State Sen. Jen Metzger has put forward a bill 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. Nily Rozic is the Assembly co-sponsor.
“The urgency of climate change requires a rapid transition to clean energy,” said Metzger during a press conference. “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.”
The Rosendale Democrat’s bill would require the State Energy Planning Board to develop a master plan for achieving fossil-fuel-free energy by 2030 if possible, and no later than 2040.
“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 state Sen. Pete Harckham, a co-sponsor. “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.”
“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,” said New Paltz Village Mayor Tim Rogers.
Scenic Hudson public policy director Andy Bicking said the bill provided a framework for incorporating land-use planning into a statewide strategy. It proposes expanding the number of regional councils to nine, helping incorporate measures specific to each region into the state energy plan. It also expands the makeup of the state’s energy planning board to include more interest groups.
“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.
Kathleen Nolan of the Concerned Health Professionals of New York and an Ulster County legislator, also spoke.
Metzger was optimistic. “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,” she concluded.
Metzger represents the 42nd State Senate District, which includes Sullivan County and parts of Delaware, Orange and Ulster counties. She chairs the agriculture committee and sits on a committee dealing with health and energy issues.