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Climate Activists Rally Outside NY Governor's Mansion

Capital Region leaders held a rally over the weekend outside the governor's mansion in Albany, calling on Andrew Cuomo to act on climate change.  

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Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
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Rise for Climate - 100s of protests worldwide - Albany is one.

Dozens of people stood along Eagle Street on Saturday, calling on Andrew Cuomo to stop all fracking projects, make corporations pay for pollution and invest in clean energy.

Former Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith Enck, an on-air contributor at WAMC who is backing Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, told the gathering that real enduring leadership on climate change issues will not come from Washington, and not nearly enough is being done in Albany.   "Real climate leaders work for 100 percent renewable energy, real climate leaders provide economic opportunity for workers, ensuring a just transition away from fossil fuels, and real climate leaders divest public pension dollars from all fossil fuels."

Albany County Legislator Merton Simpson co-chairs SHARE, the Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy, which is among those calling on the governor to develop renewable energy alternatives to a proposed fracked gas generation plant in Sheridan Hollow.    "My sister-in-law and her husband died from cancer, we believe, as a direct result from the exposure to the burning of garbage at the ANSWERS plant, and their whole family who have cancer, who lived in like a four-block radius of the plant. And if you remember, it was closed, because from 79 Sheridan the soot landed on the front lawn of the snow of the governor's mansion, and that's what it took to close it. Now he wants to propose two 8-megawatt gas generators in that plant, which will burn 50 percent more gas with other toxic fumes. But what we want is the $88 million dollars that's dedicated for that to go renewable energy, particularly geothermal."

Bob Cohen with New York Renewed says the climate crisis is "immediate."   "Do we want the low and moderate income people who have been impacted by climate and pollution in New York to pay? [Crowd: "Noooo!"] That's right, I agree with you, so I say, we should od, the other alternative is, big corporations, particularly fossil fuel corporations, because they are the ones who have profited handsomely from this crisis."

Saturday's event was one of many climate rallies held worldwide ahead of a San Francisco summit set to begin Wednesday. 

The Cuomo campaign responded to a request for comment by email:   “Governor Cuomo has led the nation in combating climate change — from banning fracking to denying pipeline projects that harmed our natural resources to prohibiting all coal plants and enacting one of the most aggressive clean energy standards in the country. He is also spearheading the single largest procurement of renewable energy in our nation’s history, building one of the largest off shore wind projects in the nation, banning offshore drilling and leading the multi-state RGGI cap-and-trade coalition to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Now we’re fighting the environment’s biggest enemy—President Donald Trump and we will do everything in our power to ensure the Trump Administration doesn’t undo all the success we’ve achieved in New York. Advocates will advocate, but the governor will continue to lead the way in protecting our environment and creating a cleaner, greener New York for future generations.”

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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