Colton Outraged at National Grid Gas Increase
Assemblyman William Colton ( Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights) is outraged with the the National Grid submitting an application to the New York State Public Service Commission for the gas delivery rate to increase by more than 17.78%. This is not the time for home energy prices to go up in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
“I sent my opposition comments to the New York State Public Service Commission against the gas service rate increase requested by the National Grid. First, much of its request is based upon its insistence on building a billion-dollar pipeline, the cost of which is intended to be passed on to its gas customers. An independent analysis of the National Grid’s “Long Term Capacity Report” by Synapse Energy Economics, a nationally known expert concluded there was no supply and demand gap to justify building this pipeline, which National Grid customers are being asked to pay the price. In addition, I do not believe National Grid’s analysis of long-term capacity options are compatible with New York’s climate change policies, which call for reduction – not expansion – of fossil-fuel use,” Colton stated.
“Also, in light of the likely long term impacts of the covid-19 crisis on the economy and the finances of those ratepayers who use the services provided by National Grid, such a rate increase will have a significant negative impact on our economy and on the well being of our families and businesses in the territorial areas covered by the National Grid. Therefore, I believe that these applications proposed to rate increase will put a burden on the same residents and businesses which are already being ravaged by the covid-19 crisis. I call upon the New York State Public Service Commission to reject it as unneeded, as against state policies and as not proven by the documentary proof claim by National Grid in support of its application,” Colton added.
Stringer Launches Campaign to Urge Chase Bank
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer launched a campaign to urge JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM) shareholders to vote against the re-election of lead “independent” director Lee Raymond at the company’s upcoming annual shareholder meeting.
“We must address the financial and climate risks to JPMorgan associated with fossil fuels now because the city workers who depend on our pension funds for their retirement security cannot afford for us to wait. With JPMorgan management financing more fossil fuel expansion than any other bank, we need the independent members of the board, led by a genuinely objective and climate-competent lead independent director, to hold management accountable for driving JPMorgan’s energy finance transition. We are urging shareowners to vote ‘no’ on Lee Raymond because his long history in the fossil fuel industry and excessive tenure on JPMorgan’s board render him unable to fulfill his fiduciary duty as an independent public company director for long-term investors,” Stringer said.
The NYC Systems are substantial, long-term JPM shareholders with approximately 2.4 million shares.
Ortiz Marks 50th Anniversary of Earth Day
Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) is marking the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day by celebrating the inclusion of his environmental initiatives into State law and championing his progressive environmental agenda that will protect New York’s resources and residents going forward.
“As we pause to mark the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day today and celebrate the many environmental successes we’ve achieved in New York, we cannot lose sight of what we still must achieve,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz’s environmental agenda includes legislation that creates a Green New Deal for New York and a Climate Change Task Force, restricts and ends hydrofracking, creates recycling/composting initiatives, brings awareness to the dangers of microplastics and legislation that divests NYS monies from fossil fuel.
The fossil fuel divestment bill (A.1526-A) has the support of major global climate organizations, including 350.org. “I am so pleased to have the support of these organizations,” Ortiz said. “Together, we can ensure that New York meets or exceeds climate goals and protects the future of the planet.”
Rose Calls for FEMA to Expand Hazard Funding
U.S. Rep. Max Rose (South Brooklyn, Staten Island) today called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to include pandemic response efforts as eligible for hazard mitigation funding.
“While we continue to battle this coronavirus crisis with everything we have, we also need to be building in mitigation efforts and setting ourselves up to be better prepared for future pandemics,” said Rose. “We must incentivize and encourage these mitigation efforts, and instead of reinventing the wheel, FEMA should just expand the existing program.”
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) is meant to ensure that mitigation measures to reduce the loss of life and property from future disasters are undertaken following a disaster. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, HMGP funds were used to ensure residents were protected from future storms and floods through projects such as home elevation. Rose’s proposal is to expand eligibility to include biological disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic to this existing program, rather than create an entirely new program which would likely take longer and be more burdensome.
