Hey, Governor Cuomo: Remember Me?

When I tell people that we’re rising up to fight for climate justice, they’re all ears. But sometimes they seem surprised that we’re going after Governor Cuomo to be a real climate leader. I have to let them know that while the Governor talks a good game, his record tells a different story.

In fact, I’ve heard Governor Cuomo talk the talk up close and in person.

Back in May, we got word that the governor was holding a fundraiser in Midtown Manhattan. But this one was different; for a mere $50, I could join the other “beer and wine enthusiasts” at a craft beverage tasting.

So I forked over the cash to get in and placed myself directly in front of the governor while he delivered his remarks, making sure he’d notice my enthusiasm and grant me a one-on-one question.

And, as you can see for yourself, it worked!

Having Governor Cuomo say that he wasn’t going to allow any more fossil fuel power plants was a huge accomplishment – and, if true, would be a genuinely bold position for him to take. And, in the video we took of our interaction, he seems to know that he can’t have it both ways: Bold climate goals and fracked gas power plants just don’t go together.

Or at least that’s what he said. The fact is his administration has approved some of the fracked gas power plants being built right now. And his New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is shelling out millions of dollars to fund small-scale fracked gas power plants like the one proposed for Sheridan Hollow, an environmental justice neighborhood in downtown Albany.

Governor Cuomo’s words don’t matter as much as his actions. Our state has made negligible progress on clean energy during his tenure. After nearly eight years as governor, New York only produces 4 percent of its power from solar and wind. But there’s been a massive buildout of fossil fuel infrastructure, with pipelines and power plants polluting our air, ravaging our climate, and threatening water supplies.

This is why we’re rising in Manhattan on September 6, in Long Island and elsewhere across the state on September 8, and outside Governor Cuomo’s polling location in Mt. Kisco on September 13.

The climate activists who are pushing Governor Cuomo to reject dirty energy projects and move off fossil fuels have been showing up at his public events and fundraisers for months, so he knows that we are committed, relentless, and growing. That’s why 2,000 of us went to Albany to deliver that message in April, and we’ll be turning out across the state in September.

We’ve heard Governor Cuomo talk – now we want to see real action to protect our air, water, and climate.

Laura Shindell is an organizer with Food & Water Watch

Laura Shindell