ALBANY – State Senator Jen Metzger (42nd District) has put forward a bill in the New York State Senate (S-5200), known as the Freedom From Fossil Fuels Act, that would end the development of new fossil fuel infrastructure in New York state and set a course for New York to shift to a clean energy economy. Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (AD-25) is sponsoring the same-as bill in the State Assembly.
“The urgency of climate change requires a rapid transition to clean energy,” explained Senator Metzger during a press conference on the bill. “We cannot achieve that transition, or the economic benefits to New York that it promises, if we continue to invest in new fossil fuel infrastructure and extend our dependence on fracked gas and oil from out of state.”
“Climate change requires prompt, bold, and aggressive action,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. “I’m proud to sponsor legislation with Senator Metzger that takes immediate steps to curb New York’s reliance on fossil fuels and plans for eliminating our reliance on fossil fuels in the next decade. Together we will ensure that New York leads the country in clean, sustainable energy.”
The bill would require the State Energy Planning Board to develop a master plan for achieving a 100 percent fossil fuel-free energy by 2030, if possible, and no later than 2040, and excludes from state energy planning the development of new fossil fuel infrastructure. The legislation is intended to complement the Climate and Community Protection Act by making a number of needed amendments to state energy law regarding the New York Energy Plan.
Also present at the press conference were Senators Pete Harckham and Rachel May, and environmental advocates Jeremy Cherson of Riverkeeper, Andy Bicking of Scenic Hudson and Kathy Nolan of Concerned Health Professionals of New York.
“Fossil fuels are killing our planet and New York State must end the development of new fossil fuel infrastructure and proactively shift to clean energy,” said Senator Pete Harckham (SD40), a co-sponsor of the bill. “This legislation will set the state on the right path to help mitigate the effects of climate change, and to ensure that our economy is based on clean, renewable sources.”
“There are sustainable and realistic solutions,” says New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers in reference to the Freedom from Fossil Fuels Act. “Our ability to innovate and find ways to conserve will make shifting from fossil fuels less difficult than what’s being asserted by the well-compensated fossil fuel lobbyists.”
“Senator Metzger’s visionary bill not only recognizes the urgency of taking more direct and immediate action to confront the climate crisis—the greatest environmental challenge of our time—but provides a framework for incorporating land-use planning into a statewide strategy for hastening New York State’s ability to reduce our dependence on fossil-fuel generating power plants and greatly increasing supplies from renewable energy. Its plan to expand the number of regional councils from only two to nine will help to incorporate measures specific to each region into the state energy plan as we make this critical transition. In addition, the requirement to include representatives from social justice, environmental, public health and local grassroots organizations in the makeup of the state’s energy planning board will ensure that all people have a seat at the table in determining our state’s smart energy future,” said Scenic Hudson Director of Public Policy Andy Bicking.
“Ocean acidification, rising water temperatures and sea level rise threaten the Hudson River and the communities alongside it. New York has a historic opportunity to show global leadership and pass ambitious climate legislation as Senator Metzger has proposed,” said Jeremy Cherson, legislative advocacy manager for Riverkeeper.
“Protecting people from the hazards of oil and gas infrastructure, such as pipelines, compressor stations, and power plants, is difficult, yet vitally important,” says Dr. Kathleen Nolan, a founder and member of the steering committee of Concerned Health Professionals of New York. “This legislation not only mandates that we break our cycle of dependence on fossil fuels and their infrastructure but also supports ongoing efforts to help New York State transition rapidly to a sustainable, renewable energy future.”
“New York has an enormous opportunity to tackle climate change, lead the nation in clean energy development, and capitalize on the economic and environmental benefits of a clean energy economy,” Metzger continued. “We must focus on investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and demand management technologies, not on fracked-gas power plants.
With sensible energy planning, we will transform our economy and create good-paying, local clean energy jobs in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, and across the state.”
Jen Metzger represents the 42nd Senate District, which includes all of Sullivan County and parts of Delaware, Orange, and Ulster Counties. Senator Metzger serves as Chair of the Agriculture Committee and sits on the Environmental Conservation, Education, Health, Energy and Telecommunications, Local Government, Women’s Issues, Domestic Animal Welfare, and Legislative Commission on Rural Resources Committees.