Adams: State Support for NYCHA Long Overdue
Borough President Eric Adams released statements on Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent commitments of support for NYCHA residents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Public housing residents are finally getting the long-overdue attention they deserve during the COVID-19 crisis. Today, Mayor de Blasio announced prioritized testing and face coverings for NYCHA residents, and yesterday Governor Cuomo promised to deliver face masks and hand sanitizer to developments across the city. These resources couldn’t come at a better time. Materials have been dwindling since we began distributing PPE three weeks ago. We thank them for joining us in this mission to assist those in need. We knew that many of the comorbidities that make people more vulnerable to dying of COVID-19 are the same that these residents have in disproportionate numbers — respiratory diseases, obesity, diabetes, and others, and this influx of resources will do lasting good to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
“Even before this crisis, people living in NYCHA were often treated as an afterthought. The unbelievable toll of this disease, and the fact that it has fallen hardest on vulnerable populations such as this one, are now forcing us to reckon with the true cost of this neglect. I call on the Mayor and the Governor to go even further to help NYCHA residents, by ramping up testing capacity for all developments and using the City and State’s tremendous purchasing power to expedite the delivery of PPE to all residents as soon as possible. Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate, but it’s clear our policies have. Our recovery can’t,” finished Adams.
Myrie to do Virtual Health Town Hall
State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) announced a Virtual Health Town Hall in partnership with Assembly Member Diana C. Richardson today at 6:00 P.M. on our Facebook Live page to learn about the health resources available to you and ask any questions you might have.
Other COVID-19 Updates:
Hospitalizations and Deaths:
The number of hospitalizations and losses from COVID-19 have continued to slowly but surely trend downward. Pointing toward the future of testing, tracing, and tackling the crisis, Governor Cuomo called for a “Tracing Army” to continually trace the spread of the virus and announced a partnership with former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg to meet the need.
Families that want to request a learning device should call DOE at 718-935-5100 and choose Option 5 on the menu for help getting a device with internet connection. Or, they can fill out the Remote Learning Device Request form at https://coronavirus.schools.nyc/RemoteLearningDevices. DOE will use the contact information provided on the form to reach out to the family to schedule delivery of the device.
The mayor unveiled a plan for NYCHA residents involving more PPE, testing, food, and other services to the city’s NYCHA residents. This is following the state’s recent announcement to provide additional PPE to NYCHA residents. Again, we urge you to let us know what you are hearing on the ground about the implementation of these efforts.
Federal Relief Package:
The U.S. Senate passed a new relief package which includes $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses, $75 billion for hospitals and healthcare providers, and $25 billion to expand testing. The House of Representatives will vote on the bill later this week.
Bill de Blasio announced a new City-convened effort to create a new line of bridge ventilators to support local hospitals and health care workers. Local manufacturers will produce at least 3,000 of these devices, which will be deployed to hospitals, helping to save lives by supplementing limited ventilator resources.
Louis Introduces Two Bills Focus on Missing Persons
City Councilwoman Farah N. Louis (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Marine Park, Flatlands, Kensington) yesterday introduced two bills intended to increase public safety during the first-ever virtual stated meeting of the city council.
Louis said towards the close of 2019, there were numerous reports of women who had gone missing. From Brooklyn to the Bronx, hundreds if not thousands of black and brown girls have vanished without a trace, she said.
“Girls and young women of color are being targeted, followed, harassed, and/or abducted on their way to school, work, home, and especially in the shopping centers. The few who do manage to escape are traumatized yet courageous enough to share their dangerous encounters with strange men and vans in the hopes that the information could help protect another potential victim,” said Louis, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus.
Intro 1929 would create a public alert system to be used in missing persons cases where the person is believed to be in imminent danger.
Intro 1928 would require the NYPD to compile, send, and post a yearly missing persons report, disaggregated by race, age, gender, police precinct, percent of cases solved, and proportion of which cases involved human trafficking.
“This data would provide valuable insight that would shed some light on the real threats such as human traffickers that exist right in our own backyard and inform how we as a City can do better to eradicate this problem and keep families whole,” said Louis.