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Albany 55 News Release

Albany 55 News Release

For immediate release: May 3, 2017

Friday, May 4, marks the final court day for the “Albany 55” for their arrests at Cuomo Walk The Talk On Climate Event at the Capitol Building following Earth Day. Visuals and press conference planned outside the courthouse.

Albany, NY -  Court began this Monday for the 55 people arrested at the Hall of Governors inside the Capitol Building on April 23rd in protest of Governor Cuomo’s lack of climate action. Court will take place at Albany City Court at One Morton Ave. in Albany at 9am on Friday, 5/4, marking the final day. All defendants will be available for questions.

To recap, the April 23rd event saw a march of 1500 people from Sheridan Hollow, the site of a fracked gas power plant proposal to generate energy for the Empire State Plaza, to the Capitol Building on as part of the "Cuomo Walk The Talk" day of action. Governor's seat candidates, Democrat Cynthia Nixon and Green Party's Howie Hawkins as well as Karenna Gore, daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, participated in the protest.

Actor and activist James Cromwell was also among the 55 people arrested at the Hall of Governors in a non-violent act of civil disobedience, demanding Cuomo to stop all fracking infrastructure, move to 100% renewable energy, and make polluters pay.

Photos and Video of the action
Facebook event for the Court Support Dates
Quotes by arrested residents:
Howie Hawkins, Syracuse, New York: "I participated in the sit-in outside the Governor's office because the science says that industrial states like New York have to get to 100% clean energy by 2030 if the world is to avoid runaway climate change and climate catastrophe. Governor Cuomo's goal of 50% of electricity from renewables by 2030 is far too little, too late."

Ellen Barfield, MD: “Banning fracking WELLS, as Cuomo and MD Gov Hogan have done, is largely pointless unless and until the infrackstructure is also banned. But industry-bribed politicians will never do the right thing unless pushed. I'm honored to have helped push Cuomo. Hope NYers will help push Hogan too!”

Alex Beauchamp, Brooklyn, NY: “I've worked to move off fossil fuels for years, and now, my wife and I are expecting our first child. I find myself overwhelmed thinking about what his future will be like. It's become almost cliché to say this, but I took this action to protect my family's future. If we don't end our ruinous reliance on fossil fuels, the next generation is going to inherit a world unrecognizable to us.”

Charley Bowman, Buffalo, NY:  “During Gov. Cuomo's tenure in office, the growth rate in solar PV in NY State suddenly changed, in September 2014, from 60% per year to 0% per year. The big question is: WHY?”

Karianne Canfield, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY I was arrested because my parents are dying of cancer that the government doesn't want to admit they caused. The chemicals in our environment are destroying our lives and homes and it is already too late. We are all at risk and we need action now.

Natalie Cronin, New York, NY “As a little girl in Masontown, PA, I lived with water insecurity due coal pollution, our well and little creek that ran the property in glaring bright orange. I learned at 18 on a visit to NYC, that the water had a nickname: "Champagne of Tap," and I have so much gratitude for that as a mother, child care provider, and neighbor for the freedom safe water affords. I feel that our governor is not truly listening to our pleas to hold this water sacred, to take meaningful action to help heal the worldwide climate here at home, and I am going to use what I was taught by heroes before me- civil disobedience- because the situation calls for action.”

Mark Dunlea, Poestenkill, NY  “The U.S. is the principal cause of climate change worldwide due to our excessive burning of fossil fuels, yet many developing countries will be hit hardest by global change. We have solutions to climate change that will improve our quality of life, lower energy costs and create jobs - but our elected officials are still tied at the hip to the fossil fuel industry and their campaign contributions. We need Governor Cuomo to focus on action, not press releases, to move us to 100% clean energy and to halt fracked gas infrastructure. And to make corporate polluters pay with a robust carbon tax.”

David Epstein, Albany, NY, Teacher, Farmer, & PhD Student in Department of Educational Policy and Leadership: “I chose to participate in this direct action because I believe that the love of life must triumph over the death loving aspects of our culture. Because I believe that we are all interconnected - comprised of star dust and recycled materials from other life - and how we treat our soil, other-than-human-species, and one another will determine the fate and story of humanity on this planet.”

