New York State has taken some important steps to remedy the impacts on the local community and the climate of the state facilities on Sheridan Avenue in Albany, but they are failing to fully act in concert with our state’s climate goals. Simply put, New York State is continuing to use fossil fuels to heat, cool, and power the State Capitol and other state buildings in Albany. Given the climate crisis, and the state’s 2019 Climate Act, half measures are not enough – and several Capital District legislators agree with us!
We’re happy to report that on February 2nd, legislation was introduced by Albany State Senator Neil Breslin and Capital District Assemblymember John McDonald (with the support of Albany Assemblymember Pat Fahy) to make our vision of having state facilities run fully on renewables a reality. The bill (S8221, A9341), called the Renewable Capitol Act, requires that all operations that power, heat or cool the State Capitol, Empire State Plaza, the State Museum, the Alfred E. Smith Building, the State Education Building and two state buildings on Sheridan Avenue must be run on “renewable energy systems,” such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro. The construction work to renovate the existing state facilities must be designed through a planning process with significant public participation, including public hearings, and an advisory committee that must include representatives of environmental justice organizations and other groups representing the impacted community near the State Capitol. We believe that – if passed – the bill will positively impact on the health of area residents, many of which are low income and people of color, contribute to achieving the state’s climate goals, and encourage other state and local governments around the nation to run their facilities on renewables!
SHARE will be doing a number of activities in the coming weeks to mobilize community members and climate activists to push the Legislature and the Governor to pass this critical legislation.