October 7, 2021, 43 elected officials issued a letter to Governor Hochul, demanding that she stop the Gowanus fracked gas plant repowering proposal in Sunset Park. Officials at all levels of New York government signed onto the letter urging Governor Hochul to stop the fossil fuel project, including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, New York State Senators and Assemblymembers, and New York City Council Members.
At a press conference elected officials stood with environmental advocates from Food & Water Watch, New York Communities for Change, New York Youth Climate Leaders and 350 Brooklyn in highlighting the threats the repowering project poses to the climate, environmental justice and public health.
Encouraged by the state’s decision to reject the permits for the Williams NESE fracked gas pipeline, letter signatories made clear the need to disallow the construction of new fossil fuel power plants in the state to keep with mandated emissions reductions targets as outlined in the Community Leadership & Community Protection Act.
“Additional energy fueled by fossil sources does not comply with our stated state agenda for the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act,” said Assemblymember Harvey Epstein. “We must act now and shut down fracked gas at Gowanus and around our state. We must advance renewable energy sources and this plant does not support those goals.”
The project would bring more fossil fuels onto the grid in New York at a time when the state is working to drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and it would do so while endangering public health in an already overburdened environmental justice community.
“More fossil fuel infrastructure is the opposite of what our community needs for a healthier and more sustainable future,” said Councilmember Brad Lander. “New York’s ambitious and essential climate goals require that we make the shift now, not later, to fully renewable green energy. Rejecting the Gowanus gas plant extension and all other new fossil fuel infrastructure is a necessary step towards those goals.”
“Since taking office, the Borough president has been committed to building a more equitable energy plan,” said Jeff Lowell, Policy Director for Borough President Eric Adams. “Our city has goals to reduce emissions, and the Gowanus repowering project is a step in the wrong direction. This is our opportunity to commit to a greener New York. Our borough’s health and wellness requires a better, more equitable approach. It’s time for us to live up to our environmental goals, and time to put action behind our words.”
“The possibility of a new fracked gas plant in Gowanus will only interfere with our State’s goals set by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, while steering us away from equitably addressing the effects of climate change. It is fundamentally important to consider this at a time when our frontline working-class communities like Gowanus and Sunset Park are still recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Ida and decades of intentional environmental injustices,” said Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes. “Our priorities should be to continue to push to end the dependency on fossil fuels and, instead, invest in renewable energy that is clean, affordable, and accessible to all New Yorkers regardless of income or zip code. We should not return to forcing our frontline working-class communities to deal with the most immediate impacts of climate change on their own.”
“The Gowanus fracked gas plant repowering proposal flies in the face of the goals of Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. If New York is going to live up to its stated goals of reducing emissions by 85% by 2040, we must only invest in renewable energy generation. Governor Hochul should seize this opportunity and reject this proposal and all new fracked gas proposals in New York; that would be real climate leadership,” said Assemblymember Robert Carroll.
“The time to end investments in fossil fuel infrastructure has long since passed. Our society absolutely should not spend another dime on extending the use of antiquated technology that pollutes our communities and accelerates climate change,” said Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz. “This money needs to be instead focused on renewable and clean energy sources, and I am proud to stand with Food & Water Watch and allies to oppose the investment of new money in the Gowanus fracked gas plant.”
“Hurricane Ida flooded the basement I live in and destroyed my belongings. I’m just lucky I got out alive,” said Luis, member of New York Communities for Change and resident of Sunset Park. “I hope Governor Hochul thinks of me and so many others affected by climate change, and rejects the permits for the proposed Gowanus fracked gas plant in my neighborhood.” (Translated from Spanish)