New York State’s just-approved budget includes exciting news for Albany residents fighting a fracked gas power plant that was proposed for a low-income neighborhood dealing with decades of environmental injustice.
A reversal of Governor Cuomo’s fracked gas plan
The new budget agreement reverses previous plans by Governor Cuomo’s administration to heat and power the state’s capitol building complex with fracked gas. Instead, the budget commits the state to using renewable energy “to the extent possible.” This revised budget language is an important milestone in a campaign led by the Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy (SHARE).
In 2017, the state unveiled the Empire State Plaza Microgrid Project, which called for a gas-fired power plant in Albany’s Sheridan Hollow neighborhood. That facility would be built on the site of a former garbage incinerator that had polluted the community for decades. Local residents came out strongly against the plan, arguing that a neighborhood forced to deal with years of pollution should not be forced to do so all over again.
Official calls to eliminate the poison of fossil fuels
Albany County legislator Merton D. Simpson, who lives near the site and is the co-chair of SHARE, put it succinctly:
"We do not want to be poisoned more slowly, we want to eliminate the poison. We don't need a slightly more efficient horse and buggy, we want to join the rest of the major countries in the world and have genuine sustainable energy use and eliminate obsolete fossil fuels."
In opposing the fracked gas plant, SHARE called on Cuomo to pursue renewable options that would be more affordable and would not harm public health. When news of the budget deal broke, SHARE expressed support for the shift, saying that it “would be consistent with the state’s goals of combating climate change and offer the greatest opportunity to protect a community that has suffered the health effects of pollution for decades.”
The fight to eradicate fracking's chain of influence continues
Of course, the fight is not over. The new language appears to give the state some wiggle room to argue that a fossil fuel plant would be advantageous. But the powerful SHARE coalition, which includes Food & Water Watch and other state and local groups, will continue to build the movement for a clean energy future for Albany. Sign this petition to tell Governor Cuomo to put a stop to fracking infrastructure in New York.