In Buffalo, Schneiderman promotes clean energy campaign

In Buffalo, Schneiderman promotes clean energy campaign

In Buffalo, Schneiderman promotes clean energy campaign
April 21, 2016

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman visited a Buffalo library Thursday to lend his voice to the ongoing fight for social and economic justice.

Schneiderman told a crowd of activists, politicians and citizens that the policy and legal changes aimed at benefitting communities by creating quality jobs while also reducing carbon emissions and other forms of pollution cannot wait.

“The movement is growing. The movement is building,” Schneiderman said. “You are the ones building the movement.”

Schneiderman outlined some of his office’s green-friendly initiatives, including an effort to coordinate with other attorneys general around the nation to pressure fossil fuel companies into complying with tougher clean energy goals. One strategy he cited was bringing legal complaints on grounds other than pollution, like fraud or showing companies have not been truthful with investors about the effects that a changing global temperature will have on their ability to deliver their product.

In addition, Schneiderman has lent his support to the NY Renews initiative, a statewide coalition of environmental activists, business groups, community groups and labor leaders pushing to codify renewable energy goals outlined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would cut in half the state’s energy coming from renewable sources by 2030. Cuomo has issued an executive order compelling the state Public Service Commission to enforce those standards, but the coalition is seeking to gain the approval of the state Legislature to make enforcement stronger and more permanent.

While Schneiderman has not provided legal assistance to the group, he has publicly offered his support for the initiative, along with state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

“We have to unite the campaign to deal with the crisis of climate change with a campaign to deal with economic inequality,” Schneiderman said. “The two have to go hand in hand if we are going to save the planet and if we’re going to be the country we’re supposed to be.”

As the NY Renews campaign gears up for its big push to get the Legislature to act, the package of legislation is nearing completion.

Clarke Gocker, the director of policy and initiatives for PUSH Buffalo, a coalition member, said that once the legislation is drafted it will be distributed to lawmakers and the push to get it passed before lawmakers recess for the year in June will begin. The various groups have rallies at the state Capitol planned and have already been working locally to promote their goals of using opportunities in clean energy fields to create quality jobs and other benefits for the neighborhoods most in need of a boost.

“We’re really hopeful that over the next two weeks we’ll be in a position to have a bill that we’ll be calling on the state legislators to sponsor,” Gocker said.

Justin Sondel
is a freelance reporter in Buffalo.