Saturday, February 9, 2019

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Activists urge Delgado to support "Green New Deal" eliminating fossil fuels

"Green New Deal" catches on quickly with activists in Kingston

KINGSTON – Almost two dozen activists converged on the Kingston office of freshman Congressman Antonio Delgado (D, NY-19), to urge federal support for a “Green New Deal.” Members of NYPIRG, and Food & Water Watch organized the event, which was also attended by Ulster County Legislator Manna Jo Greene, and the local marching band Tinhorn Uprising.

Numerous motorists honked their horn in support, driving past the demonstration at 256 Clinton Avenue, one of the most congested areas in town.

One opponent voiced his disapproval by revving his pickup truck and choking the participants in a thick cloud of exhaust fumes.

“Right now, the Green New Deal has neither been a resolution, or some kind of slogan; it’s identity still hasn’t been formed,” said Santosh Nandabalan, the New York organizer for Food & Water Watch, an organization with offices around the country.

“Nationwide activists are pushing Congress members on the concept of a Green New Deal, which up until this point has really been a slogan,” Nandabalan said. “We want that to mean moving the state and the country off of fossil fuels, which means banning fracking nationwide, ending the pipeline and power plant build-outs for the state and committing to 100 percent renewables and green jobs for workers here.”

The idea emerged in popular culture back in January 2007, with an article in the New York Times titled “A Warning from the Garden.” It was later picked up by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in 2012. Most recently it was introduced in Congress by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – who, like Delgado, is another freshman Democrat elected in 2018.

Delgado announced last week that he is drafting a Green Jobs bill. During his 2018 election campaign, Delgado endorsed the full “Green New Deal” concept.

Nandabalan and legislator Greene entered the Delgado office and spoke briefly with a staff member, who told them the congressman needs to see more details before sponsoring specific legislation.

“They were open to it, they were receptive, they’re happy to see this kind of leadership, but it’s still just rhetoric at this point,” Nandabalan said.  “They have opened their line of communication and have responded that they want to schedule a meeting with us.”

Banning fossil fuels by 2035 would require rebuilding the national transportation and energy grids, as well as reinventing the U.S. dollar, which is currently based on petroleum as a commodity. Nearly every indoor heating system would also need to be replaced.


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