(Binghamton, NY) The Green Party candidates for Comptroller and Governor came to Binghamton today to call for increased action on climate change which they say is the path to full employment.
Mark Dunlea, the Green candidate for State Comptroller, said that the refusal of the current Comptroller to divest the state pension funds from fossil fuels is the main focus of his candidacy. For the last five years Dunlea has helped coordinate the NYC and state campaigns for 350.org to divest public pension funds from fossil fuels. NYC announced earlier this year that they would divest.
Hawkins and the Green Party campaigned 8 years ago to ban the fracking of natural gas in New York State, saying it was bad for the climate and for the local economy. Methane from natural gas is more than 80 times more potent short term as a greenhouse gas than carbon is.
“We are glad that grassroots opposition in the Southern Tier and elsewhere forced the Governor to agree to ban fracking. The Greens’ 5% of the vote in the general election in 2014 meant Cuomo could not ignore the movement’s demand for a fracking ban and take its votes for granted. Unfortunately, Cuomo continues to allow the state to be flooded with imported fracked gas from Pennsylvania. He even wants to spend $88 million to power the State Capitol complex with fracked gas instead of using renewable energy such as geothermal or solar. NY lags far behind other states in moving us to 100% clean energy,” stated Hawkins.
New York only gets 4% of its state electricity from renewable energy. Hawkins and Dunlea both support legislation to require New York to move to 100% clean energy by 2030. A study done by Cornell and Stanford professors shows that such a transition would result in “4.5 million jobs created during construction and 58,000 permanent annual jobs thereafter for the energy facilities,” which equates to about 300,000 40-year jobs.
In 2017, nearly 1 million Americans were working near- or full-time in the energy efficiency, solar, wind, and alternative vehicles sectors. This is almost five times the current employment in the fossil fuel electric industry, which includes coal, gas, and oil workers.
Dunlea also said that New York needs a comptroller who will be more aggressive in addressing the epidemic of political corruption in New York State. He said that as Comptroller he would investigate state contracts which were awarded to campaign contributions, otherwise known as pay-to-play. Cuomo got the state legislature to take away the power of the Comptroller to review certain state contracts just before he began awarding the Buffalo Billion contracts to campaign donors. Cuomo administration officials are now on trial in NYC for allegedly rigging the bidding process.
Dunlea said he would not take any campaign donations from individuals who have contracts with the state government and called on DiNapoli and other comptroller candidates to do the same. Green Party candidates are already prevented by party rules from taking any corporate donations.
Hawkins said that the drive for 100% clean energy was the centerpiece of the Green Party’s Green New Deal to revitalize New York’s public sector in health, education, mass transit, housing, banking, broadband, and road, sewer, and water infrastructure.
“We want public investment directly into the public services and infrastructure of our communities to rebuild the economy from the bottom up. It’s the Green alternative to the corrupt pay-to-play contracts, subsidies, and tax breaks to companies that donate to the Cuomo campaign. This corporate welfare goes to the top 1% and doesn’t trickle down to the rest of us, the 99%,” Hawkins said.