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Activists use giant inflatable pig to make their case for $30 billion NYS Climate Change Superfund

climate change superfund pig.jpg
Scott Willis
/
WAER News
Activists stand in front of a giant inflatable pig that they symbolizes corporate greed on the part of fossil fuel companies.

About a dozen members of environmental and labor groups gathered in front of a giant inflatable pig today on east genesee street symbolizing what they call the greed of fossil fuel companies at the expense of the environment. They’re hoping a climate change superfund will require the companies to use their profits to pay for the damage they’ve caused. The groups want Governor Hochul to include the 10-year, $30 billion plan in the upcoming executive budget if she gets elected. Program associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group Chris Bottini says consumers and the environment are suffering.

"Should New Yorkers foot the bill, or should the oil and gas companies who created the problem pick up the tab. Our message today is simple: The fossil fuel industry is responsible for the climate crisis. They made the mess; it is their's to clean up."

The climate chance superfund would be funded by requiring oil and gas companies to pay fees on past greenhouse gas emissions. Dr. Marianna Pernia is concerned by the health burden climate change has caused.

"What may be an existential threat to some is a reality for many. Fossil fuel companies have known for decades about the consequences of burning their products. Yet they continue to rake in record profits while passing the real cost on: The cost to our health...the health of people and to the health of our planet."

She says worldwide air pollution from burning fossil fuels is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths. Andy Mager with the Syracuse Cultural Workers says a climate change superfund builds upon the state’s progress made on addressing climate change, social justice, and corporate accountability.

"We're trying to move the state so private corporations contribute in an appropriate way. That's a key part of this bill...forcing them to do that. We know the oil and gas companies have been misleading the people of this country for decades, openly lying in order to increase their profits, and they need to be held to account."

The climate change Superfund has been introduced in both chambers of the state legislature. The activists feel it has a good chance of passing, as long as citizens keep applying pressure to lawmakers.

climate change superfund andy.jpg
Scott Willis
/
WAER News
Andy Mager with the Syracuse Cultural Workers says grassroots support like this is why New York is making advances on battling climate change.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at srwillis@syr.edu.