Today, days before One-House budgets are expected to be announced, 100 organizations from upstate NY issued letters to Governor Hochul urging her support for an immediate gas ban in new buildings via her state budget.
Together, these groups represent members across the Albany, Rochester, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central Region, and Western Region of the state.
These groups join a mounting movement of organizations and New Yorkers statewide pushing for more rapid action from Albany to ban the use of fossil fuels in new buildings, beginning in 2024.
“New York City was only the beginning,” said Food & Water Watch Northeast Region Director Alex Beauchamp. “Governor Hochul has the groundswell of support from all corners of the state to make New York the first state in the nation with an immediate ban on gas in new buildings — she must commit to making it happen.”
The All-Electric Buildings Act introduced by Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblymember Emily Gallagher (S6843B/A8431), would institute a ban on fossil fuel use in new buildings by the end of 2023.
An immediate gas ban in new construction would promote good green jobs and reduce local air pollution while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change.
In light of the worsening climate crisis driving extreme weather events across the state, groups are urging the incorporation of the more rapid timeline in the state budget.
“In the Capital District, local groups have developed a sustainable roadmap for local officials which includes decarbonizing buildings as quickly as possible and moving to air and ground heat pumps. A critical measure is to amend state and local building codes to require an immediate ban on gas in new buildings, something that the state’s draft Climate Action Plan recognizes. The IPPC has once again sounded the alarm that governments are moving far too slow to halt emissions, making passage of this law essential in the struggle to provide a livable future,” said Mark Dunlea, coordinator of PAUSE (People of Albany United for Safe Energy), the 350.org affiliate in the Capital District.
“We cannot expect our utilities to stop expanding fracked gas infrastructure of their own free will. Their bottom line is profits, not affordability, health, and safety for ratepayers,” said Courtney Williams of Westchester County-based Safe Energy Rights Group. “Westchester has already seen the panic poor planning causes when Con Edison issued their moratorium on new gas hookups in 2019. Despite the chaos it caused, the moratorium did nothing to slow construction because renewable heating and cooling was ready for the job. Let’s make it official and stop leaving our future in the hands of utilities focused on profits. Pass the All-Electric Buildings Act and we can take renewable heating and cooling statewide.”