Phil Erner, Dutchess Co. NY “As a native of Albany I reject continued racist, classist policies that privilege New York State government elected officers and functionaries at the expense of our communities, of which the proposed microgrid in Sheridan Hollow is the latest example. Now I reside in Dover, New York, where the Cricket Valley 1100-MW gas-fired power plant under construction threatens to poison thousands of vulnerable schoolchildren and elders as well as the farm where I have staked my livelihood, all to disburse quick profits to among others a company associated with Japan's Tepco of Fukushima-Daiichi fame. We must work to hasten an end to the fossil-fuel age and move to a clean, healthy future for all.”

Mary Filippo “Governor Cuomo banned fracking in NY in 2014 but since has given permits for fracked gas to be piped through the state for export, proposed building a power plant to burn it here, and permitted the wastewater from fracking to be dumped in NY state. I was arrested for protesting the governor’s actions but who is doing wrong?”

Kim Fraczek, Brooklyn, NY  “Since 2011, we have worked diligently with the system by following lawful procedure to replace fracked-gas infrastructure with renewable energy sources. As high-volume extraction has boomed since the early 2000’s without proper regulation thanks to “The Halliburton Loophole”, we see our New York tax dollars continue to fund these dirty extractive industries, and facilitate unjust law. We continue to heard bold climate statements from Cuomo that don’t get backed up in policy. We continue to see our tax money spent on wasteful nuclear bailouts and fracked gas infrastructure that harm us. We are facing a global crisis because of extractive economies that dig, dump and burn, and we must build a regenerative economy based in ecological and social health --- New York State is uniquely positioned to set a regenerative and renewable economy example for the nation. It is our responsibility as New York State to escalate to civil disobedience to break unjust law and policy in order to protect our health, safety, democracy and sustain life on our tiny planet.”

Fred Gillen Jr. Croton-On-Hudson, NY The state government works for the fossil fuel companies, not for The People. I feel we need to remind them we are here!

Danny Hanson, New York, NY: “In moving off fossil fuels to renewable energy our state government is failing all of us. As a retired professional I have the time, energy, and resources to put my body on the line for those that are most affected.”

Howie Hawkins, Syracuse, New York "I participated in the sit-in outside the Governor's office because the science says that industrial states like New York have to get to 100% clean energy by 2030 if the world is to avoid runaway climate change and climate catastrophe. Governor Cuomo's goal of 50% of electricity from renewables by 2030 is far too little, too late."

Patrick Houston Bronx, New York “The climate crisis is already hurting everyday New Yorkers, everyday. To mitigate the worst of it, NYS needs real climate leadership, not empty rhetoric. I got arrested to draw attention to the seriousness of the climate situation, and how Governor Cuomo is siding with the fossil fuel industry, rather than standing for New Yorkers by halting fossil fuel infrastructure, moving us to 100% renewables, and making polluters pay for the damage their product is doing to all of us.”

Monica Hunken, Brooklyn, NY: "Cuomo is not the climate leader we need.  The people on the frontlines who have been battling harmful fossil fuel infrastructure for years are the leaders.  I took direct action because I believe that life on earth is more precious than profit.  It is imperative that we move to a fossil-free, 100% renewable economy now!  Our lives are on the line"

Ilene Kramer, New York, NY I do this for our grandchildren and great grandchildren. If not me, who? If not now, when?

Martin Locante, Kennsha, WI “I was arrested because I’ve always wanted children. I’ve had more than 20 years on this planet and I want others to be able to sing and dance and taste fruit and feel heartbreak. It’s all beautiful and should be there for those who want to live it.”

Gloria Mattera, New York, NY “For too long, our most vulnerable communities have been disproportionately affected by fossil fuel infrastructure and other toxic practices. Cuomo has offered only piecemeal solutions when what we need is a Green New Deal that in good paying, union jobs and invests in a Just Transition to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030.”

Santosh Nandabalan, Brooklyn, NY: “New York desperately needs a real climate leader in office to put residents before private interests. I joined fellow activists in civil disobedience to stand up for New Yorkers, our Mother Earth and the thousands of new jobs we can create through renewables. Governor Cuomo can and must halt all fracking infrastructure and move the state to 100% clean energy.”

James Neimeister, Queens, NY Governor Cuomo has let corporations like ConEd, National Grid, and Goldman Sachs --where his top energy adviser used to work-- dictate New York's energy policy. New York only gets 4% of its energy from wind and solar. Enough is enough.

