Senator Kristen Gonzalez issued the following statement in response to the Executive Budget that affects New Yorks from Harlem to the Hudson.
Senator Kristen Gonzalez stated, “While I was pleased to see the expansion of New York Power Authority (NYPA) in Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget, her proposal falls far short of what the Building Public Renewables Act (BRPA) would do. The full BPRA would enable New York to create good union jobs, reduce out-of-control energy bills and transition our energy sector off fossil fuels.
The Governor’s proposal in its current form misses several opportunities to meet the moment in a way that our state needs. Her proposal lacks the depth of labor protections that the BPRA affords, does not require a democratization plan, and does not require a yearly review to align NYPA’s actions with the goals of the CLCPA. Furthermore, the Governor’s proposal sets the deadline to phase out natural gas peaker plants at 2035, whereas the BPRA phases them out by 2030. Those are five extra years that our state cannot afford to wait.
I was sent to Albany with a mandate to deliver on environmental justice. District 59 is home to “asthma alley” and two superfund sites. Up until recently, Astoria residents had to deal with the consequences of the NRG Peaker Power Plant. For decades, residents around Newtown creek lived with the fallout from one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history. Mere blocks from our district, our neighbors have been organizing against the North Brooklyn Pipeline. Our district knows the consequences of living with fossil fuel infrastructure far too well and is demanding a new way.
District 59 is also home to the country’s largest public housing developments. The BPRA would require NYPA to prioritize hiring NYCHA residents anytime work occurs in a public housing development. Provisions like these have a direct impact on the lives of my constituents and must be included.
The fact that any version of the BPRA is in this year’s Executive Budget is a testament to the organizing and coalition work that has been done so far. I look forward to working with the Governor, my colleagues in the Legislature, and the coalition partners to pass the full scope of the BPRA.”