A rally at the Capitol building in Albany on Apr. 9 drew more than 300 concerned citizens, hoping to encourage lawmakers to vote for a bill to help protect low-income, waterfront communities such as Hunts Point, that have been historically most affected by climate change.
In addition, Bill A3876/S2292, also known as the Climate and Protection Act (CCPA), would lead to the creation of green jobs while greatly expanding the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. The bill is yet to come to a vote in the State Senate.
The rally was organized by NY Renews, a grassroots group that advocates for renewable energy to replace fossil fuels.
Eddie Bautista, executive director of the New York Environmental Justice Alliance, addressed the activists in the Capitol building’s War Room at the rally, where he emphasized the effects unchecked climate change would have on Hunts Point.
“The Point and other South Bronx environmental justice groups have fought and gotten $45 million invested in clean energy in the South Bronx,” said Bautista, adding that “If you don’t care about energy in the South Bronx then care about where you get your food because 22 million New Yorkers get their food from the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center,” which will now have “resilient energy,” due to local activists.
The proposal, which has been described as a New York State version of the Green New Deal currently under debate in the U.S. Congress, would be the first of its kind nationally, and could encourage other states to attack climate change head-on, its backers say.
Some say that the bill does not go far enough. In February, the Green Party of New York’s co-chair Gloria Mattera called the bill a “re-packaging of climate policies over the past few years with too long a time frame, not enough detail and too little monitoring of targets and progress.” The Greens have come out in support of two more extensive bills, the Off Fossil Fuels Act (A3565 OFF Act – A5105 / S5908) and the Green New Deal for New York Act (A5334/S2878A).
A forum will take place at The Point at 940 Garrison Avenue in Hunts Point on May 13 at 6:30 p.m., so the public can learn more about the CCPA and other environmental issues that affect the neighborhood. Organizers have invited State Senators Alessandra Biaggi and Luis Sepulveda to attend.