Gabriel Reichler, New York, NY I was born in New York City and have lived here ever since. I deeply love this city and its wonderful diversity of people, but climate change is threatening its very existence. Superstorm Sandy and the record heat waves of recent years are just the beginning. Given how vulnerable such a large part of our state's population is to climate impacts, New York must be a climate leader. My generation refuses to wait any longer.

Jeannette Rice, MS Hed., Grandmother, Rensselaerville, NY  “Just as we transitioned from sea oil to land oil in the 1850s, we must transition from land oil to renewable energy forms NOW for the life of our grandchildren and Earth.  Time is running out.  The technology exists.  We need Governor Cuomo to take appropriate action and be the climate leader he claims to be:  NO Sheridan Hollow natural gas plant.  NO new fossil fuel infrastructure projects.”

Bart Schoenfeld, MD, FACC, Valatie, NY “Methane leaking from fracking infrastructure is far more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. My heart and lung disease patients are already suffering from the effects of climate change, and it will only get worse. We have banned fracking in NY, yet hypocritically harm the health of Pennsylvanians by enabling fracking there in order to provide New York’s energy. More fracked gas infrastructure will commit us to decades of natural gas use. We must transition to 100% clean renewable energy now, to protect our health and to ensure a livable future for our children.”

Jody Schoenfeld, Chatham Center, NY, Retired Medical Practice Administrator, Retired Ace Certified Personal Trainer,Climate Activist, Artist: “I participated in an act of civil disobedience to represent my children, my grandchildren and all future generations of humanity. Fossil fuels are literally a thing of the past. All life in the  present and the future depend on preventing the worst effects of climate change. We must switch to renewable energy now for that to happen.No more fracking, no more fossil fuel extraction of any kind, no more fossil fuel infrastructure. The fossil fuel companies need to pay for the damage they have caused to our environment and continue paying for many generations to come.”

Gregory Schwedock, Brooklyn, NY: “I take action to meet the crisis head-on so that our generation might match the bravery of the Greatest Generation. To demand that we mobilize for the climate emergency on a scale not seen since WWII, so that our generation does not meet the same fate as David Buckle.”

Benjamin Heim Shepard, Brooklyn, NY, CUNY Professor, “I got arrested for my kids’ kids.  Hopefully New York can lead.  Hopefully we can fully commit to renewables.  But for us to get there the Governor has to walk the talk on climate.”

Taylor Sinkiewicz, Queens, NY I was arrested to send a clear message; we will do whatever it takes to force our leaders to wake up to the reality that people all over the planet are being exploited and slowly killed because of the fossil fuel industry. This is to be taken with the utmost seriousness. Our leaders must act in our interest, otherwise they are aligning their values and morals with corporate greed therefore poisoning Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants.

Amanda Sisenstein, New Paltz, NY “I was arrested on April 23rd to protect all living things.”

Kimberley Smith, Berne, NY,  Retired Counselor:  “The time is running out to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren.  We must end our dependence on gas, oil, and coal and choose renewable energy NOW!  Our children’s future should not be destroyed for the profits of the few.  We need to look to the sun and the wind for a clean energy future.  Keep the dirty oil, gas and coal in the ground.  NYS needs 100% clean renewable energy NOW.  We should no longer threaten the air we breathe and the water we drink for the profits of the few.  The time is running out to protect our children’s and grandchildren’s future from the devastation of climate change. We must ACT NOW.”

Ellen Taylor, Albany, NY “Governor Cuomo must commit to 100% renewable energy and halt construction of fossil fuel infrastructure. The state will also benefit if we MAKE POLLUTERS PAY!”

Peg Taylor, Croton on Hudson, NY : “I am a retired teacher, mother, artist, and environmentalist who is thankful that fracking has been banned in my beloved New York State.  But I can no longer remain silent as Governor Cuomo continues to support the spread of the equally dangerous fracked gas infrastructure.  Cuomo needs to Walk the Talk: Stop the building, move to 100% renewables, and make corporate polluters pay.”

Alexandra Zevin, Brooklyn, NY There is no time left. Cuomo has been giving lip service to clean energy, but has been supporting fossil fuels/ nuclear energy. New York State must change in order to survive. 

Lee Ziesche, Brooklyn, New York “I took non-violent direct action because Governor Cuomo can no longer say he believes in climate science while he fracks us in the back by building power plants, pipelines, compressor stations and other fracked gas infrastructure. Governor Cuomo, stop fracking my friends and family in Pennsylvania with your energy policy. Stop fracking my future. Stop fracking New York communities.”

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