Aerial view of wind turbines on agricultural land.
Clean Energy From Above Aerial view of wind turbines on agricultural land. © Thomas Richter

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Legislators, Actors, Environmental Advocates Urge Swift Legislative Action on Climate Change

Enact legislation protecting New York’s communities and natural resources from the threat of climate change.

Albany, NY

Legislators, actors, and environmental advocates joined together today to urge the passage of a strong and successful plan to build a clean energy economy, invest in marginalized communities, and show the nation how to effectively fight climate change.

Environmental Conservation Committee Chairs Senator Todd Kaminsky (D-Rockville Centre) and Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-East Setauket), sponsors of the Climate and Community Protection Act; actors Tim Guinee (Homeland) and Megan Boone (Blacklist); and representatives from The Nature Conservancy, New York League of Conservation Voters, Alliance for Clean Energy, Riverkeeper, Audubon New York, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Citizens Campaign for the Environment held a press conference today to call for urgent climate action, specifically before the legislature adjourns for the scheduled legislative session June 19.

Senator Todd Kaminsky, Environmental Conservation Committee Chair said, “With Washington asleep at the wheel, New York must lead the fight against climate change. It is imperative for the legislature pass the Climate and Community Protection Act — comprehensive legislation that will protect our planet and provide good-paying green jobs — before the legislative session ends. We must take bold action and preserve the Earth for future generations."    

"As a New Yorker, I urge Governor Cuomo, Speaker Heastie and Leader Stewart-Cousins to seize the opportunity to pass the nation's strongest climate legislation now,” said Academy Award nominee, Alec Baldwin. “New York has passed bold legislation in the past and must do so now. With no time to waste, passing critical climate legislation before the end of the legislative session on June 19th is imperative."

Tim Guinee, actor in Showtimes’ Homeland and Hudson Valley chair of the Climate Reality Project said, “For far too long the enactment of meaningful climate change policy in New York State has been mired in the doldrums of political inaction. Now, at this late hour, our Governor and legislators have a brief window in which to work together to create nation-leading climate change legislation. This cannot wait until next year. The time for action is now.”

Megan Boone, actor in NBC hit drama Blacklist said, “The climate crisis is an urgent threat that New York’s leaders must address before the end of the legislative session. As a mother, I have great trepidation knowing that the opportunity my daughter and her peers will have to thrive in adult-life is being threatened with every day that goes by without swift and meaningful action taken by each sector of our society. There is only so much that the individual citizen can take on, as we attempt to repair, and we are desperate for your support. I am urging Governor Cuomo, Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie to put climate action at the top of the agenda.”

Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said, "As the White House continues to roll back environmental protections and loosen standards, it’s up to states to lead the way on climate action. To make a real impact and create a model that other states can follow, we need strong climate legislation that drastically reduces pollution, increases the use of renewable energy, and invests in communities that have historically been disproportionately affected by climate change. We join our partners in calling our policymakers to act boldly and take climate action this session."  

“There is a clear pathway this year in New York to enact pioneering legislation on climate change. There are, of course, differences in perspective and approach, which is not unusual in a matter of such significance, said Jessica Ottney Mahar, New York Director of Policy and Strategy for The Nature Conservancy. “Today we call on the Legislature and the Governor not to let those differences define the moment, and instead to collectively seize the opportunity to negotiate a nationally and globally precedent-setting, progressive and practical bill. It can, it must, be done this session.”

“The time to discuss climate change has ended, the time for action is now.  Impacts of climate change including rising sea levels, damaging rain events, insect borne diseases and shifting weather patterns are all critically impacting our economy, public health and our sustainability.  Every year we wait causes more damage for our future. Failure is not an option. We are thankful for Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assemblyman Steve Englebright who are working aggressively for legislation this session,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

“The Alliance for Clean Energy New York and the New York Offshore Wind Alliance urge the legislature and the Governor to work together to get a strong, responsible climate bill passed and signed into law that places New York’s energy and climate goals in statute and establishes a timetable for achieving them,” said Joe Martens, Director, New York Offshore Wind Alliance. “Working together we can lead the nation in addressing climate change, creating jobs and improving New York’s economy and environment. This is not an issue that can be delayed or deferred. The time for leadership and compromise is now.”

Jeremy Cherson, legislative advocacy manager for Riverkeeper said, "Climate legislation must pass by the end of the legislative session. There is no time to waste. Since 1900 the Hudson River has warmed by four degrees and risen by over one foot. Governor Cuomo and the legislature have a real opportunity to show the nation true leadership on the climate crisis. Let's seize it."

“With smart policy, New York State can interrupt the current trend of global warming and stall the worst effects of climate change, “ said Erin McGrath, Policy Manager for Audubon New York. “What’s needed now is strong leadership and a commitment to passing climate change legislation before the legislature adjourns for the year. We urge Governor Cuomo, Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Heastie to take aggressive action on climate change to protect birds, people, and the places they need.”

“New Yorkers in every corner of the state are looking to Albany to step up in this historic moment and pass equitable, nation-leading climate legislation,” Rich Schrader, New York Political Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Opportunities like this don’t come around very often, and with only a few short weeks left to act, lawmakers cannot afford to wait. With the potential for thousands of new jobs and a cleaner, more just future, New York must not sit idly by – it must rise to the scale of the challenge. The longer the climate crisis goes unaddressed, the worse the impacts will be.”

Climate change poses a severe threat to all of New York’s communities from Long Island to Buffalo. With just three weeks left before the expected end of New York’s 2019 legislative session, advocates stress the need for lawmakers to take advantage of this opportunity to pass practical climate legislation that will improve the lives of New Yorkers who will be affected by climate change, especially in communities where public health, economic well-being, natural resources, and the environment are most at risk.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.