Fighting climate change and creating jobs in the process - that's the twin goals of Governor Andrew Cuomo's plans laid out in his State of the State agenda.
"We can establish ourselves as the nation's leader for renewable energy, innovation and production," Cuomo said on Wednesday as part of his mutli-day State of the State rollout. "We will secure the jobs of the future right here at home for New Yorkers."
Cuomo called for a major investment in the so-called green economy. He wants to build off-shore wind turbines manufactured in the Capital Region and boost downstate energy needs by building new lines in upstate New York. And he wants to train a workforce to help build and manage these projects.
"To do that, we must have new alternative energy supplies that are able to reach scale," Cuomo said. "Candles will not power the future. Piecemeal or incidental efforts will fail."
Cuomo says the billions of dollars of mostly private-sector investment will help create 50,000 jobs. Julie Tighe of the New York League of Conservation voters cheered the announcement.
"Getting 50,000 jobs that are good paying with project labor agreements, with prevailing wages, with a focus on disadvantaged communities is going to be really helpful in getting us out the financial situation we find ourselves in because of the pandemic," she said.
Conor Bambrick of the Environmental Advocates of New York hopes the steps will help New York comply with the goal of ending its reliance on carbon-based fossil fuels.
"If you want to do that in a way that deals with the emissions mandates and the climate law, you're going to have to go to 100 percent clean renewable energy. And what's really where the announcements today were aimed," Bambrick said.
But Liz Moran of the New York Public Interest Research Group wants more specifics on the plans, adding energy companies should be called on to foot the bill.
"We look forward to seeing more details, but we also need to make sure that they're funded by the polluters who put us in this mess to begin with," Moran said.
Cuomo delivers his fourth and final State of the State address on Thursday with a focus on infrastructure. Nick Reisman, Spec News.