ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Wednesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul and nine other governors wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urging bold climate action. They want the legislators to push through the bipartisan infrastructure deal and a bold reconciliation bill to tackle the crisis.

The governors—from states on the front line of the climate crisis—urged Congress to prioritize key elements of Pres. Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better Agenda” with the greatest climate impact. They like programs supporting a carbon-free grid, an electrified transportation system, and investments in climate resilience:

  • A clean electricity performance program, expansion of tax credits for clean energy generation and storage, and funding for new and upgraded electricity transmission
  • Tax credits for manufacturing zero-emission vehicles; incentives for consumers, especially low-income consumers, to purchase zero-emission vehicles; funding for zero-emission infrastructure; and elimination of statutory obstacles to charging on federal rights of way
  • Methane emissions reduction through funding to plug orphan wells and adopt a methane polluter fee for the venting or burning of excess methane
  • Investment in climate-smart agriculture and forest management programs for farmers and rural communities
  • Investment in climate resilience protections for communities and transportation infrastructure from the impacts of climate change, as well as robust funding for a new civilian climate corps
  • New consumer rebates and incentives for clean building, home electrification, and weatherization
  • Establish an clean energy and sustainability accelerator to mobilize private investment into distributed energy resources; retrofits of residential, commercial, and municipal buildings; and clean transportation

The governors also want at least 40% of the benefits of those climate and clean infrastructure investments from those legislative packages to go to rural and disadvantaged communities. Those communities generally feel the greatest negative impacts of a market-based transition to clean energy.

On Thursday, Gov. Hochul took questions from the press in Queens, after providing an update on storm recovery efforts. She said that so many catastrophic weather and flooding events statewide are no longer usual occurrences that happen once in a century or in 500 years.

“This has to be considered the normal course of business, so we need to take steps to prepare.”

Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York

Hochul questioned how to send warnings to residents about evacuation plans as water levels rise. “Because I’m not going to stand here and guarantee it won’t happen again tomorrow,” Gov. Hochul said. “But I know we need to do much more in our resiliency, addressing climate change. And we have an aggressive program that I’m going to even take to the next level.”

Hochul along with other governors addresses the urgency of congressional leadership, that climate change is intensifying the wildfires that burn in the West, hurricanes that threaten the East, and extreme heat that endangers people and animals throughout the country. Now is the time for bold climate action. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report details what we already know—the window for preventing irreversible climate consequences is closing and we need to act quickly and comprehensively. 

Take a look at the letter below: