After a long hiatus and much demand, we have some good news about good news — our weekly round-up, You Love To See It, is back! This reader-favorite series, exclusively for paid subscribers, is a round-up of progress, victories, and action steps in the fight for a thriving democracy. I’m Keerti Gopal, formerly a Fulbright/National Geographic Fellow in Taiwan and The Lever’s new editorial fellow, and I’ll be bringing a much-needed dose of optimism to your inbox each week.
This week: New York State takes a lead on fossil-fuel phase outs, train and plane riders get some federal backup, workers stand up to Amazon, and a new production company takes on Big Oil.
New York Scores Climate Wins
Last week, New York State took a major step toward realizing publicly-owned 100 percent renewable energy, passing the Build Public Renewables Act in the annual budget. The first-of-its-kind initiative requires the New York Power Authority — the largest state-owned power organization in the country — to provide solely renewable energy by 2030 and transitions all state-owned and municipal properties to renewables by 2035.
Supporters of the bill emphasize that it will benefit low-income communities of color — who face some of the nation’s highest asthma-related hospitalizations and deaths — by shutting down oil and gas plants in Queens, The Bronx, and Harlem. A product of four years of grassroots organizing, the bill also prioritizes union jobs, pay-rate protection, job development and apprenticeships, and hiring workers who have lost employment in non-renewable energy sectors.
New York state’s budget also bans fossil fuels in new construction for buildings seven stories or lower by 2025 and statewide by 2028. Plus, New York’s congestion pricing plan got federal approval last week. The plan would charge drivers a toll to enter parts of Manhattan, and supporters say it would cut emissions and funnel money into NYC’s public transportation system, citing similar programs in Stockholm and London.
Federal Regulators Take Long Overdue Action To Regulate Transportation
As The Lever has been reporting for months, large airlines and railway companies have benefited financially from years of federal deregulation while customers paid the price. But there are signs of a much-needed shift toward corporate accountability in the transportation sector, as the Railway Safety Act moves to the Senate floor, and the Department of Transportation takes a step toward addressing deregulated airline chaos.