Sierra Club Applauds New York Governor Cuomo’s Coal Phase Out Commitment

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Yesterday, at the annual State of the State address, Governor Cuomo committed to a full phase out of New York’s coal-fired power fleet by 2020 while doubling down on his promise to rapidly usher in a new energy economy fuelled by renewable energy. Governor Cuomo has raised the bar coming out of Paris for the 200 countries committing to solve the climate crisis. The Governor’s coal phase out commitment follows on, and is more bold, than the recent coal phase outs announced by the United Kingdom and Alberta, Canada.

This historic step comes as the Governor reaffirmed his pledge to reduce climate pollution 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, and cemented his mandate that 50 percent of New York’s electric energy will be sourced by renewables by 2030. In a suite of groundbreaking climate commitments the Governor pledged to add 150,000 solar panels and 300 wind turbines and convert the SUNY campuses to renewable by 2020.He also committed an historic $300 million to bolster the proven track record of the Environmental Protection Fund.

In the year since he banned fracking, the Governor has become a national leader on climate protection through renewable energy programs such as the Reforming Energy Vision (REV), the Clean Energy Fund and the recently announced Clean Energy Standard, which will be finalized in July.  An increased investment in renewable energy, including offshore wind, will provide jobs, new manufacturing and increase economic development while protecting our communities from dangerous climate pollution.

The Sierra Club, along with numerous allies have been working in communities large and small across the state for over three years in order to build a truly renewable energy future for the state. With his commitment to end coal-fired power the Governor caps a year of incredible conservation and environmental efforts that will change the shape of New York’s economy and the region for years to come.

In response, Lisa Dix, New York Senior Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign issued the following statement:

“Governor Cuomo has enshrined himself as an international climate leader with today’s commitment to phase out all coal in the state by 2020. This measure, coupled with a transition plan for coal affected communities, will both protect the health of New Yorkers and the climate while finally putting an end to coal’s dirty legacy in the Empire State.

Today, Governor Cuomo has shifted New York’s focus from the energy of the past to the energy of the future. We look forward to working with the Administration toward a just and fair transition policy framework for coal affected communities and to support the Governor’s legacy climate and energy programs. His commitment to end coal, and invest in New York communities and jobs will build New York into an economic powerhouse, and an international leader, fueled by renewable energy.”