For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Emily Pomilio (480) 286-0401, emily.pomilio@sierraclub.org, Lisa Dix (631) 235-4988, lisa.dix@sierraclub.org

Governor Cuomo Commits to Power Plant Pollution Protections New York Sets Example for Nation

Albany, N.Y. - The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released a draft pollution protection rule today that would place stringent emissions standards on existing power plants. Today’s action is a critical first step to ensure that the state reaches its goal to eliminate 40 percent of New York’s greenhouse gas emissions sector wide by 2030, while protecting New York’s air and water from outdated, dirty, and unnecessary power plants.

This rule creates a responsible framework to meet Governor Cuomo’s pledge to phase out coal entirely by 2020, while ensuring safe, reliable and affordable power. This safeguard also provides a critical backstop - preventing the state’s dirtiest power plants from coming back online once they have already been retired.

In response to the announcement, elected officials and organizations provided the following comments:

With this draft rule, the first of its kind in the nation, Governor Cuomo is leading the way by demonstrating to the country and the world that it is possible to curb climate pollution and protect public health while building a 21st century renewable energy economy,” Lisa Dix, New York Senior Representative for the Sierra Club said. “Limiting the most polluting power plants is key to making sure New York meets its goal of reducing climate pollution 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. It will also protect New York’s air, water and public health by eliminating some of the state’s largest polluters. The Sierra Club applauds Governor Cuomo and the DEC on today’s action and will continue to work with the Administration to ensure the plan is finalized by year end and coupled with a statewide framework that provides a glidepath for communities and workers impacted by this transition.”

"We have a duty to protect our planet and its bountiful natural resources here on Long Island and across our state,” State Senator Todd Kaminsky, Ranking Member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee said. "Our state needs to continue to put our environment first by limiting climate pollution and reducing global warming, once and for all."

"I commend the Governor on this important step toward reducing carbon emissions in New York which will cap carbon emissions from power plants and lead to the closure of the worst polluters," State Senator Liz Krueger said. "Now more than ever it is critical that states take the lead in addressing climate change, and today's announcement confirms that New York will continue to be a leader on this critical issue for our planet."

"Climate changing pollution threatens catastrophic damage to our planet and immediate harm to our communities — in Lower Manhattan, western Brooklyn, and across the state. We have enormous opportunities to change course in New York, sharply reduce carbon emissions, and invest in renewable energy sources,” State Senator Brian Kavanagh said. “Bottom line: coal is too expensive and too dirty for New York. Eliminating coal is a meaningful, long-overdue step forward.”

“This rule will allow New York to say goodbye forever to the dirty, dangerous coal plants that have wreaked havoc on our water, air, climate, and health,” Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) said. “CCE commends Governor Cuomo and the DEC for their national leadership in fighting climate change and for protecting the health of New Yorkers.”

“This is great news for New Yorkers’ health and our children’s future. As the Trump administration does everything in its power to roll back the progress our nation has made in combating climate change, states are fighting back,” Kit Kennedy, Senior Director of Climate & Clean Energy at the Natural Resources Defense Council said. “This announcement paves the way to continue building up the clean energy sources that provide critical economic engines across the state, without threatening our air, our water or our health in the process. As the state makes this transition, it will be critical to make sure it does so justly—with impacted communities and workers are at the forefront. We look forward to working with the state to make that happen.”

“Along with New York's commitments to renewable energy this rule helps ensure that we are transitioning off all fossil fuels by retiring the dirtiest and most inefficient plants in our state,” Irene Weiser, coordinator of Fossil Free Tompkins said. “As we’ve seen here in Tompkins County, big polluters will do all they can to keep outdated and inefficient plants open with no regard to our climate, water, and public health. DECs action today is an important step towards our goal of keeping all fossil fuels in the ground.”

“These emissions standards, coupled with other major initiatives to develop renewable energy and amplify markets through regulatory reform, show New York’s leadership in the fight against climate change,” Rory Christian, Director, New York Clean Energy at Environmental Defense Fund said. “Once in place, these standards will improve air quality throughout the state and help New Yorkers breathe easier.”

“We are thankful for the leadership of New York in climate justice. This new step by Governor Cuomo in reducing carbon emissions will advance our state’s progress toward meeting our climate goals, and will protect the health of all living near coal power plants,” Lynda Schneekloth, Advocacy Chair, Western New York Environmental Alliance (WNYEA) said. “We know it is possible to close dirty coal plants as we have done this in Western New York, and done it with support for replaced workers and communities negatively impacted by the closure.  We can move beyond coal into a cleaner, healthier and more just future.”

“We commend Governor Cuomo for taking this important step toward fulfilling his promise to phase out coal in New York by 2020. New Yorkers are eager to move away from all dirty energy sources and to adopt renewable energy replacements,” Jessica Azulay, Program Director, Alliance for a Green Economy said. “We are encouraged that this draft rule will simply regulate climate pollution from coal plants out of existence, and we look forward to seeing this rule finalized and the end of coal in New York.”

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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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