Albany, NY – Today, people from across the Capital Region, including local elected officials, gathered at West Capitol Park for a rally and conference calling for passage of the Climate and Community Investment Act. After the rally, activists marched to the Governor’s Mansion and staged a die-in. Similar climate actions took place in New York City and Rochester as part of a statewide effort led by New York Renews, a coalition of nearly 300 groups supporting the CCIA.

State leaders failed to pass the bill last session, but given the growing dangers of climate change, passing this bill must be a top priority when they reconvene in January 2022. The CCIA is a climate justice bill that taxes corporations for polluting our communities, creates good-paying green jobs, and invests in communities that are impacted first and worst by climate change.

Across the state, we saw the same frontline communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 get hit first and worst by Hurricane Ida. There’s nothing shocking about this anymore, and that’s the problem. We’ve entered a new epoch in our toxic status quo which is stacked against Indigenous, Black, Brown, Asian, and poor white folk. These crises are interlinked, so our solutions must also be intersectional.

We must transform our energy economy, invest in communities most harmed by the climate crisis, and ensure the fair and equitable distribution of our shared resources. Those closest to the crisis must be the ones driving the solutions. Our communities shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of runaway pollution, created by corporations’ predatory profiteering. All families deserve clean air, clean water, safe homes, and freedom from the fear of extreme weather or environmental conditions pushing them out of their homes and communities.

We also need a strong scoping plan for the implementation of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) of 2019, which is being crafted by the Climate Action Council to serve as the roadmap for the law’s implementation. The plan must reduce gas emissions and co-pollutants across all industries, prohibit the use of false solutions that are supported by the fossil fuel industry, and respect Indigenous sovereignty, among other guiding principles supported by frontline communities and climate activists.

“We need to pass bills like the Public Power bills in the New York State Legislature! Climate change is already here. It’s being felt all around the world and New York is no different,” said Brian Sempala-Kimuli with Public Power NY.  “Storms grow more violent as the years pass and we see more and more people losing their lives, because our infrastructure cannot accommodate every resident during extreme weather emergencies. This is a defining moment in history and we must make sure we are turning the tide in our favor against climate change by taking bold actions that meet the scale of the crises facing our communities.”

“Our infrastructure and our environments need repair, and so do we as a community,” said Alycia Bacon of Mothers Out Front. “We can address our painful past by embracing our future and preparing for tomorrow with hope and resilience.”

“For far too long, environmental atrocities and racism have been committed against marginalized communities under the guise of the ‘free economy.’ Corporations that pollute our air and drinking water make billions of dollars by trading in our health for their profits,” said Maia Boswell-Penc from Green Faith and Capital Region Interfaith Creation Care Coalition. “Meanwhile, everyday people who suffer the most from environmental damage are also left to pick up the pieces themselves. State leaders took bold action by passing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019 and should waste no time funding it.”

“We care about our communities, the environment, and our health, and we want to make change. We need to stop putting the blame on individuals to change the climate — the blame lies on fossil fuel corporations that put money into our system to stop laws like the CCIA from getting passed,” said Sam Fein, Albany County Legislator. “It’s time we hold them accountable. The CCIA will tax these polluters and invest in clean energy, green jobs, transit, and housing. We call on the state legislature to pass the CCIA and make real change on this pressing issue.”