Environment: CLIMATE JUSTICE CANNOT WAIT

  • Expand and enforce the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act

  • Strengthen the Department of Environmental Conservation

  • Improve water quality standards. Stop dumping raw sewage!

  • No new fossil fuel pipelines

In 1867, one of the world’s first modern oil refineries opened on the banks of Newtown Creek in Greenpoint. More than a century and a half later, North Brooklyn is suffering the consequences of climate change and industrial pollution wrought by our fossil fuel economy. 

We have urgent local needs. North Brooklyn, like much of NYC, is served by Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO). That means both sewage and stormwater head to the same treatment plants. When it rains, the system can overflow and untreated sewage gets dumped directly into our fragile waterways. For example, each year over 1.2 billion gallons of CSO are discharged into Newtown Creek, the tributary that forms the border between Greenpoint and Long Island City. New York State recently signed off on a plan to tackle this disaster–except it would only reduce sewage dumping by 61%. They could have selected a plan for 100% reduction. But they were cheap and shortsighted. 

North Brooklyn also faces a wider crisis. The science is clear: we have a decade to transform our energy system or face catastrophe. It’s that dire. Working people and waterfront communities will bear the brunt. 

But climate change also presents a unique opportunity. The public investment and planning that it will require to transition to a carbon-free economy can also create tens of millions of high-paying union jobs. We may have just passed an ambitious climate change law but we need representatives who will chase it, clarify it, expand it, and make sure the goals are being met. And crucially, it must prioritize the needs of working people. 

This doesn’t just mean unprecedented investments in green energy jobs that must include higher wages, secure benefits and the rights to collectively bargain. It also means investing and valuing in low-carbon jobs like teaching and care work. By dramatically raising standards in these industries, we can make them more attractive options for young people entering the workforce. A green transition also means massive investments in public transportation and green housing construction. 

This is the fight of our lives and I’ll be on the front lines.

Strengthen the Department of Environmental Conservation.

  • States are the main enforcers of environmental protection laws. And New York’s agency has been sorely underfunded for decades.
  • The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) lacks the enforcement capacity it needs to keep our water and air healthy and safe. 
  • We need massive new investments in the DEC for more enforcement officers, stricter mandates, an improved website, and more open, transparent and engaged communication with impacted communities. 

Expand and enforce the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

  • In 2019, New York passed a historic climate change law that sets us on a path to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. While this is slower than scientists warn is necessary, it was an important achievement. Now we need to make it a reality.
  • Many of the important economic justice provisions were stripped from the final bill. I’ll fight to have them restored. 
  • I’ll fight for an immediate, billion dollar investment in green energy jobs with strict requirements for high wages, benefits and the right to form a union. 
  • Increased funding for education and care work is also central to a just transition to a low-carbon economy.

Update our clean water standards. Stop dumping sewage in our rivers.

  • New York State and the EPA are responsible for protecting our waters. But the state relies on dangerously outdated standards that don’t meet federal guidelines. We need aggressive action. 
  • As little as 1/10th inch of rain can trigger sewage dumping into our precious Newtown Creek. 
  • According to Riverkeeper, “Bacterial pollution from untreated sewage can lead to intestinal illnesses, rashes, and infections, and excess nitrogen fuels algae blooms and low-oxygen dead zones in Long Island Sound.”
  • Meanwhile, the state recently approved a plan to reduce sewage dumping in Newtown Creek by only 61%. It’s not good enough.
  • I’ll work to mobilize all available state resources and oversight capacities to push us toward a total 100% reduction in sewage dumping and update water quality standards to the highest in the country.

Oppose new fossil fuel pipelines.

  • With catastrophic climate change looming, it’s dangerous and counterproductive to invest in new fossil fuel infrastructure. 
  • But that hasn’t stopped National Grid, the gas utility that recently shut off service to thousands of Brooklynites in an effort to extort approval for a new pipeline.
  • National Grid is now expanding a dangerous fracked gas pipeline in Greenpoint.
  • This project is at odds with our renewable energy goals, encourages further “natural” gas fracking, and is motivated by a desire to charge ratepayers more to pad National Grid’s profits.
  • The state can exert significant control over utilities. We must use our powers to reign in National Grid’s bullying and destructive practices.