Albany, NY – Activists and stakeholders statewide provided testimony in support of the Climate Community and Investment Act (CCIA) before the New York State Senate Environmental Conservation and Energy and Telecommunications standing committees. A corporate polluters bill, the CCIA would raise $15 billion a year to help communities that are on the front lines of the climate crisis, fund a just transition to clean, renewable energy, and create tens of thousands of quality, good-paying jobs.

Rooted in environmental justice, the CCIA holds corporate polluters accountable for decades of environmental racism. Black, brown and low-income communities have been the dumping ground for toxic waste and facilities that threaten their health and well-being, oftentimes with little to no input from the community.

The hearing comes following a statewide week of action held by New York Renews, NY Indivisible and the New York Working Families Party in support of the CCIA and the federal THRIVE agenda. Over 600 people participated in a Town Hall with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and NYS Senator Michael Gianaris, and over 50 legislative visits were made to stress the CCIA’s importance, showing growing support for climate action in New York.

“Long Island is on the frontline of climate change. Our region demands a just transition off of fossil fuels. We began that with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Now it’s time to fund our climate and equity mandates with the Climate and Community Investment Act. It’s time to make polluters pay and invest in communities most harmed by the climate crisis. This bill is ready to pass and we are ready to ensure its successful implementation,” said Ryan Madden, Sustainability Organizer, Long Island Progressive Coalition. 

“Two years ago, New York made history by passing the most ambitious climate law in the nation, and now stands as a national blueprint for making the economy-wide shift to renewable energy in an equitable way. But what we don’t have yet is a plan for paying for this transition. Simply put, the CCIA is an investment strategy that takes the necessary next step toward achieving the emissions reduction goals established by the CLCPA while centering disadvantaged communities,” said Rachel Patterson, Legislative & Climate Associate for Environmental Advocates NY.

“New York must put the health of our communities ahead of polluters’ profits and the outdated dependency on fossil fuels. Environmental justice communities in NYC deal with disproportionate environmental burdens and pollution, now compounded by climate change vulnerabilities. Frontline communities must play an integral role in planning and creating the new equitable clean renewable energy economy we need. The Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA) would fund and catalyze this vision for climate and equity, as we collectively work to meet the goals we set in the CLCPA,” said Annel Hernandez, Associate Director, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. 

“The Climate and Community Investment Act represents the kind of equitable and inclusive policies needed to build an economy that works for everyone. In Buffalo, we know firsthand that climate justice reverberates in the work that is necessary to achieve racial, economic, and public health justice for our communities. Today and every day we will continue to fight for the hardworking people in New York State who deserve this justice too,” said Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Executive Director of PUSH Buffalo. 

“Through the years corporate polluters offloaded the real cost of their actions onto workers and communities, billions and billions of dollars per year in worker health and safety issues, poor health outcomes, early deaths, and climate disasters. It’s time for them to pay up.  The Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA) would create the gold standard for national climate justice policy by raising 15 billions of dollars that will be reinvested back into communities that have bare the brunt of pollution and create over 150,000 career jobs while building a renewable economy for New York State,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell Executive Director of ALIGN. 

“The CCIA allows New York to fulfill its promise to reduce carbon emissions and transition to clean energy, while holding corporate polluters accountable for making Black, Brown and low-income communities hazardous and unhealthy for decades. Environmental justice is racial justice — we can build back better by passing the CCIA, which will open up job opportunities for New Yorkers and prioritizes communities that are suffering the worst behind climate change,” said Ivette Alfonso, President of Citizen Action of New York.