York State by freeing it from big oil and gas; calling on Governor Cuomo to declare energy independence and urge him to use the State’s powers to say NO to fossil fuel infrastructure. Governor Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation must deny permits, Water Quality Certifications, or other regulatory approvals for transmission pipelines, power generating plants, compressor stations, and all fossil fuel infrastructure projects.
Similar events were also held at locations across the State:
*Huntington, LI: 2:30pm, Village Green Park, 400 Park Ave
*NYC: 12pm, Steps of City Hall
*New Paltz: 2:00pm, outside the DEC Region 3 office: 21 S. Putt Corners Rd.
*Albany: 2:30pm, Capitol Park West
*Ithaca: 2:00pm, Dewitt Park - 102 E Court St, Ithaca, NY
*Syracuse: 2:00pm, outisde the DEC Region 7 office: 615 Erie Blvd West
*Rochester: 2:00pm, The Liberty Pole, at the corner of Franklin St. and East Main St.
*Buffalo: 2:00pm, outside the DEC Region 9 office: 270 Michigan Ave
Burning fossil fuels is a leading contributor to climate change and the oil and gas industry has known this for decades. Yet, instead of acting, they began a campaign to manufacture doubt and undermine action. New York cannot break its addiction to fossil fuels by permitting new infrastructure that will lock us into decades of fossil fuel use and leave our land and water vulnerable to spills and accidents.
As July 4th approaches, New York State must declare itself independent of the harms caused by the use of fossil fuels, that’s what a coalition of environmental organizations urged today. The groups argued that the devastating consequences of a rapidly warming planet must be addressed. The levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere already exceed 400 ppm, considered dangerously high. In addition, methane -- a greenhouse gas more potent than CO2 in the near-term – levels are now growing faster in the atmosphere than at any other time in the past two decades. There’s still far less total methane in the atmosphere than there is carbon dioxide — but molecule for molecule, methane traps far more heat. With the actions by the Trump Administration that undermine international and federal climate policies, it is up to the states to act.
New York can help lead the nation by blocking the development of all new fossil fuel infrastructure deals, which, if built, must be used for decades in order to pay for themselves. The groups argued there is no time to waste. Weaning the nation off of its fossil fuel addiction must start now and blocking new projects to expand the use of oil and gas is a key step.
Governor Cuomo has authority to deny the necessary permits to build such facilities, thus he can stop these expansions.
It is clear that oil and gas facilities not only contribute to the “greenhouse effect” and air pollution, but spills threaten water supplies as well. In a recent report, hundreds of oil and gas spills have not been cleaned up. Leaks, spills and accidents at oil and gas projects can pose additional health threats to local residents.
There was also support expressed for the investigation by New York Attorney General Schneiderman into the activities of ExxonMobil. The Attorney General is investigating whether ExxonMobil deliberately misled the public about the dangers of the burning of fossil fuels. Media reports have documented that the oil giant’s researchers had identified the problem as early as the 1970s. Instead of warning the public, it is alleged that the company used its power to block necessary public health actions. Recently, over 100 New York-based scientists pledged their support for the investigation.
“The looming climate change catastrophe demands that we act. The failure of the federal government to lead means that states must step up. New York State must set a national – and global – example on how best to follow the advice of the world’s experts. It must do so by phasing out fossil fuels and banning expanded infrastructure, keeping the ban on fracking, forcing the industry to clean up its toxic legacy that threatens water supplies, holding the industry accountable for its campaigns of disinformation, and moving toward energy independence through massive investments in efficiency and renewable forms of power. Governor Cuomo must lead the way,” said Megan Ahearn, NYPIRG Program Director.
“Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accords will test whether Governor Cuomo is a genuine leader on climate change. New York needs Governor Cuomo to be a consistent opponent of fossil fuels. Governor Cuomo can protect New York’s communities from climate chaos by opposing all fracking infrastructure and committing to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035," said Greta Zarro, New York Organizer, Food & Water Watch.
"We need good jobs to solve the climate crisis, not corporate greed that destroys our collective future," said Jamie Tyberg with New York Communities for Change. "It's time for New York to declare energy independence from the likes of Exxon."
“Governor Cuomo continues to make bold climate moves by committing to the Paris Climate Accord, discrediting neighboring states in his 2017 State of the State for fracking, launching a methane emissions reduction program, implementing the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) program, and committing to purchasing offshore wind for New York. We need his actions to mirror his statements. He continues to give passes to the fracking industry with massive pipeline expansions and new gas power plants that will only lock us into a future of fossil fuels and fund private corporate gain with exports while creating record-climbing methane emissions," said Kim Fraczek, Sane Energy Project Director.