Climate Activists Demand More From State Lawmakers Following EPA Supreme Court Ruling – Waging Nonviolence

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On the last day of a consecutive mandate, the Supreme Court has destroyed the federal government’s ability to fight climate change. Hours later, a crowd of New York climate activists gathered in Manhattan’s Foley Square to denounce the June 30 court ruling — and shine a light on state lawmakers’ inaction on a set long-awaited climate laws.

“They really need to keep passing these important bills if we’re going to have any chance of trying to lead the country to save the planet,” said Andrew Engel, an activist with the New York chapter of the Sunrise Movement, who was one of the many groups present at the rally.

In its 6-3 decision on West Virginia vs. EPA, the Supreme Court has severely limited the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, making national and local climate policies more important than ever. Yet activists across the country say federal and local officials aren’t doing enough, even in states generally considered more climate-friendly.

In California this week, climate activists set up tables and chairs before the state’s natural resources agency to accuse Gov. Gavin Newsom of “sitting at his desk” while ignoring dozens of leaking oil and gas wells in the state. Last Monday, a group of 14 climate protesters were arrested in the Washington, DC area after closing a highway to demand that President Biden declare a climate emergency.

And in Boston, climate activists Extinction Rebellion and performance troupe Red Rebel Brigade staged a die-in for climate action to protest the Supreme Court’s decision and demand that Massachusetts ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, activists celebrated the General Assembly’s inclusion of a record $125 million in the state budget to fund home repairs and weatherization against the climate crisis. It’s the first program of its kind in the nation, and it comes after months of planning, including the installation of a climate clock at the State Capitol complex last month.

Last week, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who has touted the state as a climate leader, signed into law a series of bills aimed at reducing carbon emissions and spurring development. clean energies.

“New York is once again in the familiar, but unwelcome, position of stepping in after the Supreme Court struck a blow to our basic protections. But as always, New York stands ready,” Hochul said in a statement to the following the decision, in which she highlighted the state’s commitment to reduce gas emissions by 85% by 2050.

“We will strengthen our national efforts to address the climate crisis, redouble our efforts with sister states, build new clean energy projects in every corner of the state, and fight pollution that harms health. many New Yorkers,” she said.

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Although they welcomed the legislation, Public Power NY activists called the efforts “gaslighting at its finest” in light of the administration’s continued refusal to sign more comprehensive climate legislation.

“The bills she signed into law are very low impact bills, so it seems very dishonest,” said Engel, who instead called on the state legislature to take action on the law on the construction of public renewable energies, which would allow the New York Power Authority to develop. publicly funded renewable infrastructure.

In light of the Supreme Court ruling, activists have called on Speaker Carl Heastie to call a special session of the state assembly by August 3 to vote on the bill – which has already passed in State Senate – as well as the All-Electric Buildings Act and the Clean Futures Act, which would move New York to a carbon-free energy grid.

“What really motivates us is that none of us see this as an impossible thing to do in New York,” Engel said. “Renewable energy is a popular thing that people want to see happen.”