Climate Group Slams NYRenews Bill for False Promises

The Coalition to Protect New York strongly supports the new group ARCA and the scientists, economists, and grassroots activists who join them in opposing a bad bill, which might be rammed through as soon as today, March 15. Please spread the word about this, especially with “environmental justice” communities that think this bill will help them; like many others, they’ve been deceived.

Please sign onto the letter ARCA has provided, as an individual and with your group. Not restricted to New York State groups.

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ARCA - Advocates for Responsible Climate Action; responsibleclimateaction@gmail.com

MEDIA RELEASE

15 March 2017

The “Climate and Community Protection Act,” shown to be a sham in 2016, is reintroduced in 2017 — and this time, it’s been sneaked into the State Assembly budget bill.

“I could not be more outraged,” said Maura Stephens. “Not only has New York Renews not fixed the lousy bill it proposed last year, the so-called ‘Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA),’ but now it has also buried the exact same bill deep within this year’s Assembly budget bill. Pulling such a fast one on New York State legislators is devious, underhanded, and totally insulting to our elected officials — and indeed to all the people of New York.”

Stephens is talking about a fatally flawed piece of legislation proposed by a group calling itself New York Renews. The “CCPA” was first proposed in 2016 but died. Now it has been included in the draft budget bill proposed by the New York State Assembly, which legislators are considering this week. And it lacks critical content to succeed in meeting its ambitious promises.

Advocates for Responsible Climate Action, ARCA, is a group opposing this bill. ARCA, of which Stephens is a founding member, is an all-volunteer organization of individuals working to ensure that New York State gets the best possible climate legislation. It works closely with respected scientists, medical practitioners and economists who have openly expressed their dismay about CCPA since it was first introduced.

Joan Tubridy, ARCA founding member and secretary of Citizens Energy and Economics Council of Delaware County, said, “Scientists and grassroots activists have attempted unsuccessfully for the better part of a year to work with NY Renews on remedying the CCPA’s flaws. The bill’s name belies the reality that it is a seriously problematic document that actually sets us backwards in the critical fight against climate change, further threatening those impacted communities that the bill purports to protect.”

Touted as creating green jobs and protecting “disadvantaged,” or “environmental justice” (EJ) communities, the CCPA bill actually does neither. Furthermore, it uses pollution levels from 1990 as the basis for some of its proposals, confuses critical terminology, allows corporate polluters to self-report their greenhouse gas emissions, and is riddled with other technical flaws.

Mary Finneran, ARCA founding member and lifetime member of the Sierra Club, points to false verbiage about how the bill would help economically depressed and frontline communities — almost always urban communities of color or rural poor communities. The bill simply does not provide viable mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and loopholes within it allow some power plants and factories to avoid reporting emissions altogether.

“‘Environmental justice’ communities would actually be the most heavily and negatively impacted, because the CCPA is not equipped to deliver on its promises to them,” said Finneran.  “Furthermore, the CCPA creates loopholes that allow power plants and factories that produce thousands of tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year to avoid reporting those emissions entirely. People in EJ communities certainly understand that self-reporting of pollution by polluters will not benefit them or allow them to rest easy.”

NYRenews leaders have been acting in bad faith, say ARCA members. They pretended to be paying heed to critiques by noted scientist Anthony Ingraffea, economist Jannette Barth, engineer Keith Schue, and others, promising to rewrite the bill to address the problems. But that did not happen. Instead, the entire bill as originally written was inserted wholesale into this year’s budget. And NYRenews is disingenuously claiming that it had nothing to do with its appearance there.

“We need real climate change legislation,” pointed out Bob Eklund, regional organizer for Solutions Grassroots Project and ARCA founding member. “Only a really good bill could make environmental justice communities safe, create more stable jobs, and achieve the state’s emissions reduction goals. If such a bill existed, there would be no need to hide it on page 77 of the budget. This is not it.”

There are no quick fixes that NYRenews can concoct now to fix the problems with its insertion into a bigger budget bill. ARCA insists that the 2016 CCPA needed a total rewrite. Now, they say, the only responsible course of action is for NYRenews to propose a stand-alone bill that legislators and the public can read, study and amend (or reject) as necessary during the course of the regular legislative session.

ARCA is determined to alert unsuspecting legislators and well-meaning organizations that were recruited to support the bill. At a time of exacerbating climate change, it is critically important that the Assembly and Senate do not pass a smoke-and-mirrors bill that is actually counterproductive to efforts to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. For this reason, they’ve provided an organizational and individual sign-on letter that will be sent to legislators, and invite all interested parties to sign.

For more information, please see an op-ed from December 2016 and follow-up letter dated March 12, 2017, both from Cornell U scientist Anthony Ingraffea and economist Jannette Barth; they are among the experts with whom ARCA works closely.

Also see a summary of a longer critique of NYRenews’ flawed bill.

The NY Assembly 2017-18 Budget Proposal is linked here; see the CCPA beginning on page 78.

Individual and organization sign-on letter in opposition to this bad bill is here.

ARCA founders available for interviews:

Bob Eklund, New Lisbon Town Council Member, Solutions Grassroots Project Regional Organizer: eklund66@hotmail.com, 607-263-2375

Larysa Dyrszka, M.D., cofounder, SACRED (Sullivan Area Citizens for Responsible Energy Development): lar917dy@gmail.com, 201-615-9889

Dennis Higgins, farmer; Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science,
State University of New York, Oneonta, retired: higgindm@gmail.com, 607-988-9647

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