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Hudson Valley Reps Fail to Address the Climate Crisis in the Wake of Tropical Storm Ida
It is impossible to ignore the impacts the climate emergency is having here in NY. Record rainfall, catastrophic flooding across the state from Albany to the Hudson Valley to NYC, power outages, and wildfire smoke, are all reminders that this emergency is not a far off possibility but the here and now. Yet, looking at public responses from representatives at the state and federal level here in NY, you could be mistaken that this was just another storm. In the year 2021, a failure to connect events like Ida, which left over 40 dead in the Northeast to the climate emergency is tantamount to climate denialism, and it is our estimation that representatives Sean Patrick Maloney, James Skoufis, Michelle Hinchey, Kevin Cahill, Jonathan Jacobson, Didi Barrett and Aileen Gunther are at best ignoring the our climate reality , and at worst capitulating to the fossil fuel industry and utility companies by not correlating these storms to the climate emergency.
In recent tweets, Senator James Skoufis thanked first responders and federal representatives for securing aid, but did not mention climate change once in acknowledging the fallout from tropical storm Ida. This comes after a 2021 legislative session where he failed to cosponsor any of the major climate bills before the legislature including the NY Build Public Renewables act and Clean Futures Act:
Representatives Michelle Hinchey and Kevin Cahill haven’t done the minimum of referring to tropical storm Ida via their socials. Neither cosponsored the NY Build Public Renewables Act, which would allow the New York Power Authority to own or operate more than six publicly-owned renewable generation facilities that are of utility scale—an essential step we need to take to get us off fossil fuel. neither put up the fight needed in Albany for the bills they did co-sponsor: the Clean Futures Act and the Climate and Community Investment Act.
Representative Sean Patrick Maloney didn’t mention climate change once in numerous tweets during and after the storm. Even more telling is the lack of climate language in the joint letter to President Biden calling on him to authorize Governor Hochul’s emergency declaration. As the chair of the DCCC this is unacceptable. Representative Maloney has a duty to communicate climate as an issue both to his constituents and to national leadership, especially during a crisis like Ida and in the context of congressional negotiations over the federal infrastructure package. There can be no justice for lives lost or preparedness for the next emergency without elected leadership recognizing the climate crisis as the underlying cause of this disaster. Mid Hudson Valley DSA calls on representative Maloney to support Congressman Jamaal Bowman’s Green New Deal for Public Schools
Senate and Assembly leaders claim to be environmentalists concerned about the climate crisis but a report compiled by the NYC-DSA Ecosocialist Working Group shows their true colors. When action would have mattered most, fossil fuel interests and corporate polluters bought off Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Heastie, Assembly Corporations Chair Amy Paulin, Assembly Energy Chair Michael Cusick, and Senate Energy Chair Kevin Parker with over half a million dollars in campaign donations.
This is not what leadership should look like. These representatives have a responsibility to their constituents, the state of NY, and the nation to use the powers of their respective offices to fight for and pass policies that will help defend against and mitigate/alleviate the worst impacts of the climate emergency. It is clear from the public comments (or lack thereof) from these representatives that they either do not care or do not take seriously the prevailing issue of our time. When the climate is undeniably changing for the worse, we should demand better from those elected to lead us forward.