Climate Action, Fair Economic Development Expected in Cuomo’s 2014 Agenda
Statement from Executive Director Peter Iwanowicz, Environmental Advocates NY
“Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address will set the tone for what will and won’t be a priority for our government in 2014. Through his first term, he has made storm recovery and economic development the centerpieces of his agenda. In the year ahead Governor Cuomo should tackle two issues hindering success on both fronts: the need for climate action and a fair, social justice-driven revitalization plan through reform of the state’s Brownfields Cleanup Program.
Governor Cuomo committed to reducing power plant carbon-altering emissions at this time last year and he delivered – he should not stop now. This year the public wants to hear the next step of his carbon reduction plan, beyond just power plants. In his address the Governor has the chance to describe a vision for setting New York on the path out of a fossil fuel past and towards a clean and healthy energy future.
No issue has garnered as great a focus from the Cuomo Administration than economic development. Yet, across-the-board, his efforts are hampered because of the state’s off-target and out-of-control Brownfields program. The state has cut checks in excess of $1.1 billion to clean up just 131 sites. Meanwhile, the very communities that need public development – particularly those Upstate, those majority-minority, or those with high unemployment – have been boxed out. Governor Cuomo inherited these problems, and with the program slated for sunset in 2015, he can lift the state’s entire economic development plan by reforming the brownfields program.
We’re all at risk that the Legislature’s inability to pass an agenda that works for all New Yorkers in 2013 could happen again. Governor Cuomo can break the logjam by presenting a forward-looking vision for climate action and brownfields reform.