Buffalonians Head to Albany to PUSH for Climate Change Awareness

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Up in the early morning hours, dozens of people from Buffalo and the surrounding areas were ready to PUSH for change.

"Climate change is real, and Trump doesn't think it is and we are hoping Gov. Cuomo is on our side," Christian Parra, a community organizer with PUSH Buffalo, said.

On the agenda was a list of hot topic items.

"To stop National Fuel from actually making the Northern Access Pipeline," Parra said.

"We want to make sure as workers transition from an old coal-burning economy to a new economy, a wind and solar economy, they have good jobs in that transition," said Rev. Kirk Laubenstein, executive director of Coalition of Economic Justice.

"We will be visiting the [Public Service Commission] and continuing our demand that they not allow National Fuel to raise rates," said John Washington, of PUSH Buffalo.

The concern is the agenda over on Capitol Hill, which doesn't have climate change as a top priority. So they're bringing a message to Cuomo and other state leaders during a special environmental meeting in Albany.

"Be a leader, be a leader on climate change," Laubenstein said.

Members will specifically be pushing to have state legislators pass the Climate and Community Protection Act, which would require the state to decarbonize the economy by 2050.

Also, it would dedicate at least 40 percent of all energy investments to front line communities, like low-income families, refugees and immigrants.

"We need a lot of resources in the city to rebuild our aging infrastructure and we need a lot of money for our communities," Washington said.

Another part of the legislation protects workers in clean and renewable energy fields.

As they packed the bus to meet with hundreds of others from across the state, the hope is power in numbers sparks a change.

"Buffalo is actually there fighting for not only this community, but to have a different worldview," Parra said.

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