NYPAN asserts that every person has a right to a clean and healthy environment, including pure water, clean air, and ecologically healthy habitats, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and aesthetic qualities of the environment.
We believe that the State’s public natural resources, among them its waters, air, plants, animals, climate, and public lands, are the common property of all the people, including both present and future generations. New York State’s government should serve as trustee of these resources, and conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all people.
Man-made climate change is a clear and present danger to the viability of human life on planet earth. NYPAN is committed to advocating for a science-based, democratic energy policy whereby New York State makes a rapid, equitable, and complete transition off of fossil fuels to combat climate change.
New York is currently not on track to meet its own stated climate goals under REV* and those climate goals, while laudable, we consider insufficient to combat the climate crisis. We call on New York State to take immediate and aggressive action to promote renewable heat, renewable transportation, a renewable electrical grid, and sustainable agricultural and industrial practices. In particular, we advocate for New York State to tackle its reliance on natural gas by codifying the fracking moratorium into state law and immediately accounting for leaked methane in its greenhouse gas inventory. Further, we call for a stop to all new natural gas infrastructure build-out including pipelines, compressors, storage facilities, and power plants and a massive investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage.
Climate change is a systemic problem that requires systemic solutions and as such is inseparable from systemic oppression, racial and economic inequality and environmental justice. We stand first and foremost with frontline and environmental justice communities who are bearing a disproportionate burden of the worst effects of fossil fuel extraction and combustion, from property taken by eminent domain, to contaminated air and water, to rising sea levels and extreme weather.
NYPAN endorses the principles for energy democracy as articulated by the New York Energy Democracy Alliance**. As such, we advocate for a just and participatory transition to a resilient, localized, and democratically controlled sustainable energy economy in New York State. We envision a renewable energy system that is led by and prioritizes solutions for low- and moderate-income communities and communities of color who are most impacted by our current energy and economic system.
- New York State should transition quickly and equitably to 100% clean, renewable, fossil-free, nuclear-free energy in order to address climate change, build resilient communities and create economic opportunities.
- The key pillars of our energy future should be energy efficiency, conservation, climate resilience, and public or community-owned or controlled renewable energy assets.
- The clean energy economy should eliminate environmental, racial and economic injustice and energy insecurity by targeting the benefits of state-funded energy efficiency and distributed renewable energy development to communities confronting those injustices.
- Every New Yorker should receive the health, economic, and environmental benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency, regardless of home-ownership status, location, race, wealth, or income.
- State energy policy should revolve around New Yorkers as energy savers, producers, educators, innovators, owners/investors and, most importantly, decision-makers, not just as “customers.”
- All institutions that make decisions for the public around energy or energy market development should create mechanisms to ensure widespread and meaningful participation in democratic decision-making, transparency, and public accountability.
- Public funding should prioritize high-quality job creation, with clear career pathways for local people often left out of economic opportunities, including people of color, youth, women, formerly incarcerated individuals, refugees, immigrants, veterans, long-term unemployed and members of frontline climate-vulnerable communities.
- State energy policy should support the growth and development of democratically controlled institutions such as municipal utilities and cooperative businesses to serve as anchors within their local communities.
* New York’s energy plan known as Reforming the Energy Vision or REV sets out specific goals to be met by 2030. The state is not on track to meet these goals in part because of its ever-expanding reliance on natural gas and lack of energy efficiency mandates such as those in Massachusetts.
**NYPAN is not currently a member of the New York Energy Democracy Alliance