April 25, 2018

Over 1500 New Yorkers Urge Gov. Cuomo to Walk the Talk on Climate

Constituents demand renewable energy, polluter fee, and end to fracked-gas infrastructure

ALBANY, NY – More than 1500 people marched on the New York Capitol on Monday, as part of the Cuomo: Walk the Talk on Climate! day of action, telling the Governor to back three collective demands: to halt all fracking infrastructure, to transition New York to 100-percent renewable energy, and to make corporate polluters pay for the damage they cause to New Yorkers’ health and the environment.

“Today, New Yorkers made the bar for climate leadership clear: a fossil free world with 100% renewables for all and no new fossil fuels — one that truly puts our communities and our climate first. We’ve heard the promises, now it’s time for action,” said Betámia Coronel, US National Organizer, 350.org. “Governor Cuomo and elected officials at all levels must fill the void of leadership from the Trump administration. There’s no room for neutrality, and there’s definitely no time for half measures.”

The march started in Sheridan Hollow at the proposed site of a 16-megawatt power plant, intended to power Empire State Plaza. “The proposed fracked-gas plant in Sheridan Hollow exposes the phoniness of Cuomo’s environmentalism,” said Bob Cohen, Policy Director at Citizen Action of New York. “Black and brown neighborhoods don’t deserve to have toxic fumes pumped into the air. No neighborhood does.”

“Now is the time say no to new fossil fuel projects, move towards 100-percent renewables and make polluters pay. The extractionist economy does the most harm to two groups–those already impacted by racism and marginalization, and future generations who will inherit the pollution we put into the air today,” said Karenna Gore, Director of the Center for Earth Ethics. “Governor Cuomo has made some great environmental decisions and delivered some important statements. Today, I hope he will take the concrete steps necessary to meet the challenge of climate change.”

(Patrick Houston from New York Communities for Change is led out of the Capitol in handcuffs.)

As people rallied on the Million Dollar Staircase, a group of activists sat in outside Governor Cuomo’s office, sharing stories of how they have been impacted by climate change and pollution. 55 people were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

Civil disobedience is a tactic growing more common in the climate movement in the face of federal and state inaction. “Since 2011, we have worked diligently with the system by following lawful procedure,” said Kim Fraczek, Director of Sane Energy Project, which seeks to replace fracked-gas infrastructure with renewable energy sources. “We now must escalate to civil disobedience in order to protect our health, safety and democracy.”.

Just last month, a district judge in Massachusetts found thirteen protesters not guilty after they obstructed construction of a fracked-gas pipeline, a historic ruling in favor of the “climate necessity defense.” “For decades our elected officials have failed to appropriately address the climate crisis,” said Tim DeChristopher, founder of the Climate Disobedience Center and defendant who participated today in New York. “In the face of that failure, more and more regular people are stepping up to take direct action to resist the imminent threat of the fossil fuel industry.”

Youth from PUSH Buffalo chant while holding a Cuomo Walk the Talk banner.

With over one hundred endorsing organizations, the march brought together New Yorkers impacted by climate change and the fossil fuel industry from Buffalo to Long Island. “Our state needs true climate leadership in the age of Trump, and unfortunately Cuomo has been long on rhetoric and short on substance,” said Laura Shindell, New York Organizer at Food and Water Watch.

“Climate change is an emergency,” said Dan Sherrell, Campaign Coordinator of New York Renews. “Governor Cuomo’s modest actions to date don’t match the scale and urgency of the problem. That’s why we’re at his doorstep today.”


See the press kit for more information, photos, and video.

Contact: Trip Eggert, (845) 505-6368, trip.eggert@cuomowalkthetalk.org