State lawmakers are making a push to expand cleaner and more renewable forms of energy in New York amid efforts to transition away from carbon-based fuels.
Some lawmakers want action now, and on Thursday pushed for a special session of the Legislature to approve a bill meant to require the New York Power Authority to only provide renewable forms of power to customers.
"As elected officials, we owe it to our constituents to do everything we can to combat this existential crisis," said Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas Our continued inaction will only perpetuate the injustices we were elected to address. Let’s act with the urgency that the climate crisis demands."
A special session at this point to address the issue seems unlikely. But the push to act on the measure, which Assembly lawmakers discussed in a Thursday hearing, comes as advocates have raised alarms over the changing climate.
The U.S. Supreme Court in a ruling last month essentially placed restrictions on federal environmental regulators' power to place restrictions on carbon emissions.
In New York, officials are required to reach clean energy benchmarks in the coming decades amid a transition away from carbon-based fuels. The law represents a sweeping change in how New Yorkers will power their homes, buildings and cars as well as receive energy.
Officials have also sought to emphasize the social benefits of clean energy. The Build Public Renewables Act, for instance, would require prevailing wages and project labor agreements.
And González-Rojas pointed to the effects of climate change on struggling communities.
"The climate crisis has been devastating our state for decades now, disproportionately affecting the lives of Black, Indigenous, other People of Color, low-income, and immigrant New Yorkers like those I represent in Queens," she said. "I see environmental injustice in my community